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Construction students part of outstanding department

Thursday, 24th February 2011.

Construction training at West Suffolk College, Bury St Edmunds, is to be showcased at an ACER (Association of Colleges in the Eastern Region) event in London after the college achieved an exceptional accolade last year.

West Suffolk College, whose contruction courses are attended by many Haverhill youngsters, was the only college in the country to be awarded an outstanding grade for this curriculum area in nine years of inspections.

Key members of staff from the college will speak at a one-day conference next week at the Westminster Kingsway College, Victoria Centre, London, outlining the good practice which earned the outstanding grade for managers and practitioners engaged in developing construction and the built environment skills.

This is an opportunity for other training providers to learn through this case study what OfStEd expects to see as the characteristics of outstanding provision and how processes and outcomes at West Suffolk College demonstrated them.

OfStEd inspectors who visited the college in May 2010 for a snap inspection judged the construction provision to be outstanding, and excellent support was a key factor in achieving the grade.

Gary Clarke, head of faculty of arts and technology, said: “We focus on providing targeted support, using staff with the right skills so they play to their strengths - the number one priority is the learner.

“Support programmes are tailored to the individual learner. This approach enables learners to feel at ease and to get the maximum benefit from the support provided.”

Learners are encouraged to relax and to talk about their support needs and are allowed to set the pace and direction of the support provided. One learner said: “I think the support here is brilliant; if I need any help I know I am going to get it.”

Providing this level of support has seen retention and achievement rates rise continually and success rates on most programmes are high.

College principal Dr Ann Williams said: “The outstanding grading was fantastic news, which I am sure will be appreciated by our partners in the business community in Suffolk.”

Haverhill Online News

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