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Educating Norfolk: Celebrating our further education colleges

07:00 28 February 2014

Yarmouth college Ofsted report.
Principal Penny Wycherley with professional cookery course students.
Left to right.. Jemma Howlett, Charly Hadingham, Jack Burrell, James Toothill, And Becki Crocker.

Yarmouth college Ofsted report. Principal Penny Wycherley with professional cookery course students. Left to right.. Jemma Howlett, Charly Hadingham, Jack Burrell, James Toothill, And Becki Crocker.

All of Norfolk’s further education colleges are rated “good” by Ofsted, with some, like Great Yarmouth, seeing rapid improvement in recent years despite a surrounding area with significant deprivation.

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For Great Yarmouth principal Penny Wycherley, the key lessons from the sector are the importance of listening to learners and having a “clear line of sight” to what they want to achieve.

She said: “I think colleges have a very clear view of what it is they need to be doing, which is about the underpinning skills of our young people.

“The thing that underpins it all is the aspiration to support. We have a clear line of sight focused on vocational education and its various routes.”

She added: “Listen to your learners. The people who are sitting there know if they are learning. I think that is something we do very well in further education.”

She highlighted careers guidance as a key area for improvement in schools, and said: “The schools should be working with colleges and employers to do it. At the moment, most of the careers guidance happens in schools and their experience is necessarily going to be limited.”

She added that a significant development since last autumn was increased joint working by the colleges to deliver what local employers say they need, and cooperating on funding bids.

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