The Oldham College OFSTED celebration.
Ofsted has published a very positive report of its findings at Oldham College, following a full inspection in December. The College is judged to be a “good” College overall, with a clean sweep of “good” grades, in all categories*.
In a glowing report,
The College, like many in the FE sector, has been under extreme financial pressure and only last September, after months of hard work to improve finances was the Financial Notice to Improve lifted by the Government.
Chair of Governors, Jonathan Edwards, said: “This really is a truly fantastic achievement. The last few years have been very challenging, with the redevelopment of the site, huge funding changes, proposed mergers and a lot of new policies to deal with. However, we have worked our way through all of that, and employers, learners and the town now have a college they can be really proud of, at a time when great technical and professional education is desperately needed.”
Alun Francis, Principal and Chief Executive said: “We are really pleased for our governors, staff, employers, partners and learners, who have all worked so hard under considerable pressure. You will have to go a long way to find a group of people more dedicated than them and they completely deserve this recognition. We have focussed on doing basic things really well and have built the foundations for the College to be very successful for a long time. Technical and professional education and training, which teaches useful skills for life and work, is the future. It offers real choices and opportunities compared to traditional academic programmes. It is what employers want, it is more affordable and often more enjoyable for learners. We have made this area of education and training our specialism and this report shows that we are very good at it. I would encourage everyone in Oldham or the surrounding areas to consider this kind of pathway and then to read the Ofsted report and come and visit us and see for themselves. Whichever career they are interested in, at whatever level, we can offer consistently high quality provision delivered by expert staff with very strong support and a superb learning environment. The Report is great news for the College, but much more importantly, great for the people who benefit from our work.”
One of the initiatives picked out by Inspectors, was the College’s unique ‘Teaching for Distinction’ programme, co-designed by the College but led by the well-known educationalist, Tom Sherrington. The programme draws on the best work in the field to deliver a short but complete introduction to the most effective practice in teaching, learning and assessment.
Tom said: “The most exciting job I’ve had since starting out with Teacherhead Consulting has been working with Oldham College. Principal Alun Francis approached me to explore whether there was scope in applying current thinking around teaching and learning, curriculum planning and my experience of the delivery of CPD in schools to the FE setting. He was keen to move away from the one-off CPD day where the impact can be marginal. Teaching for Distinction has a clear double meaning. We want students to reach Distinction in their BTECs and other qualifications; we also want tutors to teach with distinction, using evidence-informed wisdom about effective practice to design and deliver a successful curriculum for all learners. I am delighted Oldham has achieved an Ofsted Good grade.”
Clive Memmot, Chief Executive of Chamber of Commerce said: “I’ve worked with Oldham College for a number of years now and I’m delighted that the grading reflects the quality of what the excellent college achieves in often very difficult circumstances. Alun Francis and his team deserve great praise for the work they are doing to ensure Oldham has an independent, vibrant and successful college at the heart of the community. Excellent technical and professional education and training is vital to the success of any local economy and the college really understands the need to work closely with business and consistently promotes and delivers high quality apprenticeships.”