Greater Brighton Metropolitan College

About Greater Brighton Metropolitan College Browse Features

Greater Brighton Metropolitan College

Name Greater Brighton Metropolitan College
Ofsted Inspection Rating Requires improvement
Inspection Date 08 October 2019
Address Littlehampton Road, Worthing, West Sussex, BN12 6NU
Phone Number 01273667788
Type General Further Education and Tertiary
Age Range 16-99
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils Unknown
Local Authority West Sussex
Catchment Area Information Available No
Last Distance Offered Information Available No

Information about this provider

Greater Brighton Metropolitan College (GBMC) is a large general further education college serving the towns of Brighton, Shoreham-by-Sea and Worthing. It was formed in March 2017 by the merger of City College Brighton and Northbrook College. The college has around 3,000 learners aged 16 to 18, around 2,500 adult learners and 1,500 apprentices. Eighty-nine learners are in receipt of high needs funding. Courses are offered from entry level to degree level in most subject areas. A range of full and part-time courses is offered in most subjects. The college has five sites: two in Brighton, two in Worthing and one in Shoreham. A new centre for construction training was opened recently to meet local demand for these skills. College leaders work with five subcontractors for apprenticeship and adult learning courses.

What is it like to be a learner with this provider?

Students and apprentices at GBMC study across five sites, and in a wide range of employers’ premises. They experience a very different quality of college life depending on where and what they study and the qualifications they take.

Most adult students experience well-taught courses. This helps them to develop a wide range of new skills that improve their everyday lives and help them to get jobs or move on to higher levels of learning.

Apprentices do not experience consistently high-quality teaching and training. On too many apprenticeships, staff do not recognise properly what skills and knowledge apprentices already have. Their assessors do not make sure they complete their training on time.

Students with high needs get very good support that develops the personal and social skills they need to become more independent. Those on courses at levels 2 and 3 do not get as much help as they need with their academic work.

Most students aged 16 to 18 on courses at level 3 do very well at the college. Their teachers use their industry and teaching skills effectively. Students develop the skills they need to get jobs or go to university. Not enough students at levels 1 and 2 get the same good opportunities.

What does the provider do well and what does it need to do better?

Governors, leaders and managers have not identified weaknesses accurately or acted quickly enough to improve the quality of education, particularly for apprentices. Too few assessors plan and organise apprentices’ learning programmes in ways that help them develop new knowledge and skills quickly. Too often, assessors do not link apprentices’ college training with what they are learning or doing at work. As a result, too few apprentices achieve their qualifications, or they leave before the end of their course.

Where apprentices experience better teaching and training, they quickly develop new skills. Their assessors link on- and off-the-job training effectively. For example, plumbing apprentices are able to solve a complex pipe-installation problem by applying recent learning from college about using flexible joints. Employers value the new knowledge and skills which apprentices bring to their businesses. One employer said that apprentices are the key to developing new staff and the business.

Teachers of courses for students aged 16 to 18 at levels 1 and 2 have planned a logical sequence to what they are going to teach across the course, but they do not teach each lesson with the same skill and logic. They do not present information clearly. They use assessment as a method of checking that students have met the requirements of the qualification. They do not use assessment to plan the next stage of teaching or help check learning. Students who have not mastered keyconcepts or skills are expected to move on before their understanding is secure.

In subjects such as visual arts and catering teachers help students to secure the knowledge, skills and key concepts they need for future learning or employment. Teachers use methods such as demonstrations and repetition to build on previous learning and check knowledge and skills. They adapt their teaching to make sure that the most able students have sufficiently demanding work, and support those that need extra help.

Teachers have high expectations of their students, especially in the quality and standard of the work they produce. Teachers use their industry expertise well to demonstrate and reinforce high professional standards. As a result, students produce good-quality written and practical work. They use technical language accurately and frequently, and they develop pride in their work.

Too many students’ attendance is irregular, and consequently not all achieve the standards their teachers expect.

Too few students get the opportunity to develop their practical skills, and skills for work by participating in high-quality, external work-experience placements.

Leaders and managers have designed a curriculum that meets the needs of local people and businesses. In several subjects, such as visual arts and motor vehicle engineering, staff involve employers in the courses. For example, motor vehicle employers give mock interviews to students to help them prepare for job interviews when they finish their courses. Students receive good-quality careers guidance. This results in a high proportion of students getting jobs in the industries for which they have trained.

Leaders and managers have devised a wide-range of training designed to help teachers to get better at their jobs. However, they have not made sure that the teachers who do need to get better at teaching have attended and learned from the relevant sessions on offer.

Students who attend the college’s ‘Gateway’ entry-level provision, many of whom have high needs, benefit from very good support and teaching. Teachers in this area have high aspirations for their students. They use their detailed knowledge of individuals to create challenging goals for them. Students’ work is of a good standard, because their teachers give them helpful feedback on what they do well and what they need to do better. Most students who attend the ‘Gateway’ provision achieve their qualifications and move on to positive destinations, such as employment, further learning or leading more independent lives.

Students with high needs who are on study programmes at levels 2 and 3 do not get enough help from their teachers to improve their knowledge and skills. Teachers do not adapt their teaching and assessment successfully to help them make good progress.Adult learners benefit from a broad range of courses that managers have devised inconjunction with local employers and community groups. These are in subjects where demand is high locally, such as construction, health and social care, and bookkeeping. Managers have added new courses to existing subjects in response to employer demand and consumer trends. For example, in hairdressing and beauty therapy, managers have organised new courses in micro-blading, intimate waxing and barbering.

Teachers of most vocational adult learning courses use practical demonstrations, deliberate repetition of tasks and well-timed assessment to make sure learners develop and then master technical skills. On access to higher education programmes, teachers structure the curriculum so that students gain study skills at the beginning of the course. As a result, students write evaluatively and use appropriate academic referencing throughout their courses.

In a few subjects, such as accountancy, teachers stick too rigidly to the qualification specification and do not adapt their teaching to make learning relevant to their students. For example, in accountancy, students wanted to know more about the software applications their employers use at work, but tutors had not discussed this or planned to meet this need.

Students and adult learners benefit from a carefully considered tutorial programme and a wide range of social and cultural events. From this they learn how high a priority college staff place on mental health and well-being. Students exemplify British values at college and in their daily lives.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Staff work diligently to make sure that the college is a safe and welcoming environment for students and apprentices. Staff understand the local safeguarding challenges, such as county lines and mental health, that students and apprentices face. Staff are confident to support students who disclose concerns. They make sure that these students receive help as quickly as possible from external agencies, such as those for housing or mental health. Leaders and managers carry out suitable employment checks on new staff.

What does the provider need to do to improve?

Make sure that teachers who are identified as needing further training participate in this and implement what they have learned in their teaching, especially those teaching level 1 and 2 students. Use the good practice that already exists in the college, such as in visual arts, to help all teachers improve. . Train teachers, especially those who teach students at levels 2 and 3, to develop the skills necessary to support students with high needs on their courses. . Increase the attendance rates of 16- to 18-year-old students by investigating why they do not attend their lessons frequently. Use individual strategies to helpstudents who face barriers to attending frequently to overcome these. . Increase the numbers of 16- to 18-year-old students who take part in meaningful, external work experience placements. . Improve the proportion of apprentices who achieve their qualifications by making sure that assessors work more closely with employers, and make sure all apprentices complete their learning in the planned timescale. . Make sure that governors understand fully the performance of the different areas in the college, so they can better support leaders to make improvements more rapidly.