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The verdict is in: Ofsted rate Abingdon & Witney College as ‘good’ with ‘outstanding’ apprenticeships

8th May 2017

A “clear strategic vision” and “high ambition for learners” has helped Abingdon & Witney College achieve a ‘good’ overall rating by Ofsted.

Ofsted spent four days assessing staff, students, and teachers across all three of the College’s main campuses, local businesses the college works with and adult learning centres.

The report recognises that good progress had been made since the last inspection in January 2014, in a number of key areas against a new and tougher inspection framework. One area that Ofsted praised was the College’s presence and work within the local community:

“The college has strong and very productive partnerships with local employers, schools and other organisations,” states the report. “Senior leaders work well with their local enterprise partnership to identify and respond to local, regional and national priorities.”

Inspectors were further impressed by the “welcoming environment” and “inclusive and tolerant culture” they found during their visit, the result of the College’s commitment to promoting equality and diversity across all student groups, and ensuring that everyone is able to achieve their full potential.

“Very high quality facilities and learning technologies” help benefit the learners in “developing skills that employers need”, according to the report, acknowledging the major investment the College has made in expanding its offering in Oxfordshire.

By providing this high level of support and quality of teaching, “the number of learners who stay on their programme is high, and the vast majority of learners move to positive destinations, including apprenticeships, employment and higher-level courses.”

Even better news for the College was the added accolade of their apprenticeship programme being judged as ‘outstanding’. Between September 2015 and the time of inspection, only three other colleges in England had been graded at this level for their apprenticeship provision.

Learners and apprentices were found to “rapidly develop the skills and knowledge they need to achieve their qualifications and to improve their performance at work” whilst attending the College, and were further commended for their “positive attitudes” and the “pride” they take in their work.

Di Batchelor, Principal of the College, said: “Everyone has worked extremely hard to show Ofsted what we are about, and I think we did that and more. To be judged as a ‘good’ college in a much tougher framework is a brilliant achievement – at the time of inspection only two colleges in England had received a more positive judgement than us since the new inspection regime started in September 2015. I am proud of everyone – from the careers advisors to the cleaners, the senior management team to the students – who made it possible.”

You can find the full Ofsted report at reports.ofsted.gov.uk