Andover College praised by Ofsted as high expectations lead to an increasing “proportion of students gaining high grades at A Level” and college leaders having “successfully improved the quality of the student experience and student outcomes”
In a strong endorsement of the college’s approach and achievement the inspectors noted that, since their last inspection in 2014 “leaders, managers and governors have continued to provide a consistent good quality of education for students” adding that the college had gone from strength to strength across the board having “successfully improved the quality of the student experience and student outcomes” with “improved achievements for students on 16 to 19 programmes, for the majority of adult learners and for those apprentices on programmes directly delivered by your staff.”
It reaffirmed an unblemished track record of equipping students with the best teaching, facilities and industry links to enable them to achieve their goals at college and beyond.
The team of six inspectors looked at a large cross-section of the college’s provision – for 16-18 year olds, adults and apprentices, but not the Higher Education provision. Inspectors thoroughly assessed the college, observing teaching in classrooms, workshops and the workplace, speaking to students, apprentices and teachers.
Inspectors went into a wide variety of lessons to see the everyday classroom experience of students, noting that: “Since the previous inspection, the proportion of students gaining high grades at A Level has increased.” The inspection team commented on the way the college has developed highly specialised and individual programmes for each student including an “element of work-related experience, which teachers carefully tailor to their ambitions and aspirations.” And how this is continually developed through working with a wide range of employers and partners.
Teachers were praised both for their approach and their valuable and highly relevant skills: “teachers are well qualified, they have extensive industry experience and good industry contacts, which benefit students greatly. Teachers demonstrate their strengths in theory and practical lessons where they use real-life examples to enliven learning. These teachers have high expectations of their students; as a result, students work to industry standards.”
Inspectors were also impressed that teachers and apprentice assessors are ensuring students have the best possible guidance before, during and after their training: “Comprehensive and high-quality careers advice and guidance help students to make well-informed decisions about which course best suits their needs. Assessors give very effective advice and guidance to apprentices on their next steps and options for further study that will enhance their career opportunities. For example, business administration apprentices take additional courses that will prepare them well for taking on management responsibilities.”
The inspection team also approved the college’s approach to training apprentices – both on and off the job: “Apprentices develop new skills well during their off-the-job training. These enhance their practice and their progression opportunities at work. Apprentices develop new skills well during their off-the-job training. These enhance their practice and their progression opportunities at work. In business administration apprentices have taken responsibility for developing the social media within their marketing company.”
It was highlighted that students’ experience had been particularly enhanced by “considerable investment to improve and extend the teaching areas of the college” through “highly effective partnerships” with “the new Future Skills and Technology Centre” which had “greatly enhanced the students’ experience” by offering “excellent accommodation and specialist equipment” and allowing the college to “increase the range of specialist provision.”
College Principal Tim Jackson felt the report was a resounding endorsement of the college’s commitment to excellence and said: “Inspectors saw the College operating in a normal way and validates our everyday commitment to exceptionally high standards and support for students. I am so pleased the skills, knowledge and expertise of our teachers was so clearly acknowledged in the report.” Tim went on to highlight the College’s important links with business, industry and universities and said: “we provide multiple pathways for our students so they are so well prepared for the next step in life, whether that is university, which is the preferred route of the majority of our Level 3 students, or employment through our strong links with employers.”
Deputy Principal, Martin Simmons who worked directly with inspectors during the inspection said: “This is another watershed moment for Andover College. The report confirms what so many young people are now saying, namely, there is no need to leave the town when what is on offer in Andover is of such a high standard. Support for students, individualised learning plans, talented and creative teachers all lead to students who are ready for university or roles in industry.”
There was praise for the college’s leaders and managers for their effective work with Enterprise M3, the Local Enterprise Partnership and local councils “to respond to local and regional skills gaps” and “carefully design the curriculum to meet these needs”. This enterprising approach had also “resulted in significant investment in digital skills and information technology for students and staff. Staff are now equipped with mobile devices that allow them to make good use of technology in classrooms and in workshops.”