A Hampshire college has retained its ‘outstanding’ rating from Ofsted – more than a decade after last being inspected.
Farnborough College of Technology, which has campuses in Farnborough and Aldershot, secured the education watchdog’s top rating following a visit in May.
It marks the first inspection it has had since November 2011, when it also received an ‘outstanding’, after Ofsted last year removed the inspection exemption for those providers which received the highest rating.
Principal Virginia Barrett said: “Since my arrival at the college in 2016 our strategy has focused on becoming a more inclusive institution with the highest expectations from our learners.
“Ensuring that learners embrace the goal of becoming a ‘T-shaped person’ by developing soft skills alongside their core subjects has led to a fantastic blend of qualities that is underlined by their professional standards – punctuality, arriving ready to learn, and having a real drive to be their best.
“Our focus on progression and employability with the help of industry boards, experienced lecturers, and our careers programme also makes our college a great launchpad for our learners’ next steps, which is a particular area of pride given the excellent opportunities available in our region.”
The report said that learners and apprentices “flourish in a college culture of mutual respect”.
Inspectors recognised that students “grow in confidence and develop their character” because “they value how well staff know, understand and respond to their individual learning and pastoral needs and aspirations”.
The college put in place additional support for those who struggled during the Covid-19 pandemic, which Ofsted described as “excellent”.
Elsewhere, the report said the college had been especially successful in helping learners and apprentices develop professional behaviour, and said course leaders “use their very well-established links with local businesses, industry and community groups to shape the courses, qualifications and training they offer”.
It highlighted a host of courses such as level 3 games development and level 2 and 3 hair professional apprenticeships where industry-standard facilities were used to develop learners.
According to Ofsted, there were just over 2,000 young learners, 670 apprentices and 1,000 adult learners at the time of the inspection.
Barrett said her college could not have reached this “excellent result without the commitment of all college staff, who consistently go above and beyond to give learners an experience that we consider to be beyond outstanding”.