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@NPTCGroup is really good at what it does, and that’s official according to Estyn, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate for Education and Training in Wales.

NPTC Group of Colleges, which formed in 2013 following a merger with Neath Port Talbot College and Coleg Powys received a clean sweep of ‘goods’ across the board in a report published this week, following an inspection in February.

It’s the first inspection since merger and Chief Executive and Principal Mark Dacey said ‘to achieve the rating was a true testament to the hard work, dedication and talent of staff and students.’

The College serves a diverse area, ranging from some of the most sparsely populated areas of Wales, in Powys, to the more urban areas of Neath and Port Talbot and Estyn recognised that ‘the College has a keen sense of responsibility towards the diverse communities it serves’ offering a wide range of provision, ‘which meets the needs of its learners across a large and challenging geographical area.’

The report identified that ‘the College leadership team is well established and cohesive and that ‘there is a clear and ambitious direction to the work of the College.’  The report said leaders work skilfully to identify and take advantage of opportunities to integrate the College’s work with community activities and to support local facilities. They mentioned the community swimming pool in the Afan Valley that the College took responsibility for when it was faced with closure, enabling the facility to remain open, in order to support the health and wellbeing of people in the area. The report also mentions the College’s engagement with employers across its geographical area which ‘helps shape the College’s provision to meet local need.’ ‘The College’s targeted employer forums bring together relevant stakeholders to tackle key economic and social development needs.’

NPTC Group of Colleges has more than 7,250 students who feel safe in College and know where to access a wide range of support. Learners feel their needs and concerns are listened to by the College, according to inspectors.

They found overall, ‘learners produce a strong standard of work in their lessons and practical sessions.  They build their knowledge and understanding and develop their academic, vocational and practical skills well.  In vocational programmes, learners develop and apply sound practical and vocational competencies and develop higher level vocational skills and enhance their personal confidence through participation in skills competitions. Learners develop behaviours that support their career aspirations and feel that the College prepares them well for progression to higher level learning and for employment.’

The report states that: ‘teachers are well qualified and experienced, with useful industrial, commercial and business experience which they apply well to their roles.  They have high expectations of their learners and challenge them to develop knowledge, produce practical work and complete theory tasks to a high standard.  In A level classes, teachers deliver lively sessions that engage learners well.  They help structure learners’ understanding of concepts, and encourage them to develop wider subject interests.’

The report continues: ‘Students feel that their learning programme is helping them improve their life skills, employment prospects and their understanding of keeping healthy and safe, including when online.’

The Inspectors noted that learners engage in worthwhile enrichment activities to improve their general health and wellbeing. Students are also involved in various activities ‘making a valuable contribution to community-focussed activities’ such as fundraising for mental-health charities and helping out at local schools with various projects.

Mr Dacey said: “I am proud of NPTC Group of Colleges. I know just how hard the staff work and demonstrate great dedication on a daily basis to give our students the best opportunities possible.”

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