A specialist arts college in Hereford is celebrating a “milestone” achievement after securing top Ofsted marks.
Hereford College of Arts was today awarded ‘outstanding’ grades across the board following a full inspection in October.
It currently has 522 FE learners across two campuses, who study level two and three courses across art and design, music performance and production, performing and production arts, and creative media production and technology.
Inspectors praised learners’ “in-depth knowledge, understanding and creative skills often beyond their level of study”.
The report said this was due to leaders planning a range of activities and events that enrich a “well-thought-through” curriculum.
“Leaders have created a curriculum that consistently and extensively promotes the personal development of learners,” the report added. “Learners are provided with many opportunities that go beyond the curriculum.”
One example is music and performing arts learners getting involved in their community through initiatives such as bringing music into local schools and a concert to support Hereford’s refugee musicians. “As a result, learners are acutely aware of why it is important to contribute actively to society,” the report said.
Teachers were complimented for using project work to set the development of skills into real situations and contexts and taking care to check learners’ understanding of key concepts carefully and effectively.
The watchdog said learners are highly motivated and enthusiastic about their learning and work collaboratively.
The Ofsted report also highlighted that a “very high proportion” of learners progress to the next steps, often going to study at prestigious institutions.
“Learners develop the high-quality skills and knowledge that they need to become successful artists,” it said. “They benefit from highly skilled teachers, technicians and industry practitioners sharing their knowledge and experience.”
Principal Abigail Appleton said: “This report is a milestone for Hereford College of Arts, but we know ‘outstanding’ is a way of travelling and not a destination. Hereford College of Arts is on a journey of continuous improvement and development, committed to serving the needs and ambitions of every individual student, but also to helping develop and serve the community of our city and region and the needs of a changing world.
“I am immensely proud of the whole staff team, all our expert and passionate academic and professional services staff, but also of the students, governors, parents/guardians, colleagues in partner education institutions and the wider community of businesses, other organisations and individuals in Herefordshire and elsewhere who have helped the college achieve this ‘outstanding’ judgement.”