A COLLEGE has been rated ‘outstanding’ by the schools watchdog for its A-level and 16 to 19-year-olds education.

Hartpury College’s overall effectiveness of leadership and management, the quality of teaching, learning and assessment, and the age-group study programmes, all received the top grade from Ofsted.

Personal development, behaviour and welfare, and outcomes for students at the specialist sports and land-based college were also rated ‘outstanding’.

The inspector noted that a very large proportion of students gained or exceeded the grades they were expected to achieve, while a high proportion of students studying at level 3 progress to university, further study or into work related to the subject they studied.

Hartpury principal, Russell Marchant, said: “I am delighted that Hartpury has achieved Ofsted’s Outstanding rating.

“It is a tremendous achievement and recognition of our focus on students and all of the hard work staff and students have put in since the last inspection three years ago.

“We will continue to strive to improve outcomes for our students, achieving this recognition is part of our journey not a destination.”

Hartpury vice-principal FE Claire Whitworth said: “Staff have worked relentlessly to create a culture that provides an outstanding experience for our students.

“This enables students to not only achieve their potential in their academic qualification but also significant wider personal development and development of industry skills that provides them with a solid foundation and spring board to progress successfully into their chosen employment or university study. We are thrilled that this has been reflected in the recent Ofsted outcome.”

The Ofsted report added: “The A-Level study programme provides a very valuable route for high-performing athletes to attain academic qualifications alongside developing their sporting expertise.

“The Hartpury College certificate reinforces learners’ preparation for work and is valued highly by them. And managers and staff have excellent links with employers in land-based and sports sectors providing invaluable works placements for all students. Many students gain full or part-time jobs as a result.”

It also praised the college’s “well qualified” teachers afor using their specialist expertise to ignite and foster students’ curiosity and enthusiasm.

Students’ attendance and punctuality was excellent, and their behaviour in college, in community activities and at work placements “exemplary”, while leaders had implemented a strong culture of safety which keeps students safe in potentially high-risk situations.

In the latest Department of Education League Table, Hartpury was named the “Highest Achieving Land-Based College in the UK” for all Further Education qualifications, Level 3 Diplomas, apprenticeships, and for Maths and English GCSEs A*- C.

The college is the world’s largest equine education facility and regularly wins national titles in rugby, football, netball, rowing, golf and modern pentathlon, with its students having access to the cutting-edge sports and equestrian facilities.

It also boasts an extensive animal collection, animal science laboratories with industry standard equipment and a working farm.

To apply for a place on courses at Hartpury, which has a 360-hectare campus and runs transport for students living in the Forest of Dean, visit www.hartpury.ac.uk/college