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Abingdon & Witney College receives ‘Good’ Ofsted rating, with report praising ‘Outstanding’ features

11th Jun 2024

Abingdon & Witney College has received a ‘Good’ Ofsted rating with ‘Outstanding’ features, following an inspection in May 2024.

The recently published report reiterates the strengths of the College, previously highlighted in its 2017 inspection. The College has upheld its ‘Good’ rating for overall effectiveness and was judged to be ‘Outstanding’ for their apprenticeship provision, provision for learners with high needs, and for the behaviour and attitudes of their students. The College was further recognised for its ‘Strong’ contribution to meeting skills needs in Oxfordshire, the highest grading possible in this sub-judgement.

The full inspection took place over four days as thirteen Inspectors circulated the College’s four Oxfordshire campuses in Abingdon, Witney, Bicester and at Common Leys Farm. They assessed provision for young people, adults, apprentices, and learners with high needs. This year’s inspection also saw a ‘deep dive’ into several subject areas across the curriculum, a new feature of the inspection added since the College’s last inspection in 2017.

The report recognised and praised the College’s extraordinary learners and environment for learning, sharing: “Learners and apprentices are positive ambassadors for the college, equipped with the behaviours they need for study, work and life.” “[They] are highly motivated to succeed. They work hard in lessons and at work, take pride in their achievements.”

It reiterated the College’s contributions to and understanding of Oxfordshire’s skills needs and priorities for skill improvements:

“Leaders and managers have a clear and secure understanding of skills sector priorities and provide a relevant curriculum offer to meet these needs.” “Leaders know the needs of their local communities very well. They use their well-established partnerships with local councils, schools and community groups to offer people in Oxfordshire valuable opportunities to learn and socialise.”

And upon a closer inspection of the College’s Apprenticeship provision, which was recently announced as 2nd in England for Apprenticeship achievement rates (compared with other GFE colleges), the report detailed: “Apprentices produce work to a high standard. Their written work is detailed, and their practical skills are well honed. Apprentices achieve very well, often securing distinction grades.” “Apprentices rapidly acquire new knowledge, skills, and behaviours that employers value highly.”

Concluding, the Inspector’s report highlighted the value of the College’s ‘Outstanding’ provision for learners with high needs, to both parents and learners within the local community:

“Highly experienced staff work successfully with specialist staff to provide high-quality support and teaching for learners with high needs. They use their expertise skilfully to use carefully selected strategies to help learners with specific challenges.” “Parents value highly the support that learners receive. As a result, learners with high needs achieve very well and often outperform their peers. A high proportion move on to further learning and paid or voluntary employment.”

Following the Inspection, Jacqui Canton, Principal and CEO of Abingdon & Witney College shared:

“I am incredibly proud to share the latest findings of Abingdon & Witney College's Ofsted Inspection in May 2024, in which the College was found to be 'Good' with Outstanding Features in Apprenticeships, our Provision for Learners with High Needs, and Behaviours and Attitudes.

In the College's Strategic Plan, we share our mission statement: to nurture and empower individual students and staff to be the best they can be to improve lives, communities, and the economy through education; an ambition I am delighted to see duly recognised in the latest report.

Ofsted's findings are a well-deserved testament to the hard work and brilliant efforts of our extraordinary staff and team who strive each day to do their best for our students, and a brilliant reflection (and insight) into the infectious motivation and passion held by our students, which are all so lucky to share. To all who have helped us achieve this result, I encourage you to take a read!"

Nick Handy, Chair of the Corporation Board shared:

“As Chair of the Board I was delighted to receive the final report from Ofsted following their Inspection of Abingdon and Witney College. The Report confirmed that the College is good overall with three areas judged outstanding, as well as making a strong contribution to skills needs.

In particular, the report highlights the College’s learners and apprentices who are positive ambassadors for the College, equipped with the behaviours they need for study, work and life. The result is a fitting testament to the dedication and hard work of all staff at the College who the Report acknowledges are passionate about providing learners and communities with opportunities to ‘Be Extraordinary.’”

You can find the full Ofsted report at