Following the previous ‘requires improvement’ rating after inspectors visited the campuses in November 2018, the schools inspectorate visited the college three times since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and each time found ‘significant progress’ and improved performance.
Now, following a full inspection, Ofsted has given it a ‘good’ rating along with the other colleges in Education Partnership North East (EPNE) – Sunderland College and Hartlepool Sixth Form.
The inspectors declared it a strong ‘good’ in eight areas and ‘outstanding’ in a ninth (personal development).
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The report was particularly complimentary about Northumberland College’s educational portfolio, stating that the college ‘provides programmes that respond effectively to national, regional and local priorities and that enable students to develop the knowledge, skills and behaviours they need for employment, further training and progression to higher education’.
Ofsted also reported that since Northumberland College’s merger in 2019, leaders have taken action to address successfully significant issues at the college relating to the curriculum, the quality of education, health and safety, and finance.
Ellen Thinnesen, chief executive of Northumberland College and EPNE, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled that the hard work, talent and dedication of our Northumberland team has been recognised and rewarded.
“With the Department for Education backing our new college build, and now a full Ofsted inspection confirming the quality of our provision, the future is bright.
“It has been a united, one-team approach, with staff, students, governors, partners and stakeholders all working hard to deliver the further education provision Northumberland needs and deserves.
“I would like to give specific thanks to the many employers and community stakeholders who have supported the transformation of our curriculum and its alignment to industry.”
The Ofsted report also included the following: ‘Students demonstrate positive attitudes to learning. They enjoy their lessons and take pride in their work.
‘Students experience a culture of high expectations and are supported well to develop appropriate attitudes and behaviours that prepares them well for their next steps.
‘Students feel safe at college and know to whom they should report concerns.’