Staff and students at a North East college group are delighted after Ofsted inspectors praised their ‘significant progress’ and thanked them for the difference they have made to the lives of students.
Ofsted inspectors visited City of Sunderland College, also known as Education Partnership North East, in December 2021. The inspectors evaluated the progress that leaders and managers have made since the college group was created following the merger of Sunderland College with Northumberland College and Hartlepool Sixth Form, an approach Ofsted takes with all merged colleges.
During the visit, Ofsted met with governors, college leaders, staff, students, parents, employers and community partners and judged all areas as making ‘significant progress’, the highest performance judgment available.
Ofsted’s report specifically highlighted how leaders and managers use a comprehensive range of information to inform self-assessment of curriculum and that they re-evaluate frequently to measure improvements made. They also pointed out how the college makes good use of “external support to set clear standards”.
Their report also highlighted that leaders and managers work closely with strategic partners, including the North East LEP, the NHS, the local authority, and advisory boards, and have designed a curriculum that meets the North East’s regional and local requirements well; furthermore that they use the information they receive from industry to inform curriculum design, which as an outcome enables students and apprentices to develop the skills they need for their career goals.
Education Partnership North East is a multi-award-winning regional college group that comprises Sunderland College, Hartlepool Sixth Form and Northumberland College. CEO, Ellen Thinnesen, said:
“We were delighted to welcome the inspectors from Ofsted to Sunderland College. It was a real opportunity for us to demonstrate the transformational journey we have been on. It is fantastic recognition for the combined efforts and the dedication of everyone across the college group to ensure we are achieving our vision of excellence. I am extremely grateful to all of our community and industry partners who met with inspectors and contributed to this successful report.
“I’m especially grateful to our staff who continually go above and beyond for their students and am deeply appreciative of their dedication and commitment to the provision of high-quality education. From curriculum staff, to support function staff and my senior leadership team, every person has played a part in our success. I know they are extremely proud of their achievements today.”
As part of Sunderland College’s transformation, multi-million-pound investments have provided outstanding new facilities to transform skills education and training for young people and adults and to support the development of higher-level technical skills.
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Our achievement rates are well above the national average.
We are the College of the Year.
(*Top college nationally for BTECs, Pearson 2019)
100% of our HND and HNC students progressed to employment or further study.
(*Destination data, academic year 2016/17, HNC 19+)
We have recently invested £50 million in our facilities.