Ofsted applauds South Hampshire College Group for “significant progress” post-merger

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South Hampshire College Group has been commended by Ofsted inspectors for making significant progress in all of the areas reviewed in its recent monitoring visit, including the college group’s shared vision, effective management, quality of education, and highly efficient leadership structure.

In their first visit since the merger of Eastleigh College, Fareham College, and City College Southampton, Ofsted praised the “exceptionally smooth transition into the new college group,” which aims to provide financially strong, responsive, and ambitious Further Education to meet the evolving skills demands in the Solent region.

Additionally, the Ofsted monitoring visit report highlighted the college group’s curriculum review and planned Centres of Excellence, which will provide investment on each of the campuses ensuring students are “operating in new industry-standard and well-resourced teaching spaces.” Encouragingly, the inspectors also recognised that the college group’s “leaders clearly communicate their plans to students,” with staff “already working together as single teams ahead of the move, enhancing their collaborative effectiveness.”

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Further acknowledgement was given to the improvements made to the quality of teaching at Southampton College, including “highly effective teaching strategies in lessons”, “clear, useful and timely feedback” and “planning learning effectively to help students increase their knowledge”. Special commendation was also given to the increased access to high-quality resources as a result of the merger, enabling students to learn in environments that replicate industry.

Andrew Kaye, CEO of South Hampshire College Group outside Southampton CollegeAndrew Kaye, CEO of South Hampshire College Group outside Southampton College
Andrew Kaye, CEO of South Hampshire College Group outside Southampton College

The college group also received significant praise regarding its progress in improving the quality of its apprenticeship provision at Eastleigh College. It was noted that the newly appointed apprenticeship leaders “have an excellent understanding of the strengths and areas requiring development of the provision” and have made “substantial progress in making improvements.”

In addition, the Electrical department’s mentors were applauded, with inspectors commenting; “When they assess that apprentices are ready, they allow them to perform the same process under supervision. Consequently, apprentices produce work of a high standard, as well as making a valuable contribution to their workplaces.”

Andrew Kaye, CEO of South Hampshire College Group, was delighted with the report. He said: “This report rightly recognises the significant progress the college group has made since merger. South Hampshire College Group is very well placed to provide the highest quality education and training to meet the needs of the region.

“Looking ahead, we are excited about our future plans for nearly £12m investment in our colleges, which will provide our students and apprentices with new, industry-standard, learning environments.”