The Chichester College Group (CCG) is delighted to announce it has been awarded ‘Outstanding’ in its Ofsted inspection.
The Group, which includes Brinsbury College, Chichester College, Crawley College and Worthing College, received ‘Outstanding’ grades in every area of Ofsted’s recently reformed inspection framework.
The report was a glowing endorsement of the Group and all four colleges, which stated ‘learners are rightly very proud of their college’.
It is only the second general further education provider in England to achieve unanimous top grades since the new framework was introduced and is the largest college group to achieve ‘Outstanding’ in every area.
Shelagh Legrave OBE, Chief Executive of CCG, said: “We are absolutely thrilled with our ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted result.
“Our ambition has been to ensure our colleges provide students with the best education and training possible.
“Now, less than three years after our first merger, Ofsted has recognised us as an ‘Outstanding’ group of colleges in all graded areas, which is a phenomenal achievement and a true testament to the hard work, dedication and talent of all of our staff and students.
“We hope everyone connected with all of our colleges will join us in celebrating this success. We have an exciting future ahead and we remain committed to this level of excellence at all of our colleges, including Haywards Heath College which opens in September this year.”
This was the first full Ofsted inspection since CCG formed in 2017 and inspectors commended the way in which the leadership team managed the two mergers with Crawley College in 2017 and Worthing College in 2019, highlighting the ‘strong collaborative culture between the campuses.’
It means that both Crawley College and Worthing College have improved upon their previous inspections, which were prior to the respective mergers. Crawley – inspected as Central Sussex College in October 2016 - had been judged as ‘Requires Improvement’, while Worthing received a ‘Good’ grade in February 2016.
Dr James Sarmecanic, Chair of the Corporation at CCG, said: “This report is the result of a fantastic team effort, led by Shelagh, Andrew Green [Executive Principal] and our college principals – Vicki Illingworth, Paul Riley and Sally Challis-Manning.
“It places CCG’s standing at the forefront of the further education sector, particularly among college groups.
“I am proud of the entire team of CCG staff across all four – soon to be five – colleges. They work extremely hard and demonstrate great dedication to give our students the best opportunities possible.”
Inspectors particularly highlighted the Group’s apprenticeship programmes, noting the collaborative relationship between the Group and employers to ‘research and design appropriate courses’ to ensure apprentices and students are learning industry best practice.
They also paid tribute to the ‘positive impact apprentices’ news skills and knowledge have on their workplace’, while celebrating the excellent outcomes for apprentices, who ‘frequently use their improved knowledge and skills to secure promotion.’
Ofsted praised the dedication shown by lecturers, saying students ‘cherish the passion and subject expertise of their teachers’ and made special mention of the Group’s provision for learners with additional needs. Career advice and guidance at the Group’s colleges also received equally glowing praise from inspectors, who visited the four sites from 3-6 March 2020.
Vicki Illingworth, Principal of Crawley College, said: “We are absolutely delighted. We have been on an incredible journey over the past three years at Crawley College and to see the progress that has been made is amazing.
“Inspectors noted the dramatic improvement to our students’ pass rates and progress, which is fantastic to read. The collaboration between our students and staff to create the best learning experiences we can has really supported our achievements.
“To achieve ‘Outstanding’ is a direct reflection of our team of staff. The dedication, determination and passion they have displayed has been phenomenal. I couldn’t be prouder to be with them on this journey, it is inspirational.”
In a joint statement, student presidents Sophie Sargent, Ria Voice and Philip Pasby added: “We’re so proud of our Ofsted result.
“Students are the heart of all of our colleges and the leadership of the group prioritises the student voice. It really is central to everything the Group does.
"It’s why we’re so passionate about our colleges and we’re really happy to see Ofsted confirm what we – as student presidents – have always felt. We are ‘Outstanding’!”