College's partnership gets thumbs-up from inspectors ahead of its second merger
PUBLISHED: 11:01 20 June 2019 | UPDATED: 11:15 20 June 2019
A partnership between two Norfolk colleges has got the thumbs-up from inspectors before the larger of the two embarks on another merger.
Ofsted has deemed the merger between City College Norwich and Paston College in North Walsham in December 2017 to be a success, with leaders making "significant progress" in areas such as maintaining and developing the curriculum, ensuring good teaching standards and creating a "culture of high expectations".
It comes after an announcement that City College will merge with Easton College, following a report which recommended the land-based institution split from its sister college at Otley in Suffolk.
The further education commissioner recommended that Easton and Otley be split up following two critical Ofsted reports, and has proposed that the mergers be completed by December 31.
It will make City College Norwich the largest college in Norfolk with up to 10,000 students - encompassing 16 to 18-year-olds, adult learners and those on higher education and apprenticeship courses.
The Ofsted report into the City College and Paston College merger said each institution, which has been judged to be good by the education watchdog, had maintained its own identity.
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It said continuous evaluation of teaching, learning and assessment meant lessons were "uniformly good".
Students spoke highly of the college with several saying it had helped them to overcome personal challenges.
Academic programmes were said to have been strengthened by the merger. Managers plan to introduce more vocational and apprenticeship courses at Paston as well as a few courses for learners with high needs.
The merger has also enabled both colleges to continue offering A-level courses in "minority subjects" such as further maths.
Inspectors said there had been substantial changes for staff, particularly at Paston, but that these changes had been well received by staff and students.
Corrienne Peasgood, principal at City College Norwich, said: "Our teaching and support staff deserve a huge amount of credit for the hard work and commitment they have shown to making this merger work for our students, for employers, and for the community we serve."