A third general FE college has been rated ‘outstanding’ in the space of six months.

Fareham College was recognised as grade one in all headline fields except adult learning programmes which was found to be ‘good’.

The ‘outstanding’-overall report – up from its previous ‘good’ rating – is due to be published by Ofsted tomorrow, but the college shared it with FE Week a day in advance.

The sector had faced a 14-month wait for Ofsted to rate a general FE college ‘outstanding’ – but this changed with two published in the space of two weeks in June.

These went to Dudley College and Grimsby Institute Group.

News of this third grade one will be widely welcomed, and principal, Nigel Duncan, said: “We are absolutely thrilled with the outstanding Ofsted result.

“Our dedicated team of academic and support staff have worked incredibly hard to ensure we are driving the best technical and professional education in the South.”

He added that every member of staff, no matter what role they play in the organisation, along with students and their employer partners “gave their all during the inspection”.

“Staff performance is consistently outstanding and student behaviour exemplary – what more could a principal ask for? I am so proud to lead such an amazing organisation,” he added.

The report recognises that “excellent and well-established” partnerships with employers, particularly supporting specialist engineering subjects, and that these “meet local, regional and national needs very well”.

This special relationship with employers provides “exceptional” opportunities for work experience and for learners “to learn using specialist engineering equipment and technical resources”.

“Particularly effective” performance management of teachers’ results was also praised, while governors’ diligence with securing the college’s financial health was recognised.

The report recognised governors’ wide range of industry experience and skills, and how they “provide excellent support and challenge to the senior leadership team”.

Students and apprentices were said to “make very good progress” in achieving their qualifications, and in gaining excellent technical and professional skills.

Fareham College, in Hampshire, is a large general further education college that taught over 3,000 learners last year. It was allocated over £4million by the Education and Skills Funding agency for 2016/17.

It opened a second campus in Lee-on-the Solent, in collaboration with large regional employers, which provides technical and professional training in a range of engineering specialisms such as automotive, marine, aeronautics and motor sports.

The new Ofsted report was also full of praise for the teachers.

It said: “Practical teaching for students on study programmes and for apprentices is of very high quality and closely aligns to apprentices’ workplace roles and responsibilities. Teachers are highly experienced in their vocational subjects and they use their skills and enthusiasm to inspire students and apprentices to progress and achieve.”

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