New College Durham, the largest provider of vocational and higher education in County Durham, is ‘outstanding’, according to a report published by Ofsted today, following its inspection of the College in June 2009.
The College received top marks in all five areas of the report, with performance and success rates placing it in the top 10% of all colleges nationally.
John Widdowson, Principal and Chief Executive at New College Durham said, "Inspectors spent a week onsite talking to staff and looking at everything from our self-assessment to our plans for development and came to the conclusion that we were outstanding in every area. This included our effectiveness of provision, our capacity to improve, our achievement and standards, our leadership and management and the overall quality of our provision."
Widdowson added, "This is a fantastic accomplishment for the College and one that we are extremely proud of. Staff at all levels have worked hard to ensure that our vision to provide first class learning and training for individuals, business and the community is achieved, and the report just confirms our success."
Inspectors listed the College’s key strengths as:
- Outstanding success rates on most programmes
- Outstanding support for learners
- Excellent range of progression routes
- Very strong leadership
- Very effective improvement strategies
- Significant contribution to social inclusion
- Outstanding financial and curriculum planning
- Wonderful accommodation and resources
- Culture of mutual respect and support
- High proportion of good teaching.
Inspectors commented, "The overall effectiveness of provision is outstanding and standards have improved significantly since the last inspection."
The unemployment rate in County Durham is around 4% above the national rate and the College’s catchment area includes 46 disadvantaged wards. Inspectors praised the College for its attempts to tackle this problem.
The report said, "The College’s approach to educational and social exclusion is outstanding. The range of provision is wide and meets the needs of learners well, including those at risk of becoming disengaged from education and employment or training. The College is particularly successful in engaging hard to reach groups and works well with a range of partner organisations. The transition arrangements between school and college are also strong. There are very good opportunities for learners aged 14 to 16, with a high proportion of those progressing onto full-time courses."
To view the report in full please click here.