Langley, Strode’s and Windsor Colleges rated “GOOD” by Ofsted

In its first full inspection since the merger between East Berkshire College (Langley and Windsor) and Strode’s College (Egham) – the newly formed Windsor Forest Colleges Group, which comprises the three separate colleges, was this week rated as GOOD by Ofsted.

The group was visited by Ofsted under its new inspection framework, which saw a team of 11 inspectors explore all aspects of teaching, learning, support and outcomes at each of the colleges. The report which was published on 6 January 2020 rated the colleges as ‘Good’ for overall effectiveness and ‘Good’ in all other inspection areas covering quality, behaviour, personal development, leadership, education for young people, adult learning and apprenticeships.

The inspectors praised the learning environment stating in the report: “Learners and apprentices benefit from a calm and respectful learning environment. They value, and gain confidence from the high levels of support and care from staff. Behaviour in lessons and across all college centres is very good and learners feel safe.”  They also highlighted the strength of careers guidance provided noting that “most learners who intend to progress to higher education do so, often to their first-choice institution”. Inspectors noted how learners benefit from teachers who are industry professionals learning from their experience and “professional practice”.

They were also impressed with the quality of teaching and the way the learning is delivered, reporting: “Teachers sequence and deliver the curriculum in a logical and well-planned way. Learners build on the key knowledge and skills they have learnt, consolidate these through practice and apply them effectively in both practical and theoretical situations.”

They highlighted the support and added-value provided to students through the tutorial programme, commenting: “Learners develop a good understanding of wider society through a well-planned tutorial programme as well as the promotion of relevant content in lessons. Teachers encourage learners to take an active interest in current affairs and to be critical thinkers.”

Group Principal and CEO Kate Webb, was naturally very happy with the result of the inspection and reflected on the outcome by saying: “What a great result for the group as an organisation, and personally for all the teachers and staff members who have worked so hard to make sure all our learners have the best possible chance of success.” She also commented on how the new Ofsted framework puts the learner experience at the heart of its inspection process and said: “What is really meaningful about this result is that the inspectors reach their judgements by speaking directly with learners and therefore what is contained in the report is a true reflection of Langley, Strode’s and Windsor Colleges.”

The inspectors commented on the specialist provision for learners with high needs, commenting that “Teachers work well with support staff to ensure that learners with high needs are well supported.” But also commented on the need to ensure a small number of learners are given the opportunity to learn and progress further on their courses. This was noted as an area “requiring improvement”. Ms Webb confirmed steps were already underway to address the issues raised.

The Chair of Governors Tony Dixon reflected on the great progress made by the group since the merger saying: “The group executive has worked tirelessly to bring our two organisations together to form one united culture, where the learner comes first. The high standards delivered across all three colleges has been rightfully noted by Ofsted and is also reflected in the outstanding results achieved by learners this year, and the increasing focus on higher-level study and employability. With a “Good” rating from Ofsted coupled with the highest rating for quality given by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) the group is going from strength to strength.”

The full report is available on the Ofsted website.

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