Outstanding Exeter College leads the country

Ofsted Outstanding Logo

Date: Thursday 27 February 2014

Exeter College students and staff are celebrating as the first college in Devon and Cornwall to be rated as Outstanding by Ofsted using its new enhanced framework, even more remarkable given that the college was rated as Outstanding in a no-notice pilot by Ofsted less than two years ago.  This makes Exeter College the only provider ever to gain this highest accolade in two different inspections in less than two years.

The team of 14 Ofsted inspectors, who visited the college in early January, have published their report this week which awards the highest 'Outstanding' grade for Overall Effectiveness as well as across each of the aspect grades of Outcomes for Learners, the Quality of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and the Effectiveness of Leadership and Management.  

"I am delighted that the hard work and dedication of the staff and students has again been rewarded by this national recognition," said Richard Atkins, Principal "Following our success with the pilot in 2012, I was confident that the Ofsted inspectors would see again evidence of our outstanding teaching and learning and exceptional practice across our curriculum areas. The new inspection places a high emphasis, rightly, on hearing the views of students and college users and seeing at first-hand training and academic sessions. This makes for a very rigorous and thorough view of the college and whilst we are not perfect, I am very proud that this report makes such positive reading."

The inspectors scrutinised nine curriculum areas visiting over 100 classroom and training sessions during the week, talking to learners, apprentices and staff about their college experience as well as testing the support given to students by tutors, skills officers, subject lecturers and the range of support services at the college.

The report highlights the impact of the relentless focus of the college on raising standards of teaching and learning, particularly important as the college has recorded successful growth over the last two years.  The inspectors praised this approach stating  'As a result of highly motivated and experienced staff, the quality of teaching, learning and assessment is outstanding … and has led to the improved and very high outcomes for learners' and it continues to note 'Lecturers provide learners with challenging work that prepares them extremely well for further education, training and employment'

In each of the curriculum areas reviewed inspectors highlighted good practice particularly in how the classroom sessions and active partnerships with local organisations ensured that 'lessons stretch learners of all abilities (Art and Design)' and 'Learners' progression to science degree courses is exceptional and many learners obtain places on the best university courses (Science)'

The college's ambitious property and resources investment, business partnerships and specialist academies were celebrated with the report noting 'specialist vocational courses, using exceptional facilities provide learners with outstanding opportunities to work alongside, and learn from, industry leaders and specialists.'

"The success of the college," continued Richard Atkins "is a direct result of the continued development of strong and committed partnerships between the college and local and regional businesses, schools, and community organisations. I am pleased that the strength and range of these partnerships are recognised as a real feature of the college with the inspectors praising our 'excellent links with schools, employers and other agencies'; that our values and priorities are viewed as fostering 'excellence, innovation and a commitment to educating and training the local community' and that the College's provision makes an 'excellent contribution to the educational, social and economic development needs of the region'.

The range and contribution of the College's governors was also recognised with the report stating 'the board of governors possess an exceptional wealth of relevant expertise and comprehensively represent the interests of the region and local community.' Philip Bostock, previously Chief Executive of Exeter City Council and now the College's Chair of Governors said "On behalf of the board I am delighted that the college's passion and commitment to outstanding teaching and learning has been recognised by this fantastic outcome. This Ofsted report is a great result for the students and staff, for the city and the wider community the college serves."

Please click here to view the Ofsted report

Please click here to visit Exeter College on the Ofsted Website

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