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Ofsted calls The Cornwall College Group a ‘catalyst’ for raising skills levels

Published: January 14, 2016

The Cornwall College Group Corporate

Staff and students across The Cornwall College Group are celebrating after being rated as good in all categories by Ofsted.  The inspection report published today (14thJanuary) praises the expertise of teachers on all the campuses, the high standards of work from apprentices, the strong community links and the contribution of the college to raising the aspirations of people across Devon and Cornwall.

The Cornwall College Group includes campuses in Camborne, Newquay, Saltash, St Austell, Duchy College at Stoke Climsland and Rosewarne, Bicton College near Exeter as well as Falmouth Marine School and extensive outreach.  It has over 35,000 learners studying vocational qualifications, A-levels, part-time courses, work-based learning, foundation learning and Higher Education.

The week long, full inspection by a team of eleven inspectors found that teaching, learning and assessment were good across the full range of campuses, community venues and on employers’ premises.    They pointed to “deeply rooted partnerships with a wide range of local communities and organisations that raise aspirations of local people and provide programmes that help them fulfil their potential” and highlighted the “high standard of care and respect for others across the college”.

The report highlights that “students are confident and self-assured and enjoy their learning” and that “students demonstrate high standards of work and good practical skills.”   The apprenticeship programme is cited as particularly effective in “developing confidence and skills in the workplace” and the inspectors commend “the longstanding trail of success in apprenticeship work, with many examples of outstanding success rates and very high levels of skills development”.  The adult learning provision is also praised with inspectors saying the college “provides well-thought-out and carefully targeted programmes…and their (adults) progression into employment is good”.

The inspectors also pointed to the well managed recent merger with Bicton College and the good governance in evidence across the College.

Principal and CEO of The Cornwall College Group, Amarjit Basi, said: “I am hugely proud of the recognition of our high quality provision, expertise and partnerships that enable our learners, of all ages, to succeed and progress.  Students are happy to study here and this report is full of praise for the work that we do.  I would like to pay tribute to the ongoing dedication of the staff and the achievements of our learners.”

The Cornwall College Group is one of only a few further education colleges to be awarded a ‘Good’ rating this academic year; the recent annual report by the government Chief Inspector highlights “the majority of general FE colleges inspected this year were judged less than good”.

The report commends “enthusiastic teachers (who) use their considerable specialist experience, good resources and links to industry very well to teach interesting and stimulating lessons.  Teaching on GCE AS and A level courses is particularly good.”  The inspectors also noted “the college’s long-standing focus on raising aspirations has contributed well to the increase over the last five years in the proportion of people in Cornwall progressing into higher education and gaining qualifications.”

Amarjit continued: “We have re-aligned our curriculum to meet the needs of businesses in the South West; this has been recognised in the report and inspectors say the college ‘acts as a catalyst for raising the skills of the local workforce’. We are the biggest provider of apprenticeships in the South West, we annually support over 35,000 learners, our student’s progress into inspirational jobs; we are proud of the work we do and this Ofsted inspection confirms our success.

“We will continue to build from here and to further develop learning and skills, to benefit our learners, businesses and the regional economy of Devon and Cornwall.”

Learners from across the group were heavily involved in the inspection process, offering their own views on their learning experience and the report states that “students are confident and self-assured and enjoy their learning.”  The work of the Cornwall College Student Union (CCSU) was recognised with inspectors noting that it “provides a good forum for students to practise their democratic skills.”

President of the Cornwall College Students’ Union, Tony Woolman, said: “Ofsted inspectors met with students on every campus to ask about the good features of the College and how it could improve.  I’m particularly pleased that the CCSU Conference was mentioned in the report; we give our students an influential voice which contributes to the decisions made by the College for the benefit of all.”

A copy of the full report can be found by clicking here. 

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