The Chichester College Group (CCG) is delighted to announce it has been awarded 'Outstanding' in its Ofsted inspection.
The Group, which includes Brinsbury College, Chichester College, Crawley College and Worthing College, received 'Outstanding' grades in every area of Ofsted's recently reformed inspection framework, including its apprenticeship provision.
The report was a glowing endorsement of the Group and all four colleges.
It is only the second general further education provider in England to achieve unanimous top grades since the new framework was introduced and is the largest college group to achieve 'Outstanding' in every area.
Shelagh Legrave OBE, Chief Executive of CCG, said: "We are absolutely thrilled with our 'Outstanding' Ofsted result.
"Our ambition has been to ensure our colleges provide students with the best education and training possible.
"Now, less than three years after our first merger, Ofsted has recognised us as an 'Outstanding' group of colleges in all graded areas, which is a phenomenal achievement and a true testament to the hard work, dedication and talent of all of our staff and students.
"We hope everyone connected with all of our colleges will join us in celebrating this success. We have an exciting future ahead and we remain committed to this level of excellence at all of our colleges, including Haywards Heath College which opens in September this year."
Inspectors particularly praised the Group's apprenticeship programmes, noting the collaborative relationship between the Group and employers to 'research and design appropriate courses' to ensure apprentices and students are learning industry best practice.
They also paid tribute to the 'positive impact apprentices' news skills and knowledge have on their workplace', while celebrating the excellent outcomes for apprentices, who 'frequently use their improved knowledge and skills to secure promotion.'
Julie Kapsalis, Group Managing Director (Commercial), said: "At CCG we are proud to work closely with employers, industry leaders, business forums and membership groups to improve learning opportunities across the region.
"By working in collaboration, we aim to address local and industry skills needs and to drive career aspirations by enabling young people to gain the support and training they need to thrive in their chosen careers.
"We are delighted to see this work recognised by Ofsted. It is absolutely vital for industry to continue to invest in people - including upskilling and reskilling -especially given the current challenges we all face. We look forward to continuing to strengthen our bonds with employers, locally, regionally and nationally."
This was the first full Ofsted inspection since CCG formed in 2017 and inspectors commended the way in which the leadership team managed the two mergers with Crawley College in 2017 and Worthing College in 2019, highlighting the 'strong collaborative culture between the campuses.'
It means that both Crawley College and Worthing College have improved upon their previous inspections, which were prior to the respective mergers. Crawley - inspected as Central Sussex College in October 2016 - had been judged as 'Requires Improvement', while Worthing received a 'Good' grade in February 2016.
Ofsted highlighted the dedication shown by lecturers, saying students 'cherish the passion and subject expertise of their teachers' and made special mention of the Group's provision for learners with additional needs. Career advice and guidance at the Group's colleges also received equally glowing praise from inspectors, who visited the four sites from 3-6 March 2020.
Andrew Green, Executive Principal for CCG, said:"Our report is full of praise for our staff, students, apprentices and employers. I am incredibly proud of the team - this is a phenomenal achievement by each and every one of them.
"Six years ago, Chichester and Brinsbury were both rated Outstanding by Ofsted - we always knew maintaining that standard would be one of our biggest challenges, but it was one I was always confident we would achieve.
"We've seen a period of great change and expansion, joining first with Crawley College and, more recently, Worthing College. Through it all our mission statement - to 'Change Lives Through Learning' has stood strong, embodied every day by our staff.
"They are outstanding and because of them, we - as a college group - have been officially rated as 'Outstanding'. It is an incredible feeling and something our community as a whole should be proud of."