Darlington College Rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted

The report, which has just been published, praises the significant improvement across every area including teaching quality, leadership, outcomes for learners. and personal development.  It also rated the adult learning programmes as outstanding.  The report emphasised students get highly effective and comprehensive support during their studies.

Principal Kate Roe today said the report showed what a remarkable journey of transformation the college had been on since the devastating result in February 2015.

“The report is testament to the hard work of every single member of staff who have all pulled together to adapt to change, make improvements and raise standards.”

Staff were told about the new grade over a month ago but the report was embargoed for verification.

The report highlighted a series of key changes including:

* Significant improvements in Governors, leaders and managers

* A well planned coherent curriculum that meets the priorities of local employers and the skills market

* Vast improvements in the quality of teaching, learning and assessment for students

* Excellent provision for learners with high needs

* Superb support for adult learners, helping them gain confidence and self esteem in transforming their lives.

Ms Roe said: “There have been enormous strides in the quality of teaching, and hard work and determination among staff to achieve the massive progress we have made. This report shows that the last 15 months of effort have all been worth it.”

The report praised the fact that learners develop high technical and employability skills for future careers, and the amount of support available for students means the vast majority stay on their courses and go on to be successful. The report  says the quality of teaching and learning is good for the majority of learners and there is an extensive programme of good quality work experience on study programmes.

It states: “Leaders have established a culture of high expectations in the college and most learners respond well to the challenge to meet their potential. Parents are proud when their children progress to college.

“Tutors across all  programme areas are well qualified, use their vocational and teaching skills very well to model professional practice and inspire learners.

“The majority of current learners make at least the progress expected and many make good progress.“

In particular it praised the care and support for learners with high needs. “The provision for learners with high needs is excellent: learners achieve well and develop their independence through good quality work experience.”

It added: “Learners behave well and respect one another. They feel safe at college and have a good understanding of how to keep themselves safe online and in their daily lives. Tutors challenge lateness rigorously, they ensure learners adhere to college policy and understand the importance of punctuality for study and work.”

The college’s strategy of close collaboration with partner schools and neighbouring colleges results in a well-planned and continuously updated curriculum that meets the needs of local business and the Local Enterprise Partnerships.

The report does state the college needs to do more to help some apprentices achieve their qualification in the required time, attendance in maths for adult needs to improve, and there is more work to be done around English and maths. Across the country, school leavers who arrive at College without a C grade or above at GCSE in English and maths are required by Government policy to continue to study these core subjects alongside their vocational qualification.

The Chair of Governors, Pat Howarth, who was former Head of Hummersknott Academy, praised the enormous efforts by every member of staff from teaching and business support.

“This is a team that has really pulled together and worked day in and day out to raise standards and improve performance. Kate alongside Deputy Principal Carole Todd have instilled a simple philosophy to ensure our students have the best possible learning experience to equip them for further study or work. I am delighted for the college staff that this effort has been recognised by Ofsted and the college will go on to build on this platform.“

To read the full report, click here Inspection Report June 16


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