25th Sep, 2018

Coventry University access courses 'requires improvement', says Ofsted

Felix Nobes 21st Dec, 2017

COVENTRY University’s further education courses have received a lowly ‘requires improvement’ rating from national education watchdog Ofsted.

It has fallen since the last inspection when the university attained a ‘Good’ rating in 2014.

Access courses are designed to provide access to higher education such as degree courses for those not entering through traditional routes such as A levels, notably for mature students and those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The ‘quality of teaching’, ‘outcomes for learners’ and ‘personal development’ have all been rated as ‘requires improvement’, in line with the overall rating.

Only its 16-19 study programmes were rated as ‘Good’.

Ofsted inspectors visited last month.

The total number of learners enrolled in Further Education courses with the CU group is 249 according to Ofsted.

Coventry University offers two further education programmes: the foundation diploma in art and design, and access to higher education courses.

The foundation art and design course is located within the university’s School of Art and Design building.

Coventry University has a subsidiary company, the CU Group. It offers the access to higher education diploma at the university’s locations CU Coventry and CU Scarborough.

Three quarters of all further education students are on the access programme. Both programmes are full time.

Ofsted said the university needs to improve by encouraging ‘more detailed feedback’, and boosting the quality of provision whilst enhancing teacher training.

The report states: “Senior leaders do not provide sufficient challenge for managers to ensure swift improvement to the quality of provision for students.”

It adds: “Too much teaching on the access programme does not challenge students sufficiently.

“Students are not consistently encouraged to reflect on and evaluate their learning.

“Teachers do not check learning frequently, and students do not make the progress of which they are capable.”

Ofsted also commented on Coventry University Group’s strengths, saying: “Leaders, managers and governors have a clear strategic aim of widening participation in higher education.

“As a result, an increasing number of students from disadvantaged backgrounds gain qualifications and progress to higher education.”

The judgement comes at a time when the university is marketing itself as the 12th best university in the country in the Guardian University Guide 2018.

A university spokesperson said: “We recognise the areas for improvement that Ofsted has identified within its report on the foundation diploma in art and design at Coventry University and the access to higher education course at CU Coventry.

“We continue to take steps to address these issues and are determined to provide the highest quality educational experience for our students.

“We are pleased that the Ofsted report recognised our commitment to widening access, particularly amongst those students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

“We are also satisfied that the report found the teaching on the foundation diploma in art and design to be good and the standard of students’ work to be high.

“That is testimony to the efforts of our staff, the resources available to students and the wide range of support services they are offered, which were all highlighted within the report.”

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