The Adult College, Barking and Dagenham rated Good

It’s all ‘GOOD’ for The Adult College, Barking and Dagenham

Staff and students at The Adult College, Barking and Dagenham are celebrating following the publication of its latest Ofsted inspection report – which graded it ‘good’ and says it “fosters the belief in residents that they can lift themselves up and improve their lives through education”.

Inspectors, who visited the college between Monday 4 and Thursday 7 December 2023, praised it as “a calm and warm environment, with a strong culture of respect and collaboration.”

Ofsted found the college to be good overall, with inspectors judging both the personal development and the work to develop behaviours and attitudes of learners to be particularly strong. The quality of education, and leadership and management, were also found to be good.

Cllr Sade Bright, Cabinet Member for Employment, Skills & Aspiration, said “Congratulations to everyone. This is a great OFSTED result: a good testimony to an excellent team.

“I am extremely pleased that the work of the college staff to empower and increase the skills and lives of our residents has been recognised in this way. Well done to the staff and the learners for this endorsement.” 

The Inspectors were impressed with college Safeguarding arrangements, finding them comprehensive and clear, with good reporting mechanisms and strong risk management, focused on local risks (for example they praised efforts to focus on Domestic Abuse and FGM).

Inspectors carried out ‘deep dives’ into specific subject areas including ESOL, Maths, Childcare and Teaching Assistant programmes. They found ESOL staff to have a ‘forensic understanding of their area’, Maths courses that prepared learners really well for exams and Childcare courses that focus well on resident’s career aspirations.

The report, published today, 27 February 2023, picked on some key strengths, with inspectors highlighting a well-planned and broad curriculum with a clear sense of purpose. They highlighted that learners develop skills incrementally over time and are supported well through clear internal pathways. 

Inspectors found that learners benefitted from a wide range of enrichment activities and strong links with the council Job Shops who support a comprehensive careers programme of impartial advice and guidance which enables them to be knowledgeable and confident about their next steps and options.

Leaders and managers were found to have an accurate understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the college and a good oversight of quality improvement.

Inspectors praised the college for the role it plays in meeting the needs and raising aspirations in its local communities. Inspectors were particularly impressed with the college’s emerging partnership with Coventry University London and the impact this had had in bringing higher education to the local community.

Inspectors have asked the college to further improve the use of individual learning plans, standardising feedback arrangements and building more opportunities for learners to ‘encounter the world of work’ through their courses.

Evelyn Carpenter, Chair of the college’s advisory board said: “The Work & Skills Board are grateful for the college’s commitment to the residents of Barking & Dagenham.  Staff across the organisation have dealt with multiple challenges and changes recently with quiet and determined resilience. The Work & Skills Board are proud of them. It is heart-warming to see how the positive inspection process made staff reflect on their own practice and realise where improvements could be made for the benefit of their staff and learners.”

Simon Beer, College Principal said: “Every single member of the college team, teaching and support staff, should feel proud of the part they have played. The college has gone through a fair amount of change in recent times and so to secure such a positive verdict is doubly impressive.

“I am grateful to the two interim Principals, Yvonne Bennett and Nicola Sanderson, who oversaw all the preparation for this inspection. I am also hugely grateful to our governors on the advisory board, who have supported us and challenged us so thoughtfully every step of the way. Our learners were fabulous during the inspection. The transformative experience they have been on courses here shone through in everything they said and showed inspectors. They continue to inspire us and, through their achievements, remind us why we do what we do.” 

The full inspection report is available here.

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