From education to employment

Ofsted Chief Inspector visits Barking & Dagenham College

Ofsted Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman talking to a fashion student on a visit to Barking & Dagenham College

Ofsted Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman visited Barking & Dagenham College on Friday, remarking that “It’s a really impressive place.”

Ms Spielman and her colleagues were there to find out about the College’s highly regarded community engagement activities.

The College’s Director of Student Support Nicky Gibson explained about the work the College does to tackle the problem of knife crimes and gangs; she told the Chief Inspector about the risk assessment and risk management of offenders via a sharing of information agreement with the Metropolitan Police; this is seen as exemplary practice by Ofsted, who are keen for the College to share good practice across the further education sector. 

They were then given a whistle-stop tour of the College, meeting staff and students in the College’s STEM Centre, creative arts department and entrepreneurial zone.

They also visited a youth conference which was taking place at the College and had been organised by the local borough and was aimed at engaging more youth in arts and culture.

A group of talented youngsters from Marsh Green Primary, who were taking part in the youth conference, sang and played drums to a Brazilian piece called Magdalenha to the delight of Amanda and her colleagues.

At the climax of her visit, Ms Spielman commented “It was a truly inspiring visit. It’s a college that is motoring on and doing really well.

“It’s a really impressive place.”

BD College 1

Ofsted Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman visiting Barking & Dagenham with colleagues  Mike Sheridan, Regional Director and Rieks Drijver, Senior HMI FE & Skills

Ofsted Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman with Yvonne Kelly Principal and CEO on a visit to Barking & Dagenham College


Barking & Dagenham College offers higher level technical and professional training, from entry to level 7 that prepares people for work or for university. Operating from five specialist sites, with industry-standard facilities and real-work training environments, the College welcomes all age groups. The College has an established Higher Education programme (HNC/D, degree, postgraduate) in addition to a wider range of professional body qualifications.

Barking & Dagenham College is one of the leading providers of intermediate, advanced and higher apprenticeship training in London, training around 1000 apprentices and working with around 300 employer clients each year.  In 2015 the College became a Digital & Creative Industries Career College, specialisms include Construction, Project Management, Human Resources Management, Business and Pharmacy.

BD College 2The College has the Matrix Award for Advice and Guidance, STEM Assured kite mark, Investors in People Gold Status and its HE offer achieved QAA standards in 2015.

The College has won a number of prestigious national awards including: Beacon status by the AoC in 2016, Coding College of the Year 2016, as well as the Tes Award for Best Teaching and Learning Initiative in 2018 for its “holistically and usefully” integrated STEM across wider curriculum areas. In April 2018 the College was named as Training Provider of the Year by Creative & Cultural Skills.

Its teaching staff has received a number of nominations and awards: VQ Teacher of the Year 2016, Pearson FE Lecturer of the Year Silver Teaching Award 2016, Regional Santander Employability Champion Winner for London and the South East 2017, two teachers awarded in Maths Teacher of the Year Awards 2017, ENTHUSE award for excellence in STEM teaching 2017, a top 50 shortlist for Global Teacher of the Year 2017 and winner of the Festival of Learning National Tutor Award 2017.

With 12,500 students, an annual turnover of £36 million (Source: Audited Accounts 2015/2016), and outstanding financial health, the College has been praised by Ofsted for its outstanding support for students, its outstanding leadership and management, and its excellence in innovation and entrepreneurship.  

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