College is satisfactory say inspectors
LOWESTOFT College has been applauded for its good links with local employers and schools, its efforts to tailor training to the growing needs of new industries and for its 'open and friendly' approach to teaching.
Ofsted inspectors who visited last month have praised the college in their report on the 3,000-plus student college.
They also pointed out areas where they say it needs to improve.
The education standards watchdog's report rates the college's overall effectiveness as 'satisfactory' and grades the level of teaching and learning as 'good'.
The inspectors say: 'The college has good links with employers and schools. It continues to prove effective and flexible courses for local industry and responds well to the needs of new and emerging sectors, such as offshore energy production.'
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They also describe the quality of engineering and hospitality and catering course provision as good. Sport, leisure and recreation courses, plus literacy and numeracy and English for speakers of other languages part-time lessons, are rated as satisfactory.
Overall success rates remain at around the national average, the inspection report says.
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It adds: 'The college has a well-established welcoming, open and friendly approach. Its curriculum meets the needs of the local and regional community well. Leaders and managers have a clear strategic vision which they communicate well to staff.
'The proportion of good and outstanding lessons has increased since the last inspection, with teachers providing a wide range of learning activities which encourage and sustain learners' interest.'
Areas considered ripe for improvement include student retention rates, which are said to be below average, and ensuring that all students have sufficiently precise and challenging academic targets.
Principal Simon Summers, who has been in the post since September, said: 'Staff have worked hard over a number of years to improve standards, and I think the inspection recognises that.
'Where we need to further improve is to retain the number of people who stay to the end of their courses.
'With the current, difficult economic circumstances, this has been a challenge but one I think we are well placed to tackle.'