Gateshead College has achieved an ‘outstanding’ Ofsted inspection report, placing it at the forefront of further education (FE) and demonstrating it is leading the way on the Government’s skills agenda.
The report praised the college’s dynamic principal and championed the vision to develop strong partnerships with regional employers and organisations such as Nissan UK and the NHS. Ofsted cited outstanding employability skills among students, giving them the ‘employment edge’ in a tough North East economy.
Gateshead College is one of only two FE colleges to be recognised as outstanding this academic year. The college is exceeding national targets for its performance, with a success rate cited as ‘exceptionally high for all learners’ at 8.2% above the national average.
Students, who are exceeding national achievement targets, go into highly sought after careers with prestigious employers, including the Royal Marines and The Ritz, London. Gateshead College was also praised for the high proportion of its learners achieving places at Russell Group universities, including Oxford, Cambridge and Newcastle.
Ofsted highlighted that many students are inspired by the opportunities presented by partnerships with prestigious venues such as Sage Gateshead, Dance City and Baltic.
The report also praised the outstanding levels of care and support from staff ensuring students were prepared for progression. Excellent careers advice and guidance was also highly commended. Learners at risk of not making progress are referred back to specialist staff who provide the support to get them back on track.
Judith Doyle, principal and chief executive, said: “I am very proud of this outstanding achievement. This is a fantastic result, not only for us and our students, but also for parents in the region who are looking for a college performing at the very highest level.
“Our focus is to put our students in the best possible position to either secure work when they leave us or continue in education and progress to university. We’re delighted Ofsted recognised that our students develop outstanding employability skills so that they have the ‘employment edge’.”
Robin Mackie, chairman of Gateshead College and business leader, said: “This Ofsted report places Gateshead College at the forefront of FE in the country. It is the result of a fantastic team effort led by Judith and I am thankful to every single partner and colleague that has worked very hard to achieve such a great result.
“I am delighted Ofsted acknowledged the outstanding partnerships the college has with employers and business organisations like the CBI and chamber of commerce to ensure the curriculum is relevant to the local area and regional priorities. The regional business community can be proud to have one of the country’s best performing skills providers on its doorstep.”
The Ofsted announcement follows recent recognition from the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) that Gateshead College was the top performing college in the North East and the third best in the country (out of 218 colleges) for success rates. The positions are based on FE tables for success rates based on the numbers of students staying on at college and successfully gaining qualifications.