Students’ residential experience is graded ‘outstanding’ in new Ofsted report

Residential students living on campus at Askham Bryan College benefit from an ‘outstanding’ experience, according to a new Ofsted report published today.

As one of the UK’s leading specialist land-based colleges, Askham Bryan College provides highly effective services which contribute significantly to improved outcomes and positive experiences for young people.

Upto 300 residential students live on site at the College’s main York campus. Ofsted’s inspection specifically covered care standards and provision for under-18s.

Inspectors assessed residential students’ overall experience and progress; how well they are helped and protected; and the effectiveness of college leaders and managers. All have been graded as ‘outstanding’.

Tim Whitaker, Chief Executive Officer and Principal, Askham Bryan College, said: “We are delighted with this amazing Ofsted report, which is testament to the outstanding experience that our residential students enjoy thanks to the expertise and strong teamwork of our staff.”

The College’s residential facilities, student support service, safeguarding and leadership and management, are all praised in the report for meeting the highest standards.

Students, the report notes, make excellent progress with their studies, benefit from a wealth of exciting learning opportunities, develop their personal and social as well as employment skills, and thoroughly enjoy living in college accommodation.

Inspectors also found that students’ emotional health and wellbeing is exceptionally well supported, they feel safe at college and accommodation is appropriate to their needs.

The report covers three themes and the more detailed highlights include the following strengths.

1. Overall experience and progress of young people

• Students value the increased independence that they get from learning to live away from home. Over time, they become confident in taking responsibility for themselves.

• Students’ emotional health and wellbeing are exceptionally well supported. This is having a remarkable effect on their immediate lives and their longer-term opportunities.

2. How well young people are helped and protected

• Staff decision-making is underpinned by trauma-informed practice. This focuses on education, providing positive experiences and improving students’ self-esteem.

• This approach makes an exceptional difference to some students, who are able to remain in college and take advantage of the experiences on offer.

3. The effectiveness of leaders and management

• The accommodation is led by a very skilled, energetic residential manager who is deeply committed to helping all students to achieve, including those who struggle to settle into college life.

• Leaders forge strong connections with staff in other establishments. For example, leaders work closely with mental health professionals, social workers, and other
support services.

• These links help to inform and improve the work of college safeguarding and wellbeing staff. As a result, students receive timely and creative solutions when they experience difficulties.

• Leaders ensure that inclusivity is at the heart of students’ college experience. Remarkable levels of support are provided to students who have experienced trauma or disadvantages. This means that those students with the greatest needs receive the support that they require to meet their potential.

The three-day inspection took place from January 31st to February 2nd, 2023, under the social care common inspection framework.

To read the report, published on March 21st, 2023, please see the full report available for download here

The College has maintained its high standards having been graded ‘outstanding’ previously in three residential provision inspections in 2019, 2013 and 2011.

Clare Williams, Assistant Principal (Students), Askham Bryan College, added: “Due to the specialist nature of our courses, we attract students from across the UK and internationally.

“We are committed to providing a high quality residential experience and learning environment for our students so they can thrive. We are very pleased that this has been recognised by Ofsted.”

Situated on 260 hectares of land, the College’s York Campus has an award-winning wildlife and conservation park, equine centre, gym, working farm, glasshouse complex and arboretum.

Find out more about our upcoming open days and courses starting in September 2023.

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