Shetland College has become only the second institute to win top recognition in an Education Scotland review.
The examination and standards body has produced a very positive report on Shetland College, following a visit last October which yielded an overall rating of ‘Effective’ for the college – the highest grading under Education Scotland’s current model for external review.
The review team talked with learners, staff at all levels in the college, members of the management board, employers, external agencies and other college users. The report highlights the college’s “many strengths”, and gives specific recognition of its “excellence in embedding employability and entrepreneurship skills in Art and Design”.
It states: “Shetland College has introduced a number of approaches to support aspiring artists
to make a living through self-employment. Shetland is a popular destination for artists due
to excellent light conditions and extensive panoramic scenic views.”
College board chairman Drew Ratter said: “This is excellent news. Our staff work hard to continually develop and improve the service we provide, and this recognition of that work is very welcome.
“It is worth emphasising again that “Effective” is the highest grade available, and that it is very unusual for any college to get “Effective” across the board. It is a tribute to all concerned, and I would like to particularly mention the work which Irene Peterson has put in since taking up post as acting principal, in achieving this”
Education Scotland examined learning and teaching and other activities that have an impact on learners.
The report picked out areas of positive practice including:
● Significant improvement of completion rates for learners on full-time FE programmes over the last three years from 63 per cent to 77 per cent and with a drop back down to 73 per cent last year.
● Improved completed successful outcome rates in art and design, business, care and nursing, are now in line with the highest performing colleges in the sector.
●Teachers plan lessons well and take good account of prior learning, ensuring that learning activities are appropriate and sufficiently challenging for individual learners.Lessons are well structured with lecturers consolidating previous learning before progressing to next topic.
●The college provides an extensive range of full-time and part-time programmes for learners across a very wide geographical area. Programmes make good use of facilities in nine learning centres across the islands and provide access for learners in remote areas.
However it also highlights a number of areas for development:
●The college does not promote equality and diversity consistently within learning and teaching or within the college environment. Sustainability does not have a sufficiently high profile in learning and teaching activities.
●Despite a clear college policy on one-to-one academic progress interviews for full-time learners, not all programme teams carry these out. Many learners are unaware of this entitlement and have not experienced individual progress interviews. As a result many learners do not set learning goals systematically or monitor progress towards them.