Sunderland College has been given the thumbs-up by inspectors.
The College, was officially rated as ‘Good’ after a full inspection visit by Ofsted, with many strong features, and staff were praised as ‘enthusiastic, knowledgeable and passionate’ and for sharing ‘their love of, and enthusiasm for, their subjects to lead lively and interesting sessions.'
Principal Ellen Thinnesen said: "We are very pleased with our inspection result, the recognition of our high standards and the role we play in raising aspirations for young people across the region.
"I'm delighted that our teaching and learning support staff have been recognised for their passion and commitment to ensuring our learners achieve their potential. Since arriving at the College in January, I've been highly impressed by all of our staff and to have this endorsed by Ofsted is a true testament to all of their hard work.
"This Ofsted report is great news not only for the College and our staff and learners but also for the city, the wider region and the Further Education sector. Our approach to partnership working and the important role we take in meeting the needs of the local and regional economy was positively highlighted within the report.
"We are now determined to go from strength to strength."
Ofsted said ‘close collaboration with key partners within the region results in a coherent and continuously updated curriculum, aligned closely to regional and national priorities’ and ‘managers work closely with the local council, local health trusts, local universities and employers to design programmes to address specific skills gaps identified by the local enterprise partnership such as in advanced manufacturing, health and social care and in digital industries.’
Ofsted praised the College for setting high expectations and targets for learners and that through staff encouragement, learners ‘work diligently to achieve those targets so that they can go on to fulfil their emerging ambitions for work or higher education.’
Inspectors recognised that ‘due to the good quality teaching, learning and assessment and high levels of support and guidance, the great majority of learners achieve their qualifications and progress to higher education or sustainable employment.’ The report also recognised ‘almost all apprentices retain their employment at the end of their qualification.’
The report did, however, highlight areas of concern for management to address before the college could be classed as 'outstanding' : "Despite significant improvements in the retention of younger learners on GCSE English and mathematics courses, not enough achieve high grades; younger learners on a number of AS-level courses do not make the progress expected of them based on their starting points and the proportion of apprentices who complete their qualifications within planned timescales is too low."
Ellen Thinnesen said: “Our role is to equip learners with the qualifications and work readiness skills required to progress onto their next steps, be that higher education or employment. Ofsted have recognised that we are most certainly fulfilling this role and enabling our learners to successfully move on to the next stage in their lives.”
A full copy of the report can be found at http://reports.ofsted.gov.uk/