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Residential provision at Merrist Wood College achieves Outstanding Ofsted grading for fourth time

Activate Learning’s Merrist Wood College has been awarded an Outstanding Ofsted grade for its residential accommodation provision for the fourth time (@Activate_Learn).  

Ofsted formally published its report today following on from the recent inspection that took place at the end of September.  

In its report, Ofsted noted that Merrist Wood College has ‘highly effective services that consistently exceed standards of good’ as it awards the overall Outstanding grade.  

The report states: “The actions of the college contribute to significantly improved outcomes and positive experiences for young people.”  

The report also evidences that the college continues to drive expectations of high standards and excellent quality of its student accommodation.  

Sustained period of outstanding provision 

This sustained period of offering outstanding provision continues to provide its residential students a safe and supportive community “where variety, difference and individuality are celebrated and enjoyed.” 

Of the college’s strong culture of promoting safeguarding and wellbeing of its students the report states:

“The community is lively and has a strong feeling of mutual support and respect…This ensures that no one is isolated.   

“The residential students feel that although they have differing identities, beliefs and backgrounds, they are part of a safe and welcoming community where they are respected and valued.” 

Of this recent achievement Sally Dicketts CBE, Chief Executive of Activate Learning said:

“I was incredibly proud to read the extremely positive feedback that had been given by Ofsted as part of its inspection into the accommodation at Merrist Wood.  

“There has been a long tradition of outstanding provision in this area, and I’m delighted that since the merger with Activate Learning the overall experience of our young people using these provisions is overwhelmingly positive.  

“As a learning organisation we believe strongly that for people to achieve their best they need to feel that they are in a psychologically safe and nurturing environment, and I feel that we have demonstrated our beliefs and values well at Merrist Wood.” 

Merrist Wood provides a safe and nurturing environment 

In the area of ‘the effectiveness of leaders and managers’ the college was awarded an outstanding grade. Special recognition was given to how the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on students’ emotional and academic growth has been very well managed by the college’s highly trained and

skilled staff who have student’s “well-being and progress at the centre of their thoughts and practice”.  

The Ofsted report also commented that: 

  •  A “highly motivated team of wardens are managed to a high standard, skillfully providing guidance, nurturing and advice.” 
  • “Communication between different disciplines across the site is excellent. Issues are shared swiftly and action plans put in place if needed.” 
  • “Staff are trained and knowledgeable about their roles and the needs and vulnerabilities of the students” and “Their knowledge of each student’s character, strengths and issues which may be of concern is excellent and insightful.” 
  • “Staff take pride in students’ work and achievements and promote these on a wider basis in the community. This enhances students’ chances of employment and career opportunities beyond their time at the college.” 

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