Sheffield’s biggest further education college has been given a thumbs up by inspectors – who found more than 20,000 students enrolled there were receiving good standards of education.
Sheffield College, which operates at five main campuses across the city, was rated ‘good’ – one grade better than its last full check-up in 2010.
Last year nine out of 10 students went on into jobs, apprenticeships or higher education, and the Ofsted watchdogs praised the quality of teaching, learning and assessment.
The news comes just months after the college was rated one of the top-performing in the country.
In February a national study into students’ progress found more were completing courses and receiving qualifications than ever before.
College chief executive Heather MacDonald said: “We are very pleased with this result. It’s great news for our students and staff, as well as the city and business community.
“We have worked very hard to increase success rates, raise our profile in Sheffield, and develop strong partnerships to improve the prospects for our students. We have made significant progress, and Ofsted’s report recognises that. However, we are not complacent. There are still some areas we are determined to strengthen, as part of our commitment to becoming outstanding.”
The Ofsted report says students also benefited significantly from high quality, individual support from staff, which played a crucial role in helping them to achieve.
College managers had introduced significant improvements in facilities, guidance and support, and the impact was clear in increased success rates for most types of course.
Staff also worked hard to raise students’ aspirations and increase employability.
Inspectors felt there was still work to be done as success rates were still not yet high enough, and students on A-level courses were making insufficient progress.
They also found not all lessons were challenging enough and a few subject areas still required improvement.
But a strength of the college was found to be its expertise in teaching students with special needs, providing outstanding support which resulted in high success rates, good rates of progression to the next level of course or employment, and a very significant development of communication, social and employability skills.