Stockton Riverside College Group is celebrating Ofsted success today following its first inspection since merger.
In a glowing report the college group has been praised for the positive impact it is having on its students and local residents, raising aspirations and delivering the skills needed to achieve their ambitions and help them find work.
During a monitoring visit of the newly merged college inspectors found staff are, “passionately committed to ensuring all learners receive the best possible teaching”.
They also recognised the close partnership work between the college group, local authorities and employers, which is helping to address skills gaps and meet the wider economic needs of the area.
Stockton Riverside College Group was formed in August last year with the merger of Stockton Riverside College and Redcar and Cleveland College, a dynamic move that helped secure the future of a dedicated further education college in Redcar and Cleveland.
The group now incorporates Stockton Riverside College, Redcar and Cleveland College, Bede Sixth Form College, NETA Training and The Skills Academy.
Group Principal and Chief Executive, Phil Cook, said: “Our vision for the merged college was simple, local colleges for local people; creating greater opportunities for communities, equipping people with the skills to help them into employment, to raise aspirations and meet the economic demands of the locality and sub-region.
“We remain firmly committed to these goals and there is still much more to be done, however it is fantastic to have the progress and hard work of our staff, managers, leaders and governors recognised by Ofsted at such an early stage.”
Highlighting the rapid progress of the merger, today’s Ofsted report said that “the positive impact on learners and apprentices is clear”.
It stated: “Leaders and managers have tackled the previous weaknesses at the Redcar site,” and the results now show through students’ development, motivation and attendance.
Achieving “significant progress”, the highest possible grading for a monitoring inspection, in four out of five areas, the result places Stockton Riverside College Group among the best performers nationally for colleges that have gone through an Ofsted monitoring visit following merger.
Inspectors said that new appointments to the group’s senior leadership team, including three new campus principals, has “created a culture in which managers are autonomous but accountable” and decisions are made in the best interests of learners and apprentices at each college site.
The report also noted that governors from both pre-merger colleges are on the board, ensuring the governing body is representative of all local communities.
Mark White OBE DL, Chairman of the Stockton Riverside College Group Board of Governors, said: “It has been a massive year in the history of the college. The merger of Stockton Riverside College and Redcar & Cleveland College has taken a lot of hard work and commitment by all involved, and it is something that should make us extremely proud.
“As a board of governors we were confident of the benefits the merger would bring to the area and our students, but to see it come to fruition and recognised by Ofsted is an incredible feeling. We are in a good place and heading in the right direction.”
Welcoming the college group’s progress since merger and today’s Ofsted report Neil Schneider, Chief Executive of Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council said: “Stockton Riverside College Group brings many valuable opportunities to our young people and adults looking to develop their skills and knowledge. It is great to see their hard work and dedication to the wider area and its economic demands being recognised by Ofsted.”
Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council’s Chief Executive Amanda Skelton said: “Our priority was to retain a high quality learning environment in Redcar, offering further education and training to young people and adults. We welcome and value the enhanced opportunities that the college is now bringing to our communities across Redcar and Cleveland following its successful merger.”
The Sir William Turner Foundation has been supporting education in Redcar and East Cleveland for more than 300 years. Each year the Foundation invests around £20,000 into the Redcar and Cleveland College to support extra-curricular projects that enhance the education experience of college students.
Peter Sotheran MBE, Chairman of the Foundation, said: “The Sir William Turner Foundation congratulates everyone at Redcar & Cleveland College on a remarkable Ofsted result. The turnaround in the College’s performance points it towards an ever brighter and more fulfilling future. The Foundation is pleased to have played a small part in the College’s success.”