Nottinghamshire’s largest FE College, serving more than 20,000 students a year, through more than 300 courses and apprenticeships, has been graded ‘Good’ in its most recent Ofsted inspection.
The inspection that took place in December 2022 involved 19 inspectors who used a full four days within the college to visit lessons and meet with staff and students, leaders and governors, as well as a whole range of employers, community stakeholders and civic partners.
The outcome of this inspection offers a resounding vote of confidence in the college’s direction of travel, the performance of its curriculum and quality of its leadership.
A Good Ofsted grade unlocks a range of additional opportunities for the college including improved financial opportunities and the ability to develop an even broader curriculum with new courses and qualifications on offer.
This new grade acknowledges a significant pace of improvement since its last inspection in 2020 which produced a Requires Improvement grade. At the time, still relatively fresh from the merger in the summer of 2017, the college had not fully established itself or embedded the quality processes it needed to deliver improvements in teaching and learning.
Now, this latest outcome demonstrates a college that has made significant changes and improvements in a short space of time, a college that has a firm grasp on the needs of the city and its communities and has a clear strategy for the future.
Janet Smith, Principal and CEO said:
“I took up post six months ago and joined a college so full of promise and potential.
“A college that is passionate about its people and its role in championing the economic prosperity of the city and the social well-being of its communities.
“Our teachers and support teams are hugely dedicated to offering Nottingham the very best in academic and vocational teaching and learning across the huge range of courses we offer.
“This Ofsted outcome recognises this and provides our college with the affirmation we need to press ahead at pace, and with confidence, to deliver on what we know our students, parents, employers and stakeholders expect from us.”
Chair of Governors for Nottingham College Carole Thorogood said:
“I’m hugely proud of the whole team here at Nottingham College for the outcome we’ve secured from this recent Ofsted inspection.
“Inspectors were impressed with the quality of our teaching, the behaviour and attitudes of learners, the design of our curriculum, the level of engagement we have with stakeholders and the emphasis we place on the safety and wellbeing of our learners.
“We’re not complacent but will instead take this latest result as evidence that what we’re doing is working and will continue to drive change and improvement across the college to ensure that during their next visit, Ofsted inspectors see a truly outstanding college across the board.”
Inspection key findings:
Preparing students for life
– Learners and apprentices develop the skills and knowledge they need to make progress in education or to secure and sustain employment.
– As a result of their studies, apprentices become more confident when at work.
– Adult learners develop character and confidence.
– Tutors have good levels of subject expertise, which they use effectively in their teaching. They keep their subject expertise up to date through links with industry.
– Tutors teach well. They provide well planned and interesting lessons.
– The large majority of learners and apprentices develop the skills and knowledge that they need to move on to positive education or employment destinations. Those that want to study at university develop effective study skills.
The college environment
– The large majority of learners and apprentices have positive experiences at Nottingham College. They find that the courses they study meet their needs and that the college environment is calm and safe.
– Managers and tutors set clear ground rules for behaviour and attendance in classrooms and workshops. During lessons, tutors build effective relationships with the large majority of learners.
Employer and community links
– Leaders and managers work hard to develop links with an array of employers.
– Managers with responsibility for adult learning courses develop strong links to the local community
– Learners and apprentices feel safe when they study at college.
– The college works well with stakeholders to design and deliver courses in the community for disadvantaged people.
– The College is keen to engage widely with other education institutions, local government and local employers to understand local and regional skills priorities and needs. This proactive approach means that the college has a reputation for being a responsive and trusted partner within the local and regional skills offer.
The above statement taken from the report recognises the distance travelled as a college in becoming an outward-facing, trusted and collaborative partner regionally and our continued commitment to this role going forwards.
The inspection framework used by inspectors means that grades are awarded to various elements of the college’s offer including quality of education, behaviours and attitudes, personal development, leadership and management, programmes for young people and adults, apprenticeships and provision for students with high needs. The College was graded good almost across the board.
The full inspection report is here and will be published on the .GOV website this week. It provides a full narrative of the college’s inspection outcome including areas for further improvement.