'Excellent' College Opens Up to Share Secrets of Its Success; Education Wales Wrexham's Coleg Cambria Turned Heads after Netting a Rare 'Double Excellent' Inspection Report. but What Sets It Apart from Its Rivals? Principal David Jones, Who Will Share the Secrets of the College's Success at a Conference Next Week, Explains

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), May 19, 2016 | Go to article overview

'Excellent' College Opens Up to Share Secrets of Its Success; Education Wales Wrexham's Coleg Cambria Turned Heads after Netting a Rare 'Double Excellent' Inspection Report. but What Sets It Apart from Its Rivals? Principal David Jones, Who Will Share the Secrets of the College's Success at a Conference Next Week, Explains


ON WEDNESDAY, May 25 we will be welcoming colleges and training providers from across the UK to a best practice conference at Coleg Cambria.

Our "Journey to Excellence" is an opportunity to share with others our experience of very successfully bringing four colleges together through three mergers to create Coleg Cambria.

This demonstrable success, achieved in less than three years, is evidenced by a wide range of indicators, notably currently Wales' best Estyn inspection outcomes, with a rare "double excellent" for current performance and prospects for improvement, and with 12 excellents overall.

Wales is fortunate to have a long track record of success in further education (FE), with many of its colleges' success and achievements having been regularly recognised at a UK level over the past 20 years of independence from local authority control.

What has also happened during post-incorporation period is that the number of institutions has halved to the current 14 FE institutions (I wonder if this would have happened if we were still part of local education authorities?).

So has this period of transformation signalled narrower choice, lower standards or other worsening of the services provided? As much as change brings challenges, I believe it has been good and there is the potential for FE to improve right across Wales.

We have proved this in North-East Wales. Spread across the old county of Clwyd, and straddling the border with England, Coleg Cambria was in August 2013 one of the most recent to conclude its mergers, but in November 2015 was the first of the largest and multi-merged colleges to be inspected by Estyn.

Our conference is about learning from the inspection as well as from our journey to create Coleg Cambria.

It is also about sharing and forging new associations with the delegates, many of whom are similarly highperforming.

So what were the reasons for such unprecedented inspection success for a new, large, complex college? In terms of what we have achieved and were doing, Estyn inspectors recognised the college's current performance as excellent because: | Success rates for substantial courses are excellent and place the college in the top quartile of all colleges in Wales; | Around three-quarters of learning areas are in the top two quartiles compared with those in other colleges in Wales; | Success rates for all courses and substantial courses show an upward trend over the last three years; | Many learners progress well in n classes; | Most learners set their own learning targets and improve their literacy skills very effectively; | Most learners use technology very effectively to support and enhance their learning at the college; | Nearly all learners feel very safe and secure at the college; | Learner behaviour around the college is exemplary. …

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'Excellent' College Opens Up to Share Secrets of Its Success; Education Wales Wrexham's Coleg Cambria Turned Heads after Netting a Rare 'Double Excellent' Inspection Report. but What Sets It Apart from Its Rivals? Principal David Jones, Who Will Share the Secrets of the College's Success at a Conference Next Week, Explains
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