City’s largest college earns prestigious Ofsted recognition

  • College is key asset for the City’s future economic growth
  • Stoke on Trent College is the only FE college in  North Staffs to improve its Ofsted grade

Stoke on Trent College has been awarded the second highest rating by Ofsted and praised for its excellence, making it one of the country’s leading urban colleges.

Ofsted have awarded Stoke on Trent College an improved rating of ‘Good’ with many examples of excellent practice, impressive features and an ambitious vision across the college.

Highlights from the report released today (Thursday, January 9th), place Stoke on Trent College at the forefront of preparing people in Stoke on Trent and Staffordshire for employment by boosting local skills.

The report also commended the results for full-time learners.

Inspectors recognised that the College ‘responds very well to the needs of learners, employers and the region,’ with innovative schemes and partnerships that enable learners to increase their employability and that meet the needs of local companies.  These include a successful on campus Jobshop and a Work-ready+ programme.

As a result Ofsted noted that learners from Stoke on Trent College are able to progress successfully to higher level courses or into employment.

Other highpoints include highly motivated tutors, governors who show a relentless drive for progress, high professional standards and a marked improvement in results.

Sarah Robinson, Principal and Chief Executive of Stoke on Trent College, said: “We are very pleased with the latest report which places Stoke on Trent College as one of the Country’s leading urban colleges. It complements Ofsted’s report on the College’s nursery provision which was already graded Outstanding.

“Having this improved grade is not only a huge boost for the college but also for the local economy, whose businesses are already reaping the benefits of our work-ready students. This inspection recognises and praises the success of our efforts to become the foremost provider in Stoke on Trent of real skills for real jobs.”

The college was also commended for the high quality of work produced by its learners, which has led to them competing, and winning, prestigious regional and national skills competitions in subject areas such as media and performing arts, ICT, hairdressing, beauty therapy, media make-up and construction.

Below are some quotes from the Ofsted report:

Teaching and learning

  • Learners enjoy their time at college…there is a sense of fun and excitement linked to high professional standards.
  • Learners achieve well, developing good vocational and employability skills, enabling them to progress to higher level courses, further training or employment.
  • Tutors are enthusiastic and have high expectations of their learners
  • Learners develop valuable technical skills through practical activities
  • Learners succeed particularly well in public services, information and communication technology and performing and visual arts.

Employer and regional needs

  • The college responds very well to the needs of learners, employers and the region.
  • External organisations speak very highly of the way the college works in partnership and delivers good quality provision.
  • Work for employers is responsive and wide-ranging.
  • A wide range of apprenticeships is available.

Employability and success

  • Regular events at the college, attended by employers and suppliers, showcase learners’ technical skills’ leading to ‘opportunities for learners to gain paid work experience and employment’
  • Good work experience opportunities and master classes to develop higher level skills
  • Good links with local employers provide detailed information on job vacancies

Student support

  • Learners speak highly about support services in the college
  • Learners receive detailed information on progression opportunities to higher level courses, apprenticeships, employment and higher education
  • Arrangements for safeguarding and health and safety are excellent

Equality and diversity

  • Throughout this inclusive college there are high levels of respect across a wide range of cultures and abilities
  • Learners with specific learning disabilities and/or difficulties receive excellent support

Leadership and management

  • The college has an ambitious vision and strategic direction
  • The record of improvement is impressive’
  • The governing body has an impressive membership which provides a wealth of appropriate knowledge, skills and expertise, and is well informed.

The Ofsted inspection included a survey of learners, to gain their individual feedback on what the college is really like. Some key results are given below:

  • 100% of students said that ‘My course/programme meets my needs
  • 96% of students said that ‘My lessons /training sessions are taught well
  • 95% of students said that ‘My course programme is preparing me for my chosen next step
  • 94% of students said that ‘I receive the support I need to help me to progress
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