Ofsted recognises rapid improvements at TCATPublished: June 29, 2017
Education watchdog Ofsted has recognised across-the-board improvements at Telford College of Arts and Technology in its latest inspection report
The college has been taken out of the grade 4 ‘inadequate’ category following a four-day visit from an 11-strong team of Ofsted inspectors earlier this month.
“Students and apprentices develop good levels of practical, personal and social skills that prepare them well for the world of work,” says the new report.
“Students are conscientious and hard-working, and are keen to learn. Teachers are knowledgeable and enthusiastic about their subjects, and students value the support and encouragement that they receive.”
The report also says teachers are using their vocational expertise to ‘help students and apprentices to develop good practical and work-related skills that help them to prepare for employment’.
TCAT’s principal Graham Guest said: “It is excellent to see that the efforts of our hard-working staff over the last 12 months have been recognised – they are the people who have delivered these improvements.
“We are proud that Ofsted have highlighted the skills our students are developing and the employability opportunities we are providing them with our strong links with national and local employers.
“Our improvements will see a significant number of students progress onto higher education, apprenticeships or employment this academic year
“Ofsted has recognised the increasing pace of our improvement and I have every confidence that we can continue to build on this positive step for the college and there is a lot more to come.
“As we prepare to officially merge with our colleagues from New College Telford later this year, we are building up real momentum as we look to support the growth of the region.”
Paul Hinkins, chair of TCAT corporation and shadow board, added: “Our Ofsted report recognises the sheer hard work that all staff, senior leadership, executive team and governors have put in and continue to be focussed on our student outcomes.
“We also work closely with the local authority and the Marches LEP who are both fully supportive of this work.
“We want to be the college for everyone – whether you’re a school leaver looking to go to university or start a career, an adult developing their skills, or a business wanting to grow and the inspection recognises this.”
The Ofsted report identifies strong links which TCAT has developed with the local business community.
“Managers often use their knowledge of local employers to good effect when planning courses, such as those to help prepare adults for work with local firms,” it says.
And in the case of apprenticeships, it adds: “Employers are now more actively involved in the planning and review of their employees’ performance within the workplace.”
“As a result of the actions taken by leaders and managers, an increasing proportion of students are now making good progress towards successfully completing their GCSE and functional skills qualifications in both English and mathematics.
“Employers and assessors use their extensive industrial experience to support apprentices’ development of good practical skills. As a result, they quickly develop and acquire a broad range of vocational skills.”
Opportunities for students to find work, or progress on to further training, were being enhanced through a ‘very effective partnership working with Jobcentre Plus’, according to the report.
The Ofsted team said TCAT was now giving much greater priority to maths and English skills, and working hard to develop ‘a range of courses that matches local needs well’.
The report says: “Significant investment in professional development has begun to improve the quality of teaching, learning and assessment. Staff value this training.”
Ofsted also recognised the value of work experience opportunities being provided to TCAT students – from Royal Marines residential placements for public services learners, to carpentry and media students helping out with the recording of the BBC’s DIY SOS television show.