A college which provides education for learners with special educational needs says “plans have commenced” to move it to a Good Ofsted grade following its first inspection.

Valley College in Haslingden was inspected fully for the first time in September and was told it required improvement.

While behaviour and attitudes and personal development were rated as good by inspectors, other areas such as quality of education, leadership and management, and provision for learners with high needs, need improvement.

The college, which opened in 2019, is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Sea View Trust and provides education and support for young people aged 18-25 with severe learning difficulties, moderate learning difficulties, and/or autism spectrum disorder.

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Inspectors noted that learners enjoyed their time at the college and value the support they are given from staff.

As well, learners said they are confident their pathway is preparing them for what they want to do next.

However, inspectors said leaders and managers have not designed a “sufficiently ambitious” range of curriculums and sequencing of learning does not always consider the wide range of learners’ abilities.

One example given by inspectors was learners on entry level 1 programmes are taught about weeding the garden by looking at written guidance, though many learners in the group are not able to read so cannot fully understand and follow the activity.

The report did note the majority of tutors are new to teaching and the college, meaning they do not have sufficient specialist teaching experience or training to meet the wide variety of needs.

There was praise for the directors, who were said to have “significantly improved” the challenge they give to college leaders, and they have been working “diligently” to develop employment opportunities, community links, and to raise the profile of the college.

A spokesperson for Valley College said: “This was the first graded inspection for Valley College and took place two weeks into a new academic year.

"At the time of this inspection, a third of the learner population were new to college and two tutors were new in post.

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“During the inspection, inspectors gathered feedback from advocates and learners, and the inspectors shared that this feedback was exceptionally positive.

"We are immensely pleased that our stakeholders believe the educational offer at Valley College meets their needs.

“You will see from the report that the overall grading for Valley College is ‘Requires Improvement’, however, personal development and behaviour and attitudes are graded as Good.

“Our ‘move to good’ plans have commenced, and we look forward to Ofsted carrying out a ‘monitoring visit’ within seven to 13 months, so that we can showcase progress made towards the four areas identified for improvement.”