City college rated outstanding but head says: We’ll aim higher

Highbury College Principal Stella Mbubaegbu CBE
Highbury College Principal Stella Mbubaegbu CBE

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JUST a month after being named the country’s best-performing further education college, Highbury College has been crowned ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted inspectors.

Principal Stella Mbubaegbu, who joined the Cosham college 10 years ago when it was rated ‘satisfactory’, said she was delighted with the accolade.

She said: ‘This is an incredibly proud day for all of us at this college who have worked so hard to achieve our mission to enable students to succeed.

‘Ofsted’s report validates everything we do and it is a massive boost for Portsmouth.’

The inspection report is glowing. Success rates across all subject areas are recognised as being ‘far higher’ than other colleges, teaching is praised for being good to excellent, and learning resources, the range of courses and leadership all come out with flying colours.

Courses including health and social care, literacy, numeracy, and English for speakers of other languages all get top marks.

Mrs Mbubaegbu said: ‘Students who choose our college deserve the best so they can go out and thrive in a highly competitive market.

‘In our eyes everyone can succeed. We have students who come in with excellent grades and others who have not attained well at school, but we focus on them all as individuals and push them to be the best they can possibly be.

‘We want our students to be independent and confident because the world is a tough place and in the current economic climate it’s going to get even tougher.’

Highbury College was recently hit with budget cuts forcing cuts in teaching hours and 26 posts being made redundant.

Mrs Mbubaegbu admitted finances were tough but said there would be no let-up on improving standards. She has already set her sights on increasing the college’s league-table-topping 92.2 per cent success rate to 100 per cent.

She said: ‘Our ambition is to transform education by teaching the right skills to succeed in life.

‘We don’t want that for the majority, we want it for every single student. We’re aiming for 100 per cent success rate.’