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East Kent College Group awarded Ofsted Outstanding

Published: 15/05/2023
Ashford College receives an 'Outstanding' rating from Ofsted - 2023

The East Kent College (EKC) Group, which includes Ashford College, has been graded ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted following its inspection in March, with the education watchdog giving the Group top marks in every single category. 

Ashford College was acquired by the EKC Group in 2020 in response to recommendations made by the Further Education Commissioner in 2019. Prior to this, the college campus had been part of Ashford Borough Council’s Big 8 projects, moving from Jemmett Road to Elwick Road with a new, state-of-the-art campus.

The site was granted a financial injection through the Post-16 Capacity Fund in 2021 and with this Phase 2 of the campus project has begun, to house additional facilities for Information Technology, Engineering and Business courses.

When Ofsted visited Ashford College last year, they were awarded “Outstanding” alongside EKC Group’s other resent acquisition, Canterbury Spring Lane, being the first two colleges in their portfolio to receive the highest accolade. 

With this latest Ofsted inspection, which took place between the 7 and 10 March, 18 inspectors assessed the Group’s provision across all 6 of their college campuses, meeting with staff, students and stakeholders the Group works with.

Overall, the report found that: “leaders have excellent knowledge of the local economy and review their course offer to respond quickly to employers’ new and developing needs such as green technology and digital skills” and that “the college makes a strong contribution to meeting skills needs.”

Not only did the Group receive an overall ‘Outstanding’ rating from Ofsted, but they achieved this rating in all categories including; The Quality of Education, Behaviour and Attitudes, Personal Development, Leadership and Management, Education Programmes for Young People, Adult Learning Programmes, Apprenticeships, Provision for Learners with High Needs and a ‘Strong’ judgement for Skills, making them the first General Further Education college to do so under the new enhanced inspection framework.

EKC Group Chief Executive Officer Graham Razey OBE said: “This Ofsted rating is a momentous occasion for us as an organisation, and we are delighted that inspectors recognised the incredible work put in by staff and students.” 

“To be deemed outstanding in all aspects highlights the excellent standard at which we operate, with everyone playing their part to provide top quality training and improve the socio-economic prosperity of the communities we serve. My thanks go to all of the staff and stakeholders who work so hard to ensure we continue to create the best learning opportunities possible for learners across East Kent” 

The full report is available to view online.