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Suffolk New College rated ‘good’ by Ofsted after huge improvements

PUBLISHED: 00:01 30 November 2017 | UPDATED: 15:58 30 November 2017

Viv Gillespie, principal of Suffolk New College. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Viv Gillespie, principal of Suffolk New College. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Suffolk New College is today celebrating a major endorsement from Ofsted which has found previously under-performing areas of leadership, teaching and results have rapidly improved.

Viv Gillespie, principal of Suffolk New College. Picture: GREGG BROWN Viv Gillespie, principal of Suffolk New College. Picture: GREGG BROWN

An inspection report due to be published this morning will show the Ipswich-based college is now rated ‘good’ – an above-standard judgement it lost over three years ago.

The news comes after the college launched a 2015-2020 five-year strategic plan to improve teaching and assessment, broaden its curriculum, place greater emphasis on apprenticeships and work-related learning, and diversify income.

Viv Gillespie was also appointed as principal in summer 2015 following Professor Dave Muller’s retirement. The college’s last Ofsted report, ‘requires improvement’ in November 2015, was critical of teaching and learning standards.

But the new report will say that “senior leaders and staff are ambitious” and “set high aspirations”.

Suffolk New College. Picture: GREGG BROWN Suffolk New College. Picture: GREGG BROWN

It will say: “Students make good progress to achieve their qualifications. Teachers and assessors are well qualified in their roles and have good industry and/or specialist knowledge of their subjects. Teachers and assessors have high expectations.

“Most students and apprentices progress to further study at a higher level, into higher education or employment.”

The college reports that 2,584 students aged 16-18 progressed to employment, apprenticeships, or higher or further education in 2016/17.

Courses range from BTECs in engineering and information technology to apprenticeships in accounting and plumbing and heating. GCSE students who fail English and maths can also re-sit their exams at the college. This summer, 228 out of 663 students passed English (34% A-C) and 164 out of 637 passed maths (26% A-C).

Suffolk New College students Oli Footer and George Mitchell studying Level 3 Music Technology. Picture: SUFFOLK NEW COLLEGE Suffolk New College students Oli Footer and George Mitchell studying Level 3 Music Technology. Picture: SUFFOLK NEW COLLEGE

Mrs Gillespie said: “We are pleased that Ofsted agreed with the areas we are focussing on to strengthen further the student experience, and they recognised that we have already made progress towards this as part of our journey to outstanding.”

Roger Fern, chair of governors, said: “I’m thrilled. The ambitious five-year plan focuses the college on creating a broader curriculum, with ambitions to grow provision that meets community and business needs.”

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