With colleges in Guildford, Merrist Wood and Farnham, Activate Learning was also identified as making a Strong Contribution to identifying and meeting local, regional and national skills needs – the highest grading possible.
This latest inspection carried out by Ofsted in November 2022, looked at the Overall Effectiveness, Quality of Education, Behaviours and Attitudes, Personal Development and Leadership and Management, receiving Good grades across all areas.
The assessment for the provision of education for learners with high needs has been consistent for the past three Ofsted inspections and was once again assessed by Ofsted as Outstanding.
Activate Learning’s Learning Philosophy was also singled out by inspectors, who were impressed by its implementation across the curriculum.
The report states that Activate Learning provides a “calm, welcoming and inclusive learning environment” where learners “enjoy their learning and are respectful of their peers and teachers.”
Commenting on the standard of teaching across Activate Learning’s colleges, the report said: “Teachers are well-qualified subject specialists, who use their knowledge skilfully to explain concepts clearly and successfully stimulate learners’ interest so that they are enquiring learners.”
Ofsted awards Outstanding grade to high needs provision
Ofsted recognised the exceptional work being done at Activate Learning across its high needs provision with it being assessed as Outstanding.
Speaking about the provision, the report said: “The provision for learners with high needs is especially ambitious and meets the needs of the high number of these learners studying across the college campuses exceptionally well.
“Learners with high needs make outstanding progress as a result of the highly personalised curriculum and specialist support that enables them to realise their ambitions, get jobs or live more independently.”
Ofsted also said Activate Learning prepares learners well for life beyond college, stating: “Learners benefit from a strong and consistent focus on preparation and readiness for their next steps.
“They know how to access support through the college’s careers service and appreciate the help and guidance that they receive from their tutors.”
Group are awarded ‘Strong Contribution’ to meeting skills needs
Speaking about the outcome, Gary Headland DL, CEO of Activate Learning, said: “I am so pleased that the hard work and commitment of the Activate Learning team has been assessed by Ofsted as Good with a Strong Contribution to identifying and meeting local, regional and national skills needs.
“This is testament to the work of our dedicated staff who work so hard, day in and day out, to serve our communities through our college campuses in Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Surrey and nationally through apprenticeships, including our Cycle Academies and the Activate Business School, and our online provision.
“It also reflects so well on the terrific students we have across our colleges, our apprentices and our online students, who are working hard to develop themselves for the future in line with our Learning Philosophy.”
Since its last inspection in December 2017, Activate Learning merged with the Guildford College Group in Surrey, including Guildford College, Merrist Wood College and Farnham College.
Gary added: “This was a very large inspection involving eight different locations in three counties. We are highly focussed on providing a consistently high quality and relevant education provision to all of the communities we serve while also working collaboratively with civic, business, community and education organisations.
“We were so pleased that this was recognised by the Ofsted team as it represents an immense effort by so many people.
“Through our Learning Philosophy, we are determined to build on our recent assessment so that the quality and relevance of our education provision is Outstanding.”
Sue Sturgeon, Chair of Governors at Activate Learning, said: “This is a great result for Activate Learning and shows how we are consistently offering a high standard of education to the communities we serve.”
Angela Richardson MP for Guildford came to Guildford College to help mark the celebration of the latest inspection outcome.
She said: “The results of the latest Ofsted inspection confirms what students and parents in the local area already know, that Activate Learning’s Surrey colleges are continuing their journey towards excellence.
“Since Activate Learning merged with the Guildford College Group in 2019, we’ve seen a steady increase in the college’s scope and ambition. That sense of purpose is now being responded to by students from across Surrey.
“I extend my warmest congratulations to all those involved in both the running of the colleges and its strategic leadership; Ofsted’s findings rightly acknowledge everything you have achieved. Young people more than ever need the skills and knowledge to prepare them for the world of work; Activate Learning is the perfect place to get that preparation.”