Ofsted Social Care Inspection

Bridgwater College’s Residential Student Accommodation was inspected by Ofsted over a period of three days in March 2015. For the second time, the provision was awarded Outstanding in all categories.

Two Ofsted Inspectors visited Bridgwater College’s Cannington Centre to assess the residential and care provision for students under 18 living primarily at the College’s Cannington Centre. Staff, especially the Student Liaison Team who are responsible for the residential students, students and parents are extremely pleased with the outcome of the report.

Bridgwater College’s Residential Student Accommodation, based at the College’s historic Cannington Centre, is the only land-based provider in the South-West to be awarded Outstanding in all areas, these are: Outcomes for Learners, Quality of Service, Safeguarding and Effectiveness of Leadership and Management. All aspects of the inspection were graded ‘Outstanding’ with inspectors summarising:

  • The academic achievement of residential learners is consistently even higher than their non-residential peers.
  • Residential learners benefit by receiving support from a very committed, dedicated and exceptionally well-trained team.
  • The safety and well-being of residential learners is one of the core values of the college. It is embedded throughout all their practice. This enables residential learners to develop their understanding and skills to ensure their own safety.
  • Excellent links and communication across all aspects of the college ensure residential learners benefit from a holistic and consistent care system.
  • Leadership and management are strong and committed to driving improvement. The leadership team inspire all college staff to provide residential learners with an outstanding experience at the college.
  • Residential learners develop into effective members of their immediate and wider community. This derives from the college community ethos and developing tolerance and understanding of those they come into contact with.
  • Residential learners are enabled to achieve. They gain the skills and qualification they need to make them very employable.
  • The college has very robust and honest monitoring and evaluation systems. These enable staff to continuously improve the service they provide.

The Inspectors were especially impressed by the added value that students clearly gain from being residential at the College.

“Residential learners spoken to, loved their residential experience. They thoroughly enjoyed the vast range of activities that are on offer and see these not only as fun but an opportunity to try new things.”

These activities, which include a College Young Farmers Club and other student groups, are very popular with the students who themselves appreciate that they help them to gain so much in maturity, understanding of others and invaluable independence skills which will stand them in such good stead as they move on.

The holistic nature of the support provided to all students was praised by Inspectors:

The College is to be commended for the exceptional education and reflective work undertaken regarding the dangers of using drugs and alcohol. This is very effective resulting in a significantly low number of incidents. Learners say due to this approach and the staff’s openness in discussion of these issues, they now ‘really understand’ the dangers that drugs and alcohol pose to them.

Ofsted Outstanding Logo From our latest Ofsted Report

Inspectors also commented that “The catering provision at the college is outstanding. Residential learners are incredibly positive about this.” In fact, the Inspectors noted that they did not receive a single negative comment about food, which is extremely rare!

Further developments planned include a move to seven days/week accommodation for all age groups, allowing the land-based students’ duties, which Inspectors praised as being well managed and giving students a realistic idea of what may be expected of them in their future employment, to be spread over a full week.

In addition, plans are already in place to build new Lodge accommodation for all ages in response to increased demand, as well as new further and higher education common rooms and dedicated sports and leisure facilities.

Mike Robbins, Principal of the College said,

“I am absolutely delighted that we have done so well in our inspection again. The wellbeing of our students is at the heart of what we do and is very satisfying to see that Ofsted have recognised the exceptional job our staff do in supporting students both in their studies and their general wellbeing.”

The full inspection report is now available from the Ofsted website.