Reaseheath College remains one of the UK’s premier technical and specialist land-based colleges, Ofsted has confirmed. The results of an inspection of the Nantwich, Cheshire college, held in November, shows that Reaseheath continues to be good (Grade 2) with some exceptional features and continues to be outstanding in many areas – in particular the very high number of Further Education students achieving success and progressing into employment or further study.
The report, released this week, congratulates Reaseheath on the way it has continued to build on its significant national role in providing high quality and relevant educating and training for its students and apprentices.
Describing the success rates of students, which sees over 96% moving into jobs or onto degree programmes in their chosen industry, as ‘a major strength of the college’, Ofsted Lead Inspector Derrick Spragg said his team had continued to be very impressed with the way Reaseheath responds to employers’ needs and ensures its courses are relevant to the world of work.
The inspectors noted that this close partnership resulted in college facilities and state-of-the-art equipment which were often sponsored by industry, and that this greatly benefitted students as they prepared for employment. The inspectors were also impressed by the ‘highly competent and experienced industry specialists who are trained and developed as teachers’, by the high expectations staff have of their students, and by the help and support students receive from industry mentors.
The team highlighted the ‘good quality, external work experience, which provides a rich mix of learning opportunities and clear career direction to students’. They were also impressed by the additional industry recognised qualifications offered to students and by the many activities outside the curriculum such as fund raising for charity and volunteering in the community, which resulted in ‘well rounded individuals’ and enhanced their future job prospects.
Reaseheath’s collaborative work with Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and with other local, regional and national stakeholders are described in the report as ‘highly effective strategic management’ and the college’s ‘strong governance and highly effective leadership and management’ is commended for always putting the needs of students first.
A particularly notable achievement was the college’s work with its LEP which will result in a new centre of excellence for advanced engineering and agri-technology, currently in the planning stage. The report states that the high levels of investment which Reaseheath attracts is based on good strategic planning and sound financial management and that this in turn enables students to benefit from excellent learning opportunities.
The Ofsted inspectors noted that students behave well, show respect to staff and each other and are prepared well for their future careers. They were impressed that the vast majority of students achieve their main vocational qualification and that particularly high success rates were being sustained. They also identified that high needs students benefit from ‘skilful, supportive and highly individualised teaching’, allowing them to develop independence and confidence and encouraging them to progress to higher level programmes, internships, employment, apprenticeships and degrees.
Reaseheath’s safeguarding team is commended in the report for its commitment to ensuring the safety and welfare of students, for its excellent approach to safe working practices and for its efforts to help students develop an understanding of British values.
Principal Meredydd David said: “This is a fantastic result that recognises the outstanding achievements of our staff and students and puts us in a very strong position for the future. It could not have been achieved without the exceptional effort and commitment of everyone at Reaseheath, across all teams including the management team, governors and of course our students and industry partners.
“The Ofsted inspectors told us that we continue to be a very good college with many very strong and outstanding features. These include our safeguarding, our employer engagement and strategic planning, our support for learners, the great work experience we offer and the further study and work destinations that our learners achieve. It is also great to know that we had an overwhelmingly positive response to the Ofsted learner survey, with 95% of students saying that they would recommend the college to others.”