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New College Praised for ‘Work Ready’ Students in Latest Ofsted Report

New College has been praised by government inspectors, who have officially graded the College overall as ‘good’.

The College, which has received ‘good’ and ‘outstanding’ grades since the year 2000, was awarded an ‘outstanding’ grade in Health, Social Care and Early Years.  Success rates for apprentices and learners studying courses in the workplace were also rated outstanding.

New College was congratulated on its very good range of additional activities and events organised by staff and students. Inspectors highlighted that learners develop highly useful and work-related, personal and social skills.  Financial and resource management were described as very good with learners valuing the high-quality specialist accommodation and facilities, which mirror the professional standards found in industry.

Employability initiatives around the College were also highlighted, with Ofsted commenting on New College’s strong focus on developing learners’ work-related skills through a range of successful and, in many cases, innovative initiatives. Students also take part in a number of cross-college enterprise events, work with live business project briefs and volunteering activities.

Learners’ achievement of high grades on the majority of AS-level courses were rated as good and particularly strong in Science, Mathematics and Social Sciences. High-grade pass rates for learners on the second year of their A-level programme were also rated good; particularly in science and mathematics subjects.

Ofsted commented that New College has responded positively to the implementation of study programmes. As a result, the number of learners studying for GCSEs in English and mathematics has increased significantly in 2013/14 and is now high.

New College Principal Graham Taylor commented: “We are pleased that we have been graded good and outstanding for our extensive apprenticeship and workplace learning provision.  In the latest round of inspections for FE Colleges 14 out of 19 have been given ‘requires improvement’ grades so we have come out very well.

However, we were disappointed not to get outstanding in more areas as our results clearly show that we are. Overall we are 5 percentage points above the national average for outcomes - success rates. OFSTED focus on a sample of classes and make judgements on what they see rather than what goes on over the years. OFSTED is in the process of reviewing their evaluation system. It certainly doesn’t reflect the profile of a modern FE College meeting learner needs around the country.

We are not complacent and work hard to improve in areas where we need to.

Learners matter most and I’m delighted that we continue to grow and prosper. It’s good that OFSTED acknowledged this.”

Chris Hale, Director of Curriculum commented: “We are happy that Ofsted recognised the good and outstanding work at New College. Our dedicated staff are continuously striving to give learners a quality experience. The report praised our well-developed curriculum providing a close match to the needs of our learners and local employers.”

Inspectors also commented on “the clear strategic direction and ambitious strategic aims” of the College’s leadership, the “friendly, inclusive and enjoyable learning environment” and the fact that “Learners and staff work harmoniously and respectfully together”.                                                       

The full Ofsted report is available at:

New College Swindon

New College Swindon

New College Swindon is perfect for your next step after school, an interesting adult evening class, a professional or business qualification, a course to get you back into the world of work or even a life-changing degree course.

New College Drive, Swindon, SN3 1AH, North Star Avenue, Swindon, SN2 1DY, Adult Learning Centre, Focal Point, 27-35 Fleet St, Swindon SN1 1RQ,

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