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College Celebrates as Ofsted Award Good Grade after Snap Inspection

The Henley College is delighted to announce that it has again been officially recognised as a Good college by Ofsted.

The Good Grading was awarded after a four day short notice inspection by Ofsted between 22nd and 25th October 2019, just weeks after the start of the new term. It was carried out under the new Ofsted inspection regime, which puts a greater focus on students’ personal development and behaviour. As part of the inspection, teaching and support staff completed a confidential survey from which the inspectors were able to conclude that “staff morale is high”.

Principal and Chief Executive, Satwant Deol, who is shortly to mark three years in post at the 1,640 student College, said she was extremely pleased that Ofsted had recognised the efforts of staff to ensure students are able to achieve their potential. She said: “It is extremely gratifying that our Good Ofsted Grade has been maintained and that Ofsted has recognised the effectiveness of the Leaders and Governors’ improvement strategy. This is despite the many challenges we have faced in common with the rest of the Further Education sector.”  

The full Ofsted inspection follows a three year period during which the Sixth Form College has undergone significant changes including recovering from a substantial operating deficit that had built up over a number of years. The Henley College finances are now in good health as acknowledged by the Education and Skills Funding Agency. The College has also received positive praise from the Further Education Commissioners.

The Ofsted Inspection team highlighted a number of areas of excellence in teaching and learning and praised staff at the Sixth Form College for the way they plan and deliver teaching and learning for their 16-18 year old A level and Level 3 BTEC programmes and High Needs students. They also singled out the good standards of student behaviour and the high quality help and support they receive to help them plan the next stage of their learning journey.

Extracts from the report include:

“Leaders and governors have an effective strategy to improve the quality of education programmes for young people. They have high expectations for their students and staff. They make sure that managers and teachers continue to develop their classroom skills so that they can enthuse and inspire students. Staff morale is high and almost all teachers are proud to work at the college.”

“Students form strong positive relationships with college staff and each other that help them learn and develop their confidence. They appreciate the wide range of courses that meet their needs and interests well.”

“Students visit employers and universities to raise their aspirations about life after college. As a result, the number of students who progress to universities of their choice or apprenticeships is high.”

“Students and apprentices behave well. They show visitors, teachers and each other high levels of respect. Students attend lessons and very few are late. Students and apprentices know how to keep themselves safe.”

Record numbers of students from The Henley College now go on to Oxford, Cambridge and Russell Group Universities or to top-flight apprenticeships with blue chip companies. Last year, three students also obtained scholarships to prestigious US universities including Princeton and one beat 32,000 competitors to obtain a top apprenticeship with Rolls Royce.

Chair of Governors Trevor Watkins said, “it is very reassuring that the rigorous review by Ofsted found that the overall rating for The Henley College remains ‘Good’ given the financial stringency imposed by the government, the college has done remarkably well to maintain a high standard of provision. I am very pleased that the staff and students of the college impressed the large visiting Ofsted review team over the four days of their review.”

Student Emily Foster, President of the Student Union said “The student union and student body are incredibly pleased about our Ofsted grade. It is reflective of our amazing teachers and tutors as well as the wider student experience at The Henley College.”

The College has been able to make considerable financial investment in new engineering and Art facilities, as well as creating digital and cyber security hubs to ensure students are equipped with 21st century skills. Among these is the newly opened Cuthbert Suite, named in honour of Simon Cuthbert, the late Deputy Principal of The Henley College who sadly died in May.  

Principal Satwant Deol said “I would like to take this opportunity to thank staff and students for their continued support for The Henley College. We have already welcomed hundreds of prospective students and their parents to the college Open Events and look forward to them starting the next stage of their learning journey with us in September 2020.”

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