Awards and Ofsted

Derby College is subject to a variety of inspections…

April 2016 Derby College Praised By Ofsted Inspectors

Derby College Ofsted Report

Derby College has been praised by Ofsted as ‘a valued resource for the city of Derby and the county of Derbyshire’ following a recent inspection.

Two key areas were also judged as ‘Outstanding’.

The College’s partnership work with employers to design and deliver the curriculum was praised as was the success of the Employer Academies with local businesses to deliver master classes and internships.

The quality of work with high needs learners is was also ‘Outstanding’ - enabling young people to achieve their learning goals, gain valuable work experience and develop very good social, personal and communication skills with a clear focus on preparing them for future employment and greater independence in their everyday lives.

Ofsted inspectors visited the College in early March – scrutinising the work in the College’s four main campuses in Derby, Ilkeston and Morley, as well as at community venues and in the workplace.

Derby College’s Chief Executive Mandie Stravino and the senior management team have been singled out for particular praise for the implementation of rapid improvements to ‘provide an inclusive and welcoming environment with high quality learning facilities that local people value’.

Key findings from the report also highlight that teaching and learning are good with a curriculum that is responsive to the needs of the local economy. Teachers are well qualified and passionate about their work.

Inspectors found that learners were well-behaved, confident and proud of their college with more young people and adults choosing to study at Derby College and succeeding in their progression to higher education, work or apprenticeships.

Significant improvements have also been made in the success of apprentices and learners of all ages since the previous inspection in 2014 with apprentices developing good vocational skills which improve their employability and which contribute to the success of their employers’ businesses.

Mandie Stravino said:

This excellent Ofsted report is good news not just for Derby College as an organisation but for the wider city and county that we support. In his verbal feedback at the end of the inspection, the lead inspector said that the grade profile awarded to Derby College places it in the top 25% of colleges which greatly enhances the marketing of Derby and Derbyshire to potential inward investors. Our role as a College is to provide learners with the skills, attitudes and employability skills to progress onto the next stage of their lives – whether that is to higher education, work or self employment. We are also committed to working in partnership with employers to ensure that we are providing them and indeed all businesses with the skilled workforce that they need both today and in the future. This work is vital to address potential skills shortages, increase their competitive edge and achieve growth and job creation. I am also particularly pleased that the work we undertake to support higher needs learners as well as those who face wider challenges in their lives has been singled out for praise. Thanks to the work of our specialist teams, these learners progress successfully to high level courses, foundation degrees, supported internships, into work or onto adult courses. This shows that we are truly inclusive college with a positive learning environment that supports and nurtures learners from diverse backgrounds to increase their independence and achieve their learning goals. We are therefore providing a valuable service to businesses and our wider local communities alike throughout the city and county. We are justifiably proud of the findings of the Ofsted inspection and I thank all of our governors, staff, students and partner employers for their contribution to this success.”

The experience and skills amongst the College’s governing body was commended in the report. Chair of Governors and Chartered Accountant Janet Morgan continued:

Our role is to monitor, scrutinise and challenge the educational performance of the College and I am delighted that this has been recognised by the inspection team.

Mandie Stravino and her team have worked tirelessly on a vigorous action plan to turn the College around from one that ‘required improvement’ to now being among the top performing colleges in the country.”

Other key findings in the report include:

  • The good quality of careers information and guidance
  • Good integration of English, Maths and Technology in lessons
  • The quality and flexibility of adult learning with a curriculum that is responsive to the needs of the local economy
  • Effective promotion of equality and diversity with high quality support for new communities such as Roma learners to ‘prepare learners well for life in modern Britain’
  • Learners feel safe at College with a good understanding of online safety and the dangers of radicalisation and extremism
  • The increasing number of learners returning to College for Higher Education study programmes

The Ofsted report follows an inspection of Higher Education provision at Derby College last summer by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) which praised the quality of HE courses.

The Ofsted inspection report has graded Derby College as ‘Good’ overall.

Download Ofsted Inspection Report »

Matrix Standard

The Group was awarded the Matrix standard accreditation for the delivery of information, advice and guidance initially in March 2014 and successfully achieved the IAG Matric revalidation in March 2017. It was commended in the Matrix Report on providing students with “a wide range of different options and opportunities to engage meaningfully with the world of work and contribute to the overarching employability aim of the Group.” Revalidation found pastoral and support services to be impressive, as was the work undertaken with a network of partners to offer IAG services.

Derby College Nursery Celebrates Ofsted Praise November 2016

Derby College’s pre-school nursery based at the Broomfield Hall campus in Morley has been rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted inspectors in all areas of its work.

The inspection, which took place in November, looked at four key areas – effectiveness of leadership and management; quality of teaching learning and assessment; personal development, behaviour and welfare and outcomes for children – all of which were judged as ‘Outstanding’.

The inspection team’s report, which has now been published, highlights key strengths at the Little Explorers Nursery which was the county’s first Forest School when it opened in 2011 with much of the activities based outdoors in the grounds of Broomfield Hall. Strengths include inspirational and visionary leadership and a vibrant learning environment both indoors and outdoors with utmost priority given to the children’s safety. Inspectors praised the exemplary behaviour amongst the children who settle well, have excellent communication and language skills and are extremely well prepared for the next stage of their learning and school.

The report is particularly complimentary about the quality of teaching, learning and assessment – especially in maths - through ‘stimulating activities’.

The Ofsted report follows Derby College’s overall Ofsted inspection earlier this year which rated the academic and vocational provision as ‘Good’ with its work with employers and for students with higher needs as ‘Outstanding’.

Derby College Chief Executive Mandie Stravino said: “We are obviously delighted with the findings of the Ofsted inspection and I congratulate all the staff involved with Little Explorers on this justified praise.

“Little Explorers reflects the ethos of the whole College – providing a high quality education and environment which prepares the children here and the students elsewhere in the College for the next stage in their lives.”

Little Explorers Manager Kate Cox, who was singled out for praise in the report, said: “Having gained a ‘Good’ grading three years ago, we are thrilled to have gained top grades across the board for this inspection.

“It shows the high standards that we set ourselves in motivating the children’s curiosity and interest in their surroundings so that they are not only happy and healthy but are well prepared for starting school.”

Download Full Report »

Teacher Training Programme Wins Ofsted Praise December 2015

Derby College’s involvement in the University of Derby Initial Teacher Education programmes has been awarded the highest accolade from Ofsted. Ofsted ranked the FE and skills provision as ‘outstanding’ following an inspection in September. The inspection has also ranked the overall effectiveness of the ITE partnership is good in Early Years; outstanding in Primary and good in Secondary.

Derby College is a key main partner in the University of Derby-led programme in the city and has the highest number of in-service trainees.
The key findings of the report published recently highlight:

  • The professional conduct of trainees in all four partnerships as strong, resilient and independent teachers who are exemplary role models for their peers and colleagues.
  • The attainment of trainees is high and continues to improve.
  • Strong employment rates amongst trainees with employers valuing their skills highly
  • High satisfaction rates and the partnership has a good reputation amongst trainees, teachers, employers and partner organisations

The Ofsted inspectors said: “The University of Derby provides excellent training for teachers and trainers in the further education and skills sector.

“Teaching and learning are lively and though provoking; challenging students to rise to the high expectations set by trainees and NQTs in their lessons.

“Partner colleges are very closely involved in the leadership and management of the partnership, and are highly influential in shaping the provision so that trainee teachers fulfil the recruitment needs of the sector.

“Partner colleges, along with current and former trainees, play an integral role in rigorous recruitment and selection processes so that trainees have high levels of subject knowledge and the capacity to become excellent teachers.”

Derby College Assistant Head, Higher Education Robin Webber Jones said: “As a key part of the ITE Partnership, we are obviously delighted with this recognition of the hard work, commitment and the high quality of education that we provide.”

Career Mark Quality Award November 2015

Derby College achieved the Career Mark quality award which holds the DFE Quality in Careers kite mark in November 2015. This cross college quality award recognises good practice in the management and delivery of careers guidance services.

In December 2015 Derby College was presented with the prestigious Career Mark Gold plaque which is for organisations that are successfully assessed on 3 consecutive occasions in recognition of their outstanding and continued commitment to careers education and guidance.

Revalidation of The Buttle UK Quality Mark July 2015

Derby College achieved revalidation of The Buttle UK Quality Mark Award which evidences good practice in supporting learners in care and care leavers

Derby College Higher Education Review (QAA) May 2015

Derby College’s work to improve the employability of local people through its extensive range of Higher Education programmes has been praised by inspectors from the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA).

Inspectors visited the College in May to look at various aspects of its work and the report particularly commended the quality and enhancement of student learning opportunities and said that academic standards and information about learning opportunities met UK expectations.

QAA chose a particular theme for each inspection and focused on the College’s work around student employability and commended the expansion of the work with businesses and its partnership working with degree awarding bodies including the University of Derby, Nottingham Trent University and Sheffield Hallam University.

Inspectors also highlighted several areas of good practice including the governance, support for and investment in professional development of teaching staff; the extensive links with employers, involvement of students in the College and the proactive approach to creating a higher education community within the organisation.

The report says: ‘The College states its main reason for the delivery of higher education is to offer vocationally relevant courses which allow students to become more employable. The College strategy is focused on improving the life chances of people and businesses in the community it serves.

“Employers and students are involved in the development and reviews of programmes are well-informed and enthusiastic about benefits of the College’s provision.’ All the programmes were commended for the quality of teaching, small class sizes, excellent facilities and positive relationships between lecturers and students.

The full report can be found at

Derby College (Broomfield Residential) Ofsted October 2014

Derby College's residential accommodation support, for students who live at the Broomfield Campus, has been praised by Ofsted inspectors and graded 'outstanding'.

All areas were given the top rating. Ofsted reported; 'the overall effectiveness of the residential experience for learners is excellent and results in them developing the skills they require to achieve sustainable future careers.

Learners live in a safe environment that promotes their education and independence. It enables them to develop new social skills and broadens their interests. As a result they mature into skilled, confident adults.'

The report highlights that, 'the College provides a residential experience that increases learners' opportunities for gaining their qualifications'.

Over the past two years, 100% of the students who have resided at Broomfield completed their course with 100% achievement and success, excellent progression into the workplace or onto university.'

The calibre of staff, management and the support structure in place for students was also praised as was the safety and quality of the residential accommodation.

Download Full Report »

Supporting learners in Care - Achievement of Buttle Kite Mark Award in July 2014

The College achieved the Buttle Kite Mark Award in July 2014 for the work it does to support learners in care and care leavers.

Career Mark Quality Award November 2013

Derby College achieved the Career Mark quality award which holds the DFE Quality In Careers kite mark in November 2013. This cross college quality award recognises good practice in the management and delivery of careers guidance services.
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