Kendal College secures ‘good’ rating after new rigorous Ofsted inspection

11 Jul 2017

Kendal College has been awarded an overall ‘good’ performance rating in its first Ofsted inspection under the governing body’s rigorous new criteria.

Seven inspectors spent four days at the College last month assessing effectiveness of leadership and management, quality of teaching, learning and assessment, personal development, behaviour and welfare, and outcomes for learners.

The College was rated ‘good’ in most categories but was notably ‘outstanding’ in its provision of personal development, behaviour and welfare. The ‘outstanding’ grade acknowledged that students are motivated to learn, possess excellent employability skills, and most importantly, are safe and feel safe at all times whilst at College.

Key findings from the inspection include:

  • Learners develop practical skills very well and demonstrate very high standards of expertise. Standards of behaviour shown by learners and apprentices within the College are outstanding.
  • Learners and apprentices benefit from well-resourced and industry-standard facilities that provide them with good professional working environments.
  • Teachers and assessors provide excellent information, advice and guidance for learners and apprentices preparing them extremely well for their next steps.
  • Leaders, managers, and staff promote a culture of motivation, collaboration and support, which learners and apprentices embrace and mirror in their behaviours.

Graham Wilkinson, Principal at Kendal College, said: “This is the twelfth Ofsted inspection I have gone through in my career and without question, the most challenging due to the framework being tougher than ever before. We’ve achieved a really strong score and I am proud of the high standards our staff and students perform to all year round – not just during an Ofsted inspection. This is definitelty reflected in the numbers of students increasing year on year with many now choosing to combine their courses with one or more A-Levels, opening up more options in terms of progressing onto their first choice of university or into the workplace.”

Inspectors added: “Teachers make positive links to learners’ career aims and the development of effective employability skills, including communication and teamwork. Consequently, the vast majority of learners and apprentices progress onto further or higher study or into employment. Many gain jobs with esteemed companies or progress to prestigious universities.”

Graham Wilkinson continued: “In this current climate, and with Ofsted placing increasing emphasis on the safeguarding of students, we’re really pleased that the inspectors specifically highlighted our commitment to providing a safe and all-inclusive learning environment and accepting that our students have an excellent understanding of how to keep themselves safe. It was also clear that our students are immensely satisfied with the quality of learning they receive at Kendal College with inspectors commenting that they value the support they receive and make exceptional progress because of it.”

The report also highlighted the impact that Kendal College has on the local community and the value that dedicated teaching programmes bring to employers across the region. Inspectors said: “Managers establish highly effective and productive relationships with large and small employers and develop programmes which up-skill the local community and provide the workforce for priority areas of employment.”

In November 2016, Kendal College was rated as one of the top two most successful colleges in England after industry figures were analysed and published by FE Week magazine.