College in Aylesbury receives 'good' Ofsted rating for providing 'harmonious environment'

The college was praised for its 'harmonious' environment

By James Lowson
Tuesday, 18th January 2022, 10:55 am

A college in Aylesbury received a 'good' Ofsted rating late last year, staff announced today (January 18).

The Aylesbury campus of the Buckinghamshire College Group, was among the sites visited by Ofsted inspectors during their assessment last year.

Inspectors were also sent to the education sites at Amersham and Wycombe to meet students and staff, as well as observing lessons, between November 9 and 17.

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Principal, Karen Mitchell with Buckinghamshire College Group students

After rating the colleges on eight different key pieces of criteria, examiners settled on an overall effectiveness grade of “Good”.

Inspectors said:"Students and apprentices benefit from a harmonious environment across the three college campuses.

"Students are highly respectful of each other’s diverse views and backgrounds. They are keen to learn and most respond to the high behaviour expectations set by staff by attending all their lessons punctually.”.

Out of the key grades, the college group scored a 'good' rating in seven out of the eight key determinations.

The key factor where the college needs to improve according to Ofsted's latest findings is in its support for learners with high needs.

College principal, Karen Mitchell said: "I am really pleased that in our first full inspection as a merged College Ofsted have recognised the significant progress and found that our students across all campuses benefit from a good learning and student experience that supports career, further and higher study progression.

"I would like to thank governors, staff and students for their hard work and efforts in achieving this fantastic result. We will continue to build on these findings in our ambition to be an outstanding further education college for Buckinghamshire."

Feedback given for the quality of teaching at the merged college included:

-"Well qualified staff use their vocational experience to plan and teach most lessons effectively.

-"Teachers in most subjects help students to secure the knowledge, skills and key concepts they need for their future learning.

-"They frequently revisit topics and use questioning effectively so that students and apprentices practise and consolidate their learning. […] As a result, students and apprentices become increasingly confident and competent in their chosen subjects of study."

Inspectors offered the following positive feedback for apprenticeships and adult learning:

-"In vocational subjects, students and apprentices develop their technical understanding and practical skills quickly.

-"Adult students develop new knowledge and skills that prepare then well to move on to further study or into employment.

-"Teachers support apprentices and students in vocational subjects to develop the numeracy and literacy skills they need for their roles and future careers.

-"Apprentices gain useful practical skills that enable them to become more effective in the employees in the workplace."

Analysis was offered on how the college prepares students for the workplace:

"Students make good use of relevant work experience opportunities to develop their understanding of the industry they are interested in.

"For example, students in information technology complete useful placements with ethical hackers and web developers. As a result, they become more competent and confident in the skills and knowledge they need to work in that industry. […]

"Most students take part in a wide range of valuable activities which help them develop skills that complement their studies well and increase their industry knowledge. These prepare

students well for employment or further study in their field of choice.

"For example, plumbing students visit groundwork installations. Art and design students use recycled materials to produce work on a range of environmental topics, such as the protection of turtles. This also develops their awareness of climate change."

The inspectors provided further commentary on how students are prepared for the working world:

"Leaders and managers have a clear and carefully considered rationale for most of the courses they offer.

"They work closely with local and regional employers to ensure that their courses meet local and regional job market needs and increase employment opportunities for students.

"For example, they have introduced courses in special effects makeup, prosthetics and film production in response to shortages in the film industry.

"Leaders discuss and plan the social care curriculum with local employers, such as the Buckinghamshire Healthcare Trust, so that students develop the relevant skills they need to gain employment in the sector."

Chair of Governors, Max Hailey added: "The Governors are delighted that Ofsted have recognised the amount of hard work that has gone into making Buckinghamshire College Group a strong further education provider for the whole of the county and I would like to thank all the staff and students for this great result.

"It has been a really exciting journey so far which is set to continue as we move forward with our expansion plans and invest for future generations with a brand new state of the art campus in High Wycombe."