Second ‘outstanding’ for Cheshire college

Inspectors said teachers and leaders were “passionate” about providing life-changing opportunities for young people and adults

Inspectors said teachers and leaders were “passionate” about providing life-changing opportunities for young people and adults

13 Jun 2024, 17:32

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A Cheshire college has been rated ‘outstanding’ for the second time in four years for its “culture of continuous improvement”. 

Ofsted gave Riverside College in Widnes the highest rating following an inspection in April. Its report was published this week. 

Inspectors praised college leaders for their “highly effective quality assurance” processes for monitoring and improving teaching. 

Teachers used assessment “incisively” to adapt their teaching, check learners’ progress and provide “high-quality developmental feedback”. 

The college teaches more than 3,600 young students, more than 2,000 adults and about 450 apprentices. It was formed in 2006 following the merger of Halton College and Widnes and Runcorn Sixth Form College. 

It was rated ‘outstanding’ in all areas of effectiveness except provision for learners with high needs, which was rated ‘good’. 

This follows a 2020 inspection that also praised the college’s “culture of relentless self-improvement”. 

Principal Mary Murphy said the college was “overjoyed”.

“This achievement is a testament to the unwavering dedication and hard work of our exceptional staff and students. 

“I am immensely proud of our college community for their pursuit of excellence and for consistently upholding the high standards that have once again been recognised by Ofsted.” 

Inspectors said teachers and leaders were “passionate” about providing life-changing opportunities for young people and adults, many of whom came from disadvantaged backgrounds. 

Teachers were also rated as “highly qualified” and commended for putting a “great deal of thought” into their work. 

Inspectors also reported “extremely positive attitudes” from students, who felt “valued and respected”, “highly motivated” and had high attendance levels. 

The college was also praised for improving the attendance of its apprentices when staff noticed that “a few” had been leaving some programmes early. 

On the question of the college meeting local skills needs, inspectors found “highly effective partnerships” with stakeholders. 

The college had undertaken “extensive research” to identify local needs, particularly in the north west’s emerging hydrogen industry. 

It also worked with employers in the welding and construction sectors. 

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