Stephen Criddle

I am delighted to report on a lively and successful year for South Devon College. This report outlines key areas of performance during the year 2013/14 in which South Devon College's student success was recognised as the highest of general further education and tertiary colleges across the country.

South Devon College continues to be an Ofsted "Outstanding" college committed to delivering the best for the local community. I am pleased to report that in 2013/14 the College has continued to progress new developments whilst sustaining high-flying success rates and maintaining our ethos of fully supporting individual learners across all areas of their experience.

I am immensely proud of our staff, whose expertise, enthusiasm, high standards and drive ensure an inspirational teaching environment in which young people and adults achieve their aspirations. We continue to judge our success by the success of our learners and the contribution we make to the community and are proud to receive external recognition of the level of our work. Teaching and learning is at the heart of the College and our collective culture is focused around this.

This has also been reflected in great feedback from higher education students at the College's University Centre with a final year student satisfaction score of over 88%, and also from employer feedback where we achieved a satisfaction rating increase to 8.9 on the national Further Education Choices annual survey.

Our core delivery supports learners of all ages. Over 3,000 16-18 year olds studied mainstream programmes at the College on a wide range of academic and vocational programmes. This year a record number of young people and adults studied on our successful apprenticeship programmes, with over 1,000 learners being supported in a wide range of areas, working with very small to very large, important local employers, such as Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust.

The College has continued to work closely with local school partners to support opportunities for 14-16 year olds to experience and develop their enthusiasm for vocational craft programmes in technology, care and learning, arts and leisure and other areas, whilst also helping younger learners at local schools through coaching, aspirational events and after school clubs at South Devon College.

In 2013/14 the College supported over 500 14-16 year olds, with on-site skills centre delivery at South Devon College, Torquay Academy and Dawlish Red Rock Centres, as well as provision for home tutored students. In 2014/15 we commenced recruitment of full-time 14 year old learners direct to South Devon High School.

We are committed to excellent advice and guidance for students, being accredited by Matrix at a College-wide level. It is very important that young people at age 14 have a wide range of progression opportunities and South Devon College is committed to enabling choice in this area, working with employers to introduce appropriate and high quality technical and academic pathways.

Throughout 2013/14, we continued to work with many local businesses, training more people through a range of programmes, including government sponsored initiatives. Some 3,000 people enrolled on South Devon College courses across a wide-ranging curriculum of professional courses. We also responded to re-training challenges of the present economic climate, working with Job Centre Plus and Careers South West to delivery a relevant, flexible provision for the long term unemployed.

For Adult and Community Learning, we continue to work with key partners in Torbay, including the voluntary sector, local schools and Torbay Council, supporting over 2,000 learners each year across Torbay. The College is seen as a best practice provider, adding our expertise to other initiatives locally.

The College continues to develop targeted curriculum pathways linked to employer needs in the area: the Devon Studio School in Health, Social Care and Early Years opened at Torbay Hospital in September 2013; the South West Energy Centre for new technologies and environmental technologies also opened in September 2013; and the South Devon University Technical College in Engineering & Science has commenced its £10 million build to open in September 2015 in Newton Abbot.

At higher education level, I am delighted with the continued growth of our University Centre provision with foundation degrees and full honours degrees available across a wide range of academic and professional areas. It is very important to encourage learners of all ages to aspire to higher education, available nationally and locally at very high quality.

New and continuing initiatives demonstrate the ambition that the College, employers and partners have for the local area. I look forward to significant progress in the development of new initiatives in the year ahead, adding to the substantial quality and range of resources and programmes for our community.

The commitment of staff across South Devon College to the highest standards has been recognised by the College's re-accreditation with the Investors in People (IIP) Gold/Champion kitemark, acknowledging the supportive and high expectation approach of South Devon College, as well as the impact for learners of staff expertise and commitment.

The impact of our work in terms of student success and progression is how we should be judged and I commend this report to you with a flavour of the great strides being made by South Devon College students.

We are very proud of our students' achievements and the contribution our College and its students make, and we will continue to expand and develop, responding to the needs and demands of local communities.

Stephen Criddle

South Devon College Principal
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