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Ofsted: Bradford College is Good!

David Hockney Building Bradford college with #FeelingGood slogan

Bradford College is officially a Good college! Staff, students and partners are celebrating a highly positive report from Ofsted.

Following a full inspection in November, inspectors gave the college a rating of Good across all aspects of its provision. The college community is now looking forward to a bright future after the education watchdog praised the excellent progress it has made since its last inspection. It also praised its inclusive environment and excellent opportunities for everyone to study and train for rewarding careers.

Craig Tupling, Vice Principal and Ofsted nominee, said: “We want to thank all our staff, students, employers and partners for their support, as without their hard work and commitment this would not have been possible.

“We have achieved a lot in a difficult period for the college and we are immensely proud of the progress our students are making on their programmes and the support our staff have shown for their students and each other. We know there is lots to do but now we can move forward on our journey to Outstanding.”

The report

Inspectors have noted that leaders and staff “create an inclusive environment where learners and apprentices feel welcome. Tutors promote mutual respect and help learners to understand cultural differences … as a result, learners are tolerant and respectful of each other.”

The report added tutors plan the curriculum well to include effective recall opportunities to check and reinforce learning. It said: “They use mock tests and introduce peer assessment tasks that help learners and apprentices to consolidate what they have learned and commit knowledge to their long-term memory.

Apprentices add value to employers

The report praised apprenticeship provision, highlighting that a planned and sequenced curriculum enables apprentices to quickly develop new knowledge, skills and behaviours. All of these are relevant to the work place.  Inspectors also noted the strong partnerships with employers. It said: “As a result, the very large majority of employers are satisfied with the training that their apprentices receive and say that apprentices add value to their business.”

This praise continued with inspectors noting: “Leaders and managers work with employers and other local stakeholders to build a clear understanding of local skills needs and how the curriculum needs to adapt to changing requirements.”

In 2020 Bradford College joined forces with partners to set up the Future Technologies Centre (FTC) . The college has worked with 60 employers across six industries to build the tech workforce for the next generation.

The FTC has led Bradford College to the finals of the prestigious Association of Colleges (AoC) Beacon Awards celebrating innovation and best practice in further education.

Highly ambitious

Inspectors said leaders and managers are “highly ambitious for learners, including those with special education needs and/or learning difficulties and high needs, and those from disadvantaged backgrounds.” They referenced  Project SEARCH Bradford, which provides young people with learning difficulties with the opportunity gain work experience to increase their chance of securing meaningful paid employment.

Ofsted praised leaders for creating opportunities for learners to broaden their experiences and develop their character, resilience and confidence. As an example, the report cited the “Through Our Lens” Instagram project. During the pandemic, a group of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) students, aged between 16 and 18, collaborated with photographer Carolyn Mendelsohn. They captured, through photography, their lives during lockdown.

Having been given a financial notice to improve in 2018, the college has worked closely with partners to improve its financial health. In early November the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) confirmed that the college was officially out of financial intervention. This will enable it to access more targeted funds and development opportunities that were previously restricted by its intervention status.

The latest Ofsted report is available in full here.

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