A college previously accused of safeguarding failures has regained its ‘good’ rating from Ofsted less than two years after it was branded ‘inadequate’ by the inspectorate.
Shrewsbury Colleges Group was praised for creating “an inclusive culture where students, apprentices, and staff feel safe and welcome” in a report published today.
The sixth form college was given the lowest possible grade overall in March 2020 after inspectors expressed concerns that “not all students feel safe” and that some staff “did not feel equipped to deal with” these challenges.
The college contested Ofsted’s report at the time but failed to overturn the decision.
Commenting on the turnaround today, principal James Staniforth said: “The college team are truly fantastic, working incredibly hard on a daily basis to help our students achieve their goals, regardless of the very challenging circumstances we have all faced over the last two years.
“It is very pleasing to see this work being recognised by the education standards office.”
The feat means there are now no colleges in England rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted, after Moulton College also bounced back from the rating in December.
Today’s report shows Shrewsbury Colleges Group was ‘good’ in seven of the eight categories assessed, and deemed ‘outstanding’ for “behaviour and attitudes”.
Ofsted said students show high levels of respect for each other, staff, and visiting adults. They also “enjoy being at college with their peers following the disruption to their previous education and lives due to the Covid-19 pandemic”.
Students also gain valuable knowledge and skills in their subjects in high-quality facilities, and are “rightly proud of the work they produce”.
Ofsted praised teachers at the college for having high levels of subject expertise and experience and for helping students to secure their “knowledge and understanding through the effective support they provide in lessons”.
The inspectorate also judged that the college delivers a broad and rich curriculum that meets the needs of students, apprentices, employers, and local communities “very well”, while student services work with external agencies to provide guidance to learners across a range of areas, including mental health, preparation for independent living and finance.
Roger Wilson, chair of Shrewsbury Colleges Group, said he was “delighted” with the outcome.
“The experienced Ofsted team, which was drawn from across the country, completed a thorough and rigorous inspection of the college and we’re extremely pleased with the outcome that they have reached,” he added.
“The last 18 months have been particularly challenging in the educational sector with the Covid pandemic and therefore, I’m particularly gratified that the work of the college staff and students have been recognised.”