'Immensely gratifying': Newham college celebrates upping Ofsted grade

Geoffrey Fowler, London Design and Engineering UTC chief executive and principal

Geoffrey Fowler, London Design and Engineering UTC chief executive and principal. - Credit: Joshua Button

A Newham technical college has upped its Ofsted grade from 'requires improvement' to 'good'.

Following an inspection in March, the education regulator has found London Design and Engineering UTC encourages pupils to "aspire to ambitious destinations", with its career advice service described as a "real strength".

The report also said bullying is "rare" and the school’s 'Learning for Life' curriculum is effectively engaging pupils on key issues including knife crime, online safety and the importance of consent.

Simon Connell is chief executive of a body supporting UTCs around the country called the Baker Dearing Educational Trust.

Simon Connell, chief executive of the Baker Dearing Educational Trust

Simon Connell, chief executive of the Baker Dearing Educational Trust - Credit: Adam Hollier

He said: “It is immensely gratifying that inspectors referenced leaders’ high expectations for pupils and the UTC’s intense focus on its pupils’ destinations, through employer-led projects and a curriculum that prepares children and young people for employment and further education.

“London Design and Engineering UTC also has strong roots in its community, as the report notes, and actively engages pupils in social issues affecting where they live – something which every UTC encourages.”

The technical college - which specialises in engineering, art, design and construction - was commended for its employer-led projects and range of extra-curricular initiatives, such as its Citizen UK society, giving pupils the opportunity to campaign over issues they care about.

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Ofsted also reviewed feedback from parents, who said the school goes the "extra mile" and described it as a "family".

The report follows a 2018 inspection that concluded the school 'requires improvement' and highlighted an inconsistent quality of teaching.

In contrast, this time Ofsted found the curriculum was well planned and prepares students for employment, higher education or apprenticeships.

The UTC's apprenticeship provision has been rated separately and is still graded 'requires improvement'. 

Educational providers can receive one of four Ofsted ratings, starting from ‘inadequate’ to ‘requires improvement’, ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’.

Simon said 70 per cent of UTCs are rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted.

He added: “Moving from a ‘requires improvement’ to a ‘good’ Ofsted rating is an impressive accomplishment and a credit to principal Geoffrey Fowler and his team.”