Ofsted have recognised the continued success of Harlow College by once again rating them as good. A "clear vision and high ambitions for learners" has helped secure a 'good' grade across all judgement areas during the recent full inspection carried out across the College’s main campus as well as the newly opened Stansted Airport College and adult learning hub based in the town centre.
The report recognises the good progress made since the last inspection in January 2016 in a number of key areas. The College’s productive relationship with local employers was identified as one such area.
"Employers play an essential part in the design of programmes that learners and apprentices study. As a result, learners and apprentices gain the skills, knowledge and behaviours required by employers. Leaders and managers work successfully with an extensive range of organisations and employers to meet local and regional skills priorities".
The recent opening of Stansted Airport College was given as an example:
"Learners study qualifications that prepare them for a career in the aviation industry. Employers play an important role in shaping the design of the curriculum. This ensures that learners and apprentices secure the skills required by employers".
Inspectors were further impressed by the learners and apprentices’ behaviour which they described as "excellent" stating they have a “highly mature and motivated attitude towards learning, supporting the judgement that a "very high proportion of learners and apprentices progress to positive destinations at the end of their programme".
The college’s commitment to embracing digital technology within teaching and learning was also recognised with the report stating that “Teachers use digital learning extensively to reinforce and extend learning. This enables learners to make more rapid progress and become more independent”. This further underlines the colleges’ position as the only further education provider in the country to be awarded ‘Apple Distinguished School’ status for its use of digital technology in the classroom.
Karen Spencer, Principal of the College, acknowledged the successful report by saying: "We are delighted to have achieved a Good grade in all categories during the recent Inspection. I particularly want to thank our staff for their hard work and professionalism, supporting our students to be successful. Inspectors also praised the quality of our students’ work and I really believe this helps them have better futures - investing in their careers not just courses."
Robert Halfon, MP for Harlow and Chair of the Education Select Committee, was equally enthusiastic: "It is great to see that Harlow College has received a 'Good' rating in all areas in their latest Ofsted report. Harlow College has firmly established itself as one of the country’s best FE colleges and it is especially pleasing to see the College’s championing of apprenticeships recognised by Ofsted. The recent opening of Stansted Airport College shows how Harlow College is really broadening its horizons and long may this progression continue. Big congratulations to the principal, the staff, students, parents and governors at Harlow College. I am proud to represent one of the best colleges in England and that is why I have visited over 70 times since becoming Harlow's MP. Well done to all."