Specialist Essex college retains ‘good’ Ofsted grade

Further Education students at Writtle University College. Picture: WRITTLE UNIVERSITY COLLEGE

Further Education students at Writtle University College. Picture: WRITTLE UNIVERSITY COLLEGE - Credit: Writtle University College

An Essex college is setting its sights on an “outstanding” rating after retaining its “good” grade for the second consecutive inspection.

Writtle University College has celebrated its latest Ofsted rating, in which inspectors praised the support given by teachers.

Published this week, the report found students and apprentices enjoy learning, develop “very high standards” of practical skills and receive “good quality feedback” from teachers.

Inspector Richard Pemble also found a high proportion of students and apprentices achieve their vocational qualifications as well as English and maths, and progress to employment, further training or higher education.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Tim Middleton said: “We are very pleased with the outcome of our latest Ofsted inspection. Retaining a ‘Good’ rating emphasises the quality of education that Further Education students can expect when studying with us at Writtle.

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“Being the only specialist, land-based provider in Essex, and the only land-based provider in East Anglia graded ‘Good’, we are able to provide a unique learning experience to our students.

“We have seen a growth of 24% in our applications for our college courses this year and this reflects the fact that students and parents have the confidence in the course and career they are choosing.

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“Our ambition is to be ‘outstanding’ and we are making progress towards achieving this.

“I would like to thank staff for their hard work and contribution and I am delighted they have been recognised in this way.”

The report also found students “exemplify British values of respect, tolerance and democracy” at college. It praised the college’s compliance with safeguarding, saying it was “effective”.

The inspector said that leaders and managers had identified accurately the causes of the small decline in the proportion of students and apprentices who achieved their qualifications in 2016/17. “They have put in place a series of effective actions to mitigate this,” it added. “As a result, leaders’ in-year data for students’ and apprentices’ attendance, achievement of their qualifications and progress indicate much improvement.”

Among the “next steps” identified, the inspector suggested leaders share the best practice that exists in subjects such as floristry and garden design to all subject areas.

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