Governance: OFSTED and Inspections
26th November 2018
Early in the new college year we had our first ever Ofsted inspection and we have now received the report. The report highlights a number of areas where we are doing well. It says that we have been successful in creating a popular and inclusive school; that we are welcoming and friendly; and that our students behave well. As a result, our personal development, behaviour and welfare rating is ‘good’. This is very positive as it is the culture and behaviour that are the foundation of a good school. The inspectors recognised that outcomes in English, maths, science, construction and the built environment are good, and this was also demonstrated in our exam results in the summer. The report also highlights the opportunities from which our students benefit; including effective careers advice and guidance, and the work with our sponsors and local employers.
There were a number of areas however where Ofsted said that we could be better and where we need to improve; our overall rating therefore is ‘requires improvement.’ Whilst this is disappointing, Ofsted acknowledges that in many of the areas identified for improvement plans are already in place and we are moving in the right direction. The report also does not take into account the strong provision we have in the college for apprenticeships, which were not covered by the inspection. The inspection took place very early in the year, with 65% new students and 37% new staff, and all of the bedding-in associated with that. We are raising these issues with the Ofsted team – we think it’s vital that apprenticeships are covered in the assessment and that the timing issues are acknowledged.
The report acknowledges that Leaders have worked effectively to give learners’ opportunities that link with the colleges design and engineering specialism, including employer engagement strategies. This was echoed by the views of parents and learners. Last year, every one of the learner who left the UTC in year 13 are now at university, working in an apprenticeship or in employment with a very large percentage in STEM-related subjects and careers. Our GCSE results this year also tell a positive story about the progress our learners have made since joining us, which is above the national average. Out of 52 KS4 learners - 22 of the highest grades were achieved, 49 grade A or equivalent and above and 111 grade B or equivalent and above.
All of the positives aside, as a new college we do recognise as the report states that there is ‘room for improvement’ and more for us to do to ensure that your children are getting the best possible experience from the UTC. This is our goal and I can assure you that everyone in the college shares this commitment. We are studying every aspect of the report to make sure we act on the recommendations and build on the good progress we have made in our journey so far. If you wish to read the report it can be found here.