City College Brighton and Hove is good, according to an Ofsted report published today (Tuesday 15 November).
The official watchdog praised the high standard of teaching at the further education college and the high proportion of students progressing to university or work.
The college, which is the largest provider of vocational education and training in the city, retained the “good” grade which it was awarded in 2011. “Good” is the second highest of the four official measures.
The report said that learners receive good-quality education and training in well-managed study programmes, feel safe at the college and are well-supported to develop their personal and career aspirations. Achievement rates are good and students are engaged and respectful towards each other and to staff.
Lead Inspector David Martin was particularly impressed with how well students were looked after, saying: “Safeguarding arrangements are highly effective and prompt action is taken to safeguard learners, both within the college and in their wider communities.”
The report also highlighted significant improvements in leadership and management. It said that the new leadership team and the governors had successfully implemented effective strategies to raise standards and ensure financial stability.
The report said: “Leaders and managers continue to place learners, and improving the quality of provision, at the heart of their work.”
During the inspection, the Ofsted team commented on the “unusually high” achievements rates for GCSE English, which are well above the national average.
There was also recognition that significant changes have been made to the leadership of apprenticeship provision at the college which has resulted in achievements rates soaring to above national rates last year.
City College principal Sharon Collett said: “We are incredibly proud of the result of this inspection, which is a tribute to the ongoing hard work and dedication of all the staff at the college to provide our students with the highest quality teaching, learning and assessment.
“With this excellent outcome from Ofsted and our merger with Northbrook College in its public consultation phase, this is one of the most exciting times in the college’s 150-year history.
“We are proud to remain in the top third highest-achieving general FE colleges in the country for 16-18 qualifications and will continue to work hard and build on all the achievements that have been recognised by Ofsted.”
Hove MP Peter Kyle, who chair the House of Commons all-party group on further education, said: “It’s great to see City College getting such a positive Ofsted report. This is a testament to the hard work of staff and students alike and is particularly impressive as it has been achieved during such a challenging period for the further education sector nationally.”
Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas said: “The improvements noted by Ofsted are down to the hard work and dedication of staff at the college.
“I’m really proud to have such an excellent college in my constituency and wish staff and students all the best for the next year.”
City College chief executive Nick Juba said: “I’m delighted. It shows that City College is on the up. It’s really wonderful for all our staff to have that external validation that teaching and learning is good.
“The college is sorting its finances out and doing things that will help our city.”
Mr Juba said said that the report was really positive about the management and governance and recognised that the college was going in the right direction.
The college is currently consulting staff, students and the public about a proposal to merge with Northbrook College in Worthing. Northbrook was also rated good when it was last inspected by Ofsted three years ago.
Mr Juba said: “They continue to post fantastic results and have really high outcomes for learners. You’ve got two colleges on an equal footing – a partnership of equals. It will give staff, students and the community confidence.”
The consultation ends on Thursday (17 November). To take part, click on the consultation link here.