The latest Ofsted report for Northumberland College has been published (14 January 2019) and covers a time period from May 2017 to December 2018. The findings reflect the College’s past and present standing, albeit temporary, at a time when a major strategic overhaul is taking place to re-evaluate, re-focus and re-define Northumberland College as a leading educational institution for future generations.
CEO and Principal of Northumberland College, Ian Clinton, commented, “Northumberland College is, at present, going through a major transitional period of change that will purposely re-focus our FE and HE offering to concentrate on core academic subjects, improve and increase industry-driven learning opportunities, strengthen commercial partnerships with local employers, and see continuous investment in STEM-based facilities. This process is lengthy, complex and multifaceted, and fully addresses historical shortcomings which the College’s new leadership team, appointed in April 2018, clearly identified and began to rectify.
“The latest Ofsted inspection is a statutory requirement of this process and one which every educational establishment would incur in such circumstances. Whilst making significant improvements and progress in an extremely short period of time, the report recognises the very temporary and interim position that we currently find ourselves in, and therefore, the findings are a ‘snapshot’ of a specific period of momentous change.
“Furthermore, it takes into account that our long-term strategic vision has, in certain areas, required us to take one step back in order to take two steps forward, and whilst difficult and challenging in places, this too was essential to further enhance our provision, sharpen our focus, turn a corner and get us back to where we need to be for the years ahead.
“However, and simultaneously, the report does praise and commend the College stating how ‘the great majority of adult students progress to the university of their choice, into further education or into employment on completion of their courses’, that we have ‘acted decisively to stabilise the college’s finances’, how we have ‘begun to tackle the main causes of deterioration’, and also how the ‘behaviour and attendance of 14-16 year old students has been transformed.’ These are huge positives to build upon, especially as many of the report’s recommendations are very much in line with the strategic focus now being implemented.
“Furthermore, our links with FE institutions like Newcastle, Cumbria and Huddersfield Universities are strong and new safeguarding measures put in place enable students to get the very best out of their education.
“Our vision is definitely not a short-term fix, nor can it be rectified instantly, and staff have fully embraced the new, clearly-defined strategy and the changes required as part of it. They are 100% committed and dedicated to achieving the goals and objectives set out, and equally, their hard work behind the scenes must not be undervalued.
“We fully accept that there is work to do and the report highlights this, but it is also confirmation that we are on the right path and learners will reap the benefits of major changes happening at Northumberland College, both now and in the future.”