Bury St Edmunds: West Suffolk College showcased as beacon of best practice

TRAINING at a Suffolk college has been hailed as being the best in the land by the education watchdog Ofsted.

West Suffolk College’s construction department in Bury St Edmunds has been rated “outstanding” by Ofsted.

It is the only college in the country to win the accolade for construction in nine years of inspections by the watchdog organisation.

Its construction department has also been given the honour of twice appearing in this year’s Ofsted’s good practice guide and has been showcased at an event in London organised by the Association of Colleges in the Eastern Region).

Gary Clarke, head of the faculty of arts and technology, said: “We focus on providing targeted support, using staff with the right skills so they play to their strengths - the number one priority is the learner.


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“Support programmes are tailored to the individual learner. This approach enables learners to feel at ease and to get the maximum benefit from the support provided.”

The college says its students are encouraged to relax and to talk about their support needs and are allowed to set the pace and direction of the support provided.

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One student said: “I think the support here is brilliant; if I need any help I know I am going to get it.”

In the Good Practice guide, Ofted said the college “staff keep abreast of the latest developing technologies and are encouraged to do so by managers” adding that “The college also works with employers and manufacturers to design training courses to up-skill the current construction workforce and to equip new entrants to the industry with the skills and knowledge necessary to design, install, maintain and repair the new and rapidly developing technologies that are becoming an important part of the construction sector”.

College principal Dr Ann Williams said: “The “outstanding” grading was fantastic news, which I am sure will be appreciated by our partners in the business community in Suffolk.”

Inspectors from Ofsted visited the college last May and highlighted the support given students as a particular strength.

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