South Devon College

Inspiring our community through learning for all

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Ofsted Outstanding

South Devon College is officially outstanding!

South Devon College celebrated a remarkable transformation after recently enjoying a truly ‘outstanding’ inspection result following a rigorous investigation by Ofsted - the Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills.  It was decreed by Ofsted that South Devon College’s quality of provision is ‘Outstanding.’

The Inspectors found that the areas investigated were ‘Outstanding’, including:

  • Effectiveness of provision
  • Capacity to improve
  • Achievement and standards
  • Quality of provision
  • Leadership and management
  • Equality of opportunities
  • Guidance and support

...and a variety of approaches to inclusion so that all at South Devon College can achieve. This is a ringing endorsement of the college mission – ‘Inspiring our community through learning for all.’

It caps a remarkable turnaround for South Devon College. In March 2002 it had an overall unsatisfactory inspection. The new leadership team focused on teaching and learning, supported by staff, governors, employers and the community and this meant that within three years, Ofsted rated the college as ‘Good’. But this was not enough for an ambitious college.  They were aiming for ‘Outstanding’.A new campus was designed to create a dynamic atmosphere where people achieve. Ofsted commented on the ‘university’ style, making it an ideal place for young people and adults to study at a campus that prepares them for university. Ofsted commented that the campus design is ‘imaginative and engenders a sense of pride and promotes a highly purposeful atmosphere. Specialist equipment and resources are of a very high quality’.

As former South Devon College Principal Heather Maxwell OBE said:

 “This is a fantastic result – and a tribute to the efforts of all our staff supported by our governors and the community we serve. Everyone here has worked incredibly hard to achieve such an excellent result and I am delighted that Ofsted has judged our work to be ‘Outstanding.’

At SouthDevonCollege we are ambitious for our learners, our staff and the people of South Devon. We continuously strive for perfection, which for us is achieved through providing inspirational teaching and learning. All students are equally important and we are passionate about their success.

I would like to thank the people of South Devon for their support and encouragement over the past six and a half years. There is now within South Devon an ‘Outstanding’ college where young people can achieve their aspirations and succeed.

I am very proud of our success and proud of everyone who has contributed to it.”

 At the conclusion of the visit, Inspectors for Ofsted outlined South Devon College’s key strengths as follows:

  • High success rates
  • Highly effective use of information learning technology which enhances learning
  • Extensive curriculum range that meets the needs and interests of learners
  • Outstanding educational and social inclusion
  • Outstanding support
  • Outstanding governance, leadership and management
  • Outstanding capacity to improve
  • Outstanding equality of opportunity
  • Excellent accommodation and resources for Learning


Report highlights include:

  • Achievements and standards are outstanding.”
  • The needs and interests of learners are outstandingly met.”
  • “Guidance and support are outstanding”
  • Success rates are high for learners of all ages.
  • The breadth of provision is outstanding.
  • The overall effectiveness of the college is outstanding.
  • “Leadership and management are outstanding.”
  • Teachers plan and manage learning skilfully and effectively. Many lessons include a variety of learning activities and focus well on the learning and attainment of individuals.
  • The college readily embraces collaboration with schools. It provides successful courses for school students aged 14 to 16.
  • Enrichment activities are outstanding and take-up is high. The innovative programme involves many different national and international visits for learners as well as sporting, cultural, and charitable events. Activities are planned carefully to enable learners, including those with disabilities and part-time learners, to participate.
  • The College has a very strong commitment to equality and diversity which is reflected in their outstanding support arrangements.

South Devon High School receives highest commendation at initial inspection

Please read the full Ofsted report here

South Devon High School received a fantastic endorsement from Ofsted during its first inspection, which took place in May 2015. During a monitoring visit Ofsted reported that the High School, South Devon College's provision for direct entry for 14-16 year olds, had made 'significant' progress since launching in September 2014; the highest commendation possible during an initial inspection.

Key findings include:

  • The induction process is thorough and effective in helping pupils settle into the high school
  • Pupils benefit from skilled support staff, such as learning support assistants
  • The curriculum is broad and balanced
  • Many pupils with poor previous records of attendance, behaviour and academic attainment have responded positively to the different environment
  • All pupils have regular contact with their own personal tutor who provides good pastoral support
  • Pupils respond enthusiastically and enjoy lessons. Consequently they make good progress
  • Teachers are well prepared and make good use of the small class sizes to provide effective individual support to pupils
  • The positive relationships and trust teachers have established with pupils create a good, productive environment for learning and for building the confidence of pupils
  • Pupils make good use of daily after-school supported study sessions to supplement their studies
  • The availability of high quality learning resources, including information and communication technology, increases the pupils' motivation and capability to extend their learning

Visit South Devon High School to find out more.