South Devon College


Name South Devon College
Website http://www.southdevon.ac.uk
Ofsted Inspection Rating Good
Inspection Date 31 October 2017
Address Vantage Point, Long Road, Paignton, Devon, TQ4 7EJ
Phone Number 01803540540
Type General Further Education and Tertiary
Age Range 14-99
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils Unknown
Local Authority Torbay
Catchment Area Information Available No
Last Distance Offered Information Available No

Information about the provider

South Devon College is a large general further education college which mostly serves the communities of Torbay and neighbouring areas of Teignbridge and South Hams. Most learners attend the college’s main site in Paignton, with others attending centres in Newton Abbot, Torquay, Heathfield and Noss on Dart. A very large proportion of apprentices are employed in companies in South Devon. Most of the college’s funding for further education provision is for 16 to 19 study programmes, with approximately nine out of 10 16- to 18-year-olds on vocational courses. Adult provision and apprenticeships account for approximately a third of the funding the college receives. The college provides full-time and part-time education for learners aged 14 to 16 through the South Devon High School, which is located on its site in Paignton. The Torbay area has areas of deprivation characteristic of many coastal communities. The percentage of children in low-income families is higher than the average for England, and average earnings are low. A low proportion of people are employed in professional occupations and a relatively high proportion are employed in low-skilled jobs. A high proportion of 16-year-olds, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds, achieve high grades in GCSE English and mathematics (‘high grades’ refers to grades A* to C, or grades 9 to 4 for GCSEs in English and mathematics taken in 2017). The proportion of people in work in the area is high, with a relatively high proportion of self-employed workers.

Summary of key findings

This is a good provider College leaders have implemented a mission for the college that focuses closely on the needs of the local community. This mission is at the heart of the college’s curriculum and all its strategies. Very effective partnerships with stakeholders, including employers, shape the college’s strategies, curriculum and resources that prepare learners well for employment in the local area. College leaders have very effectively engaged with employers to ensure that the college offers a wide range of high-quality work-experience placements and work-related learning. Teachers use their industrial experience and industry-standard resources well to develop learners’ vocational skills and competences. Teachers deliver effective training for learners through which learners develop a deep understanding of the `Prevent’ duty and how to keep themselves safe, including when online. Managers have developed an extensive programme of activities which enriches learners’ time at the college by providing them with opportunities to pursue interests and take part in competitions and work-related activities locally, nationally and internationally. College leaders have a strong and successful focus on progressing learners into higher education, which raises learners’ aspirations to move on to higher level courses. Learners demonstrate high standards of behaviour, professionalism and readiness to progress into employment. However, their attendance at lessons is too low. College leaders do not take action quickly enough to prevent weaknesses, such as in learners’ attendance and some declining qualification outcomes, and so having a negative effect on learners’ progress. The proportion of learners who achieve functional skills qualifications is low and has fallen over the previous four years. The proportion of apprentices who complete their apprenticeship has also fallen over the previous four years. However, of those who complete their apprenticeship, a high proportion do so by their planned end date. Learners aged 16 to 19 on level 3 vocational study programmes do not achieve the grades of which they are capable. Not all teachers have high enough expectations that their learners, particularly the most able, can complete challenging work, including in the provision for 14- to 16-year-olds.