Accreditations And Awards

Ofsted Outstanding

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Blackburn College is rated “Outstanding” across all areas by Ofsted. Ofsted is the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills. This government body reports directly to Parliament and inspects and regulates services providing education and skills for learners of all ages. Blackburn College is officially recognised by Ofsted as a ‘Grade 1’ Outstanding College. We were one of the first College’s in the whole country to be officially rated as ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted across all areas.

Since our latest Ofsted inspection, Ofsted have visited the College on several occasions. On one of these visits our Additional Learning Support team was praised as being ‘in a league of its own’ and in a later visit the quality of our Teacher Training provision was highly praised. To view all our Ofsted reports visit the Ofsted website.

Summary of Grades Awarded
Ofsted inspectors use a four-point grading scale to summarise their judgements in each category.

The descriptors for the four grades are:

  • Grade 1 – Outstanding
  • Grade 2 – Good
  • Grade 3 – Satisfactory
  • Grade 4 – Inadequate
Blackburn College were awarded the following results in their inspection:
  • Effectiveness of provision Outstanding: Grade 1
  • Capacity To Improve Outstanding: Grade 1
  • Achievements and Standards Outstanding: Grade 1
  • Quality of Provision Outstanding: Grade 1
  • Leadership and Management Outstanding: Grade 1
  • Equality of Opportunity Outstanding: Grade 1
  • Capacity To Improve Outstanding: Grade 1
Ofsted highlighted the College’s Key Strengths as:
  • Strong, supportive and empowering leadership and management
  • Rigorous monitoring of performance and progress
  • Improved and now high success rates
  • Outstanding progress of GCE A Level students
  • Very good teaching which challenges and meets learners needs
  • Highly effective strategies to promote inclusion and widen participation
  • Very productive external collaboration, partnerships and employer engagement
  • Outstanding support for students
  • Very successful arrangements to listen to and act on student views
  • Robust and well informed governance.
The College’s capacity to improve is outstanding.

Staff receive wide-ranging professional development focused on achieving government priorities, meeting local area needs and improving teaching and learning.

The report recognised that Blackburn College has made outstanding progress in addressing the issues raised at the last inspection.

Value added measurements show that the College is among the top 5% of all LSC funded providers.

Arrangements to recruit and support students, and challenge them to make good progress are effective. The College considers and acts on the views of stakeholders.

The College management are continually striving to be an outstanding education provider and to achieve this they have invested in new buildings and significantly improved the quality of learning resources.

Leadership and Management Outstanding: Grade 1
Leadership and management are outstanding.

The College has achieved its challenging vision of "working as a team to be outstanding". The principal, senior managers and governors provide very strong strategic direction and management for the College.Staff at all levels feel empowered and trusted to do their jobs well and they respond admirably to the challenges they face.

Governors are highly experienced and well informed.

Governors contribute well to the formation of policyand decisions about the College’s strategic direction and monitor College performance, both academic and financial, carefully.

Arrangements to eliminate discrimination and promote equality of opportunity are outstanding.

The College management and promotion of both are high priority. Policies and procedures are clear. The College complies with government legislation and has appropriate arrangements for safeguarding young people and vulnerable adults.

The accommodation strategy is ambitious and well devised.

Accommodation is good overall. New buildings, completed on time and to budget, are innovatory in their attention to environmental sustainability and provide excellent learning environments.Curriculum management is outstanding and the management of work-based learning is good.

Management arrangements are clear and effective in ensuring the centres respond appropriately to College priorities. Management information is clear, accessible and timely and focused on key targets. Quality assurance arrangements are effective. They are clearly documented and understood by staff.

Effectiveness of provision Outstanding: Grade 1
Achievement and standards are outstanding.

Overall success, retention and achievement rates at Blackburn College have increased rapidly over the last three years. Success rates including those of most work-based learners are high. GCE A Level students make outstanding progress.

Teaching and learning are outstanding.

The overall quality of provision is outstanding. Lessons are well planned and matched to the needs of individual learners.

The College’s provision for meeting the needs and interests of learners, employers and the community is outstanding. Effective partnerships with external agencies have removed barriers to education and widened participation.

Employer engagement is outstanding. Varied enrichment activities enable students from diverse backgrounds and cultures to enhance their personal development.

Curriculum management is outstanding and the management of work-based learning is good. Service areas provide excellent support. Management information is clear, accessible and timely.

Close attention is given to the views of students and staff. Governors are highly experienced and well informed and monitor College academic performance carefully.

Arrangements to eliminate discrimination and promote equality of opportunity are outstanding.
Achievements and Standards Outstanding: Grade 1

Achievement and standards are outstanding. Overall success, retention and achievement rates increased rapidly over the last three years. Success rates are high and exceed the national averages for similar colleges for all key indicators.

GCE A Level students make outstanding progress.

The College analyses success rates by gender and ethnicity. Indian and Pakistani learners continue to do well. The lowest performing group is white young people, however the College has identified the success rates of this group as an area for improvement

Success rates for apprentices and other learners on work based learning courses are high.

Attendance of learners on courses increased significantly over last three years.
Learners are well motivated and enjoy their courses.

The standard of learners work is good and many produce work of a very high standard. The College celebrates learners’ achievement widely, which motivates learners to succeed.

Quality of Provision Outstanding: Grade 1
The quality of teaching and learning is outstanding.

Managers use the results of the rigorous annual observations of teaching and learning in staff appraisal. Lecturers also benefit from sharing best practice and the support of teaching and learning advisers and subject coaches.

Staff are empowered to make improvements that benefit learners and their morale is high.

Teaching is very good, provides challenges and meets learners’ needs. Lecturers are well qualified, experienced and have current subject knowledge.

The College’s approach to social inclusion is outstanding.

Varied enrichment activities enable students from diverse backgrounds and cultures to enhance their personal development. Effective partnerships with external agencies have removed barriers to education and widened participation.

The College’s provision for meeting the needs and interests of learners is outstanding.

Employer engagement is outstanding. The College works successfully with a wide range of employers. Both parents and employers are highly satisfied with the choice and quality of provision and the support available.

The College’s provision for the advice, guidance and support for learners is outstanding.

There is prompt implementation of additional learning support and regular monitoring ensures it meets changing needs. There is full integration into the mainstream

curriculum of students with complex learning difficulties. They receive very good specialist support which promotes and develops independent learning skills.

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The body that safeguards the public interest in sound standards of Higher Education qualifications is the QAA (the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education). They do this by working with Universities and Higher Education Institutions to define academic standards and quality, and by carrying out and publishing reviews against these standards. University Centre at Blackburn College was last reviewed in 2015. You can read our review and also see the areas of good practice online.

 


TES National Award Winners

 

2015 TES FE AWARD NOMINATED FOR MARKETING CAMPAIGN OF THE YEAR  
2014 TES FE NATIONAL AWARD WINNER FOR MARKETING CAMPAIGN OF THE YEAR

Blackburn College won the Marketing and Communications Campaign of the year award at the 2013/14 TES FE Awards. After encountering increasing competition for 16-18 students from neighbouring schools that had opened their own sixth forms, Blackburn College had to develop new ways of targeting students from outside their traditional recruitment area
In response, and with no increase in marketing budget, it tried to devise a way to encourage more applications by increasing engagement with schools in the Ribble Valley, Chorley and Preston.

The idea it came up with was Education Rocks, an awards ceremony at the college for school teachers, with the nominations supplied by the schools’ own students – Blackburn’s potential learners of the future.
The college teamed up with local radio station Rock FM to create a campaign promoting the awards, and also carried out school visits to raise awareness among students and build relationships with school staff. Social media, e-marketing and direct mail strategies were used to drive up public awareness.

More than 400 nominations were received and 180 guests from the schools attended the glittering awards ceremony.

The college set itself a challenging recruitment goal: a 10 per cent increase in enrolments from its target areas. Staff needn’t have worried. The college smashed its target, recording a 30 per cent increase, easily exceeding its ambitions.

Judges thought Blackburn College had struck on a “genius” idea.

“On one level, it’s all about the schools; on another level, it’s all about the college.”

 Their victory was witnessed by over 500 people gathered to celebrate the sector’s achievements at the prestigious awards ceremony held at the Park Plaza, Westminster Bridge, on Friday 28 February.

Other awards at the glittering black-tie event, hosted by Jo Brand, included prizes for the Most Innovative Teacher of the Year, FE Provider of the Year and Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community.
Now in their third year, the TES FE Awards recognise and reward the achievements of the wide range of providers working in learning and skills. Hundreds of FE providers submitted entries for the 13 categories to recognise achievement in employer engagement, innovation in teaching, leadership and entrepreneurship.


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University Centre at Blackburn College has become an Apple Authorised Centre for Education (AATCe). Blackburn College is only one of a few colleges across the North West to be awarded this prestigious accreditation.

 


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This means Blackburn College has made specific positive commitments regarding the employment and education of disabled people.