Leaders at a Coventry college have worked “tirelessly” and with a “relentless focus” to improve the safety and success of students.
That is the glowing verdict of Ofsted inspectors, who found learners at Hereward College “enjoy their learning because they are taught by well-qualified and experienced teachers with good subject knowledge and industry and employer links”.
The college has been rated ‘good’ in every category: effectiveness of leadership; quality of teaching; personal development, behaviour and welfare; outcomes for learners; and provision for learners with high needs.
Hereward College offers residential on-site provision for 23 learners and day provision for 250 students with a wide spectrum of disabilities and additional needs. Courses range from pre-entry to level 3, with workplace learning and distance learning programmes for an additional 100 students.
Lead inspector William Baidoe-Ansah said in his report that governors and senior leaders have a strong and clear vision for the future of the college, and that a wide range of support for learners’ highly complex, personal needs enables them to be more independent and prepares them well for employment.
The proportion of learners who successfully complete their programme is high, and the vast majority go on to other further education colleges or adult and community learning courses, or undertake voluntary work. A significant minority progress to paid employment, and an ambitious target has been set to increase this number.
The team of seven inspectors, who spent four days at the college in late November, also found highly successful internships enabled learners to develop high levels of employability skills in a wide range of settings.
Describing careers information, advice and guidance as “impartial and effective” they concluded that learners received good support to identify career pathways and to prepare for life after college.
At a previous Ofsted inspection in October 2016, concerns had been raised about significant weaknesses including ineffective safeguarding arrangements, and the college was given the lowest overall rating of ‘inadequate’.
The new report said governors and leaders had remedied most of the key weaknesses identified at the previous inspection, adding: “Learners feel safe and protected, and standards of behaviour continue to improve across the college because of the strong and relentless focus on improving safeguarding arrangements.”
The report continued: “Leaders and managers have worked tirelessly to improve the skills of teachers to identify, plan for and assess the progress and achievement of learners.”
Two recommendations made for further improvement were ensuring teachers gave due attention to the most able learners to ensure they met their potential, and to further develop the knowledge and skills of teachers and support staff so they could proactively support learners’ progress and achievement.
Principal & Chief Executive Paul Cook, who joined Hereward College in August from another specialist college, paid tribute to colleagues for the highly positive report. He said: “The Ofsted inspection team clearly recognised the huge efforts being made by staff to improve both the experience of learners studying here and their future prospects after leaving the college.
“We will continue to focus on preparing our learners for the next stage of their lives and provide them with outstanding employability skills and greater control over their own future. We are proud to be able to offer all our learners unique and valuable work experience in readiness for the world of work and life after college.”
Pictured left to right: Vice Principal Quality & Curriculum Rosie Herbert, Vice Principal Safeguarding & Pastoral Care Jane Ferguson, Vice Principal Finance & Resources Deb Reynolds, Principal & Chief Executive Paul Cook.