A once failing North East college has turned its fortunes around after shifting its focus to more vocational qualifications.
Tyne Metropolitan College, which caters for more than 12,500 students from across the region, has been rated good across all areas by education watchdog Ofsted in its most recent inspection.
Back in 2009 the North Tyneside college, which incorporates Queen Alexandra Sixth Form College, was criticised for its struggling management, finances and poor academic results.
Troubles began at the college, which has bases in North Shields Wallsend and Benton, in 2008 when it received a damning Ofsted report.
Although the college was graded overall as “satisfactory”, Government inspectors said its capacity to improve was “inadequate”.
This time, with its rising academic standards, the college wowed inspectors with its focus on forging partnerships with high profile engineering companies such as Siemens and Rolls-Royce which has opened up work placement and job opportunities for students. These collaborations are further endorsed by the college’s accreditations, including science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) assured status gained in 2012.
Inspectors also recognised the college’s continued journey towards an outstanding grading, with clear improvements in teaching and learning since the last inspection.
They stated that the college has been successful in ensuring students make good progress with their learning whilst improving vocational, personal, social and employability skills well.
Inspectors commented that all students benefit from very effective support in and out of lessons and could clearly see the promotion of high ambition and aspiration for all staff and students.
Principal Jon Vincent said: “This report is a fitting end to a year of awards and accolades for our students and staff. Among an array of very positive comments in the report, we were particularly delighted that the inspectors recognised the high quality of guidance and support that is provided to our students and that they recognised the wide range of activities and programmes designed to meet the needs of local business and the community.
“This is testament to the efforts of the team across the college to continuously improve and create for our students and local community a centre of excellence to support the local economy and their aspirations.”
Chair of governors, Bill Midgley said: “In awarding this grade, Ofsted are confirming that not only are TyneMet students performing exceptionally well, but that our teachers and staff are delivering excellent learning and support that propels our students in their careers, into jobs or onto higher education courses such as degrees.
“We want to give Tyneside’s people and employers access to an exceptional college experience, improving the aspirations, better skills provision, opportunities and economic prospects for all.”