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Walsall College joins 157 Group

The first FE college to be ranked ‘outstanding’ under Ofsted’s new framework has become the latest member of the 157 Group education association.

West Midlands-based Walsall College, which received Ofsted’s top marks in March, will be the organisation’s 28th member.

The 157 Group was formed in 2006 in response to calls for principals of large successful colleges to play a greater role in policymaking.

In January, Leicester College became member number 29, but since then colleges in Bristol and Liverpool have left to focus on their own improvement after receiving ‘Grade 4’ awards from inspectors.

Lynne Sedgmore, 157 Group’s executive director, said: “The leadership of [Walsall College] principal and chief executive, Jatinder Sharma, and his senior team has focused on high-quality teaching and learning, which is a key priority for the 157 Group, and we look forward to being able to draw on a new wealth of expertise as Walsall College joins us.”

Sharma said: “The college has taken a committed approach to achieving outstanding teaching and learning provision and raising levels of educational success in Walsall.

“This has been achieved by working very closely with all our stakeholders, but particularly with employers. Embedded in our curriculum are competencies modelled closely on businesses’ needs, which equip students with the professional and enterprising skills required for successful progression.

“We are honoured to be joining the 157 Group, and look forward to using our experience to work effectively with other colleges to influence policies and practice that will benefit the further education sector and the communities we serve.”

Natalie Thornhill

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