From education to employment

Weekly Ofsted round-up

This week: Nelson and Colne College outstanding in June reports.

Chesterfield College, Chesterfield

Summary of grades awarded:

Effectiveness of provision             Good:Grade 2

Capacity to improve                         Good:Grade 2

Achievement and standards             Good:Grade 2

Quality of provision                         Good:Grade 2

Leadership and management             Good:Grade 2

Equality of opportunity             Good:contributory grade 2

Chesterfield College is a large FE college that operatesover three sites and serves the area around Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.The college offers courses from pre-entry to higher education level in allsubject areas. In 2006/07, the college enrolled 13,447 learners, of whom 3,584were full-time. Approximately 800 work-based learners undertake apprenticeshipsand Train to Gain programmes, and a further 476 learners aged 14 to 16 attendedthe college from local schools.

Chesterfield’s report from Ofsted consisted of mostly goodgrades, including the effectiveness of provision. Ofsted agreed with theself-assessment that achievement and standards were good. They noted: “In thelast three years, most subject area long course success rates were maintainedor improved to the national average or above.” Learners were also seen to makegood progress and produce very good standards of work.

Inspectors said that, “teaching and learning are good andare satisfactory in work-based learning.” Effective additional learningsupport, good guidance and resources for teaching were listed among thecollege’s key strengths. Assessment procedures were described as clear, butcould include more feedback to learners for achieving higher grades anddeveloping skills. The wide range of provision was graded as outstanding.

Leadership and management were judged to be good, and goodgovernance, robust quality improvement arrangements and strong financialmanagement were all highlighted as strengths. Communication was said to be goodand Ofsted felt that collaborations with employers, schools and other partieswere very successful. Their main suggestion for improvement focused on dealingwith underperformance in a minority of courses.



Nelson and Colne College, Nelson, Lancashire

Summary of grades awarded:

Effectiveness of provision             Outstanding:Grade 1

Capacity to improve                         Outstanding:Grade 1

Achievement and standards             Good:Grade 2

Quality of provision                         Outstanding:Grade 1

Leadership and management             Outstanding:Grade 1

Equality of opportunity             Outstanding:Contributory Grade 1

Operating from two main centres, Nelson and Colne Collegedraws its students from the Pendle, Burnley and East Lancashire areas. Thecollege provides academic and vocational courses in 12 sector subject areas,mostly at GCSE and A level, but also extending to a small number of highereducation qualifications.

Ofsted graded most of the areas inspected as outstanding andlisted more strengths than weaknesses for the college. The overall success rateon long courses was one such strength. The success rate for A levels had been,“above 90% in three of the four years to 2007.” However, the progress andsuccess rates of AS level students were judged to be satisfactory and could beimproved.


Inspectors reported: “The quality of teaching and learninghas continued to improve since the last inspection and is outstanding.” Theyfelt that lesson planning and assessment were both thorough, and teachers werenoted for engaging their students and using questioning effectively. The mainarea for improvement, as identified by the college, was the development ofinformation and learning technology in lessons. Social and educationalinclusion, and guidance and support were all classed as outstanding.

Several key strengths were found relating to the outstandingleadership and management. These included quality assurance procedures, thepromotion of equality and the “well focused” professional developmentprogramme.


Gloucestershire College, Cheltenham

Summary of grades awarded:

Effectiveness of provision             Good:Grade 2

Capacity to improve                         Good:Grade 2

Achievement and standards             Satisfactory:Grade 3

Quality of provision                         Good:Grade 2

Leadership and management             Good:Grade 2

Equality of opportunity             Good:Contributory Grade 2

Sector subject areas:

Engineering and motor vehicle maintenance Good: Grade 2

Construction                                                             Satisfactory:Grade 3

Information and communication technology             Good:Grade 2

Hairdressing and beauty therapy                         Good:Grade 2

Art, design and media                                     Good:Grade 2

Literacy and numeracy                                     Good:Grade 2

Gloucestershire College is the county’s largest FE collegewith two main campuses in Gloucester and Cheltenham; where the majority ofstudents come from. The college offers qualifications at different levels inalmost all sector subject areas. There are also Train to Gain programmes forsome 140 adults, and around 200 14 to 16 year old learners taking youngapprenticeships.

Most areas of Gloucestershire College’s inspection weregiven good grades. Achievement and standards were judged to be satisfactory,but areas such as adult and community learning, work-based learning, Train toGain and 14-16 Learners received good grades. The report noted that there hadbeen significant improvement in success rates since the previous inspection.Retention of learners aged 16-18 was considered an area for improvement.

The quality of provision was good and teaching and learningthat was, “enhanced by information learning technology (ILT),” was listed as astrength. Inspectors said: “The majority of lessons are well planned andstimulating with learners enthusiastically involved in a variety ofactivities.” Their main criticism was that better use could be made of somedata to ensure that all learners made good or better progress. Assessment andmonitoring, social and educational inclusion, and support and guidance were alldescribed as good.

Leadership and management garnered a good grade. Partnershipwork and the quality of new accommodation were found to be outstanding. Thewide range of provision was seen as a key strength for the college, and qualityimprovement procedures were thought to be more effective and consistent than atthe last inspection.


Dunstable College, Dunstable

Summary of grades awarded:

Effectiveness of provision             Satisfactory:Grade 3

Capacity to improve                         Satisfactory:Grade 3

Achievement and standards             Satisfactory:Grade 3

Quality of provision                         Satisfactory:Grade 3

Leadership and management             Satisfactory:Grade 3

Equality of opportunity             Satisfactory:contributory grade 3

Sector subject areas:

Health, public services and care                         Good:Grade 2

Information and communication technology            Inadequate:Grade 4

Hairdressing and beauty therapy                        Satisfactory:Grade 3

Leisure, travel and tourism                                     Satisfactory:Grade 3

Arts, media and publishing                                     Good:Grade 2

Preparation for life and work                         Good:Grade 2

Business, administration and law                         Satisfactory:Grade 3


Dunstable College is a medium-sized FE college in SouthBedfordshire that operates from a main campus in Dunstable, and from four othersmaller sites. The college provides courses in 13 sector subject areas, as wellas apprenticeships, advanced apprenticeships, E2E programmes and some provisionfor learners aged 14 to 16. There are currently 4,524 learners enrolled at thecollege.

Ofsted found the effectiveness of provision at Dunstable tobe satisfactory. The report noted that success rates on long courses hadimproved substantially in most curriculum areas over the last few years toreach satisfactory levels. Success rates for adult learners on level 2 courseswas an area for improvement. Vocational learners were seen to acquire goodworkplace skills and this was listed as a key strength.

Theoverall quality of provision was judged to be satisfactory. Inspectorssuggested improvements could be made in some areas of provision. They said thatbetter lessons used, “a wide range of innovative methods [to] ensure learnersmake good progress,” but in weaker lessons, “teachers [did not] take sufficientaccount of learners’ individual learning needs… and the range of teaching andlearning approaches [was] narrow.” They also felt that more use could be madeof ILT in lessons.

Ofsted graded leadership and management as satisfactory.They highlighted good governance and links with employers as strengths, butsaid there was room for improvement regarding quality assurance arrangementsand the sharing of good practice. The management of curriculum was satisfactoryoverall, though particular attention was drawn to the “effective” provision for14-16 learners.

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