Waltham Forest named London’s only ‘outstanding’ general FE college

Inspectors heaped praise on the college for helping students to "flourish"

Inspectors heaped praise on the college for helping students to "flourish"

A London college group has been named the capital’s only ‘outstanding’ general further education college, with inspectors noting “extremely” good student achievement.

Waltham Forest College in Walthamstow, north east London, received a near-clean sweep of ‘outstanding’ grades following its March Ofsted inspection, an upgrade from its ‘good’ result in 2018.

According to Ofsted data, the college will be the only ‘outstanding’ rated general further education college in London.

Learners and apprentices at the college – which has about 2,000 16 to 18-year-old and 4,000 adult learners – “flourish” thanks to excellent teaching and training, the report said.

They are “highly motivated, ambitious and work hard” to reach their goals, benefit from an “excellent” tutorial programme and an “exceptional” and ambitious leadership team.

The report is yet to be published by Ofsted, but today the college published it themselves – with a celebration of the improved grade and its “excellent” educational outcomes for learners.

It said the college is ‘outstanding’ in all areas including quality of education, behaviour, and leadership, with only apprenticeships receiving the lower grade of ‘good’.

College “delighted” at grade

Principal and CEO Janet Gardner said she is “delighted” that Ofsted has recognised the quality of her students’ experience.

She added: “The whole staff team work relentlessly in their drive to support our students and ensure they achieve the very best outcomes to progress.

“The strong collaborations with employers, partners and stakeholders further supports the overall experience and ensures the college continues to meet local, regional, and national skills needs.”

The top Ofsted grade marks a new high for the college, which had a series of three ‘requires improvement’ grades from 2013 to 2018.

“Strong” contribution to London’s skills needs

Apprentices quickly gain “advanced technical knowledge and skills” from lecturers who are “experts in their field,” inspectors said.

The college makes a “strong contribution” to meeting London’s skills needs such as childcare and construction while also offering courses that are suitable for refugees and asylum seekers.

Lecturers also work with industry specialists and business owners to ensure curriculums, such as Level 3 cookery, are relevant.

Although inspectors praised “extremely helpful” feedback to students’ work, English and maths could be taught earlier, and achievements are “not high enough”.

However, teachers and lecturers monitor students’ progress “extremely effectively”.

High needs students have “life-changing experiences” thanks to experienced SEND professionals who “work very effectively” to develop their confidence.

The report notes: “Most learners, including learners who have high needs and those at their subcontractors, achieve extremely well.”

Alongside their courses, the college offers students a range of “outstanding” enrichment activities, a “very impressive” tutorial curriculum and “high-quality” careers education.

Leaders have relevant background and expertise, are “passionate and highly committed” and have a “thorough oversight” of the college’s strengths and areas in need of improvement.

A team of 12 inspectors visited the college, led by Saher Nijabat HMI.

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One comment

  1. Phillip Hatton

    Does show how idiotic Ofsted are when they give a grade 2 for apprenticeships but list no area for improvement in the report. If that is the case it would be a grade 1 for apprenticeships. Does no one proofread reports? Well done to the college as the best ever result in what is a deprived area where expectations are often too low.