University College Birmingham Ofsted Report

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University College Birmingham Ofsted Report

Information about the provider

  1. University College Birmingham (UCB) is a specialist Higher Education Institution (HEI) offering vocational education, training and development to mainly the hospitality and catering, tourism, sport and leisure, hair and beauty, and early years and care sectors. UCB is based in the centre of Birmingham and delivers training to further education (FE) students from foundation to advanced level. Approximately 40% of all UCB students are enrolled onto FE programmes.
  2. Following the previous Ofsted inspection in 2004, UCB has changed its name from Birmingham College of Food, Tourism and Creative Studies, gained university college status and been awarded Beacon status. UCB is funded by the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) for its FE provision.
  3. Birmingham is classified as an area with levels of deprivation which are significantly higher than the national average. In 2009/10, 62% of

Birmingham’s population classified themselves as white. At the time of the inspection, 55% of students were white. Qualification levels for Birmingham residents are lower than the national average.

  1. UCB’s mission is ‘To promote and provide the opportunity for participation in the learning process by those with the ambition and commitment to succeed and to maintain a learning community that meets the diverse needs of our students, the economy and society at large.
  2. This scope of the inspection focused on most of the FE provision offered. The area not in scope was teacher assistant learning support.
  3. UCB provides training on behalf of the following provider:
    • Bournville College
  1. The following organisation provides training on behalf of UCB:
    • Barford School

Inspection report: University College Birmingham, 10 February 2012 2 of 20

Type of provision Number of enrolled learners in
Provision for young learners: 179 part-time learners
Further education (16 to18)
1,212 full-time learners
Provision for adult learners: 342 full-time learners
Further education (19+)
843 part-time learners

Inspection report: University College Birmingham, 10 February 2012 3 of 20

Summary report

Grades: 1 is outstanding; 2 is good; 3 is satisfactory; 4 is inadequate

Overall effectiveness of provision Grade 1
Capacity to improve Grade 1
Outcomes for learners 1
Quality of provision 1
Leadership and management 1
Safeguarding 1
Equality and diversity 1
Subject Areas Grade
Health, public services and care 1
Hairdressing and beauty therapy 1
Hospitality and catering 1
Leisure, travel and tourism 2


Overall effectiveness

  1. UCB’s FE provision is highly successful. Outcomes for learners are outstanding. Almost all students that remain on-programme are successful, regardless of their background, diversity or starting point. Teaching in practical sessions is extremely effective and thoroughly focused on students gaining the necessary skills to meet the challenges of their chosen vocation. This is effectively complemented by good theory teaching. Learning resources are commensurate with high industry standards. Links with a wide range of partners are excellent at meeting the needs of students and employers who are particularly proud to be associated with the college.
  2. FE students at UCB benefit from exceptional care, guidance, and academic and personal support. Staff are absolutely focused on enabling students to achieve their full potential in a very safe and harmonious learning environment.

Leadership and management are outstanding. Staff at all levels collectively and resolutely work to deliver outstanding results and to be an integral part of the industries they serve, whether locally, nationally and beyond. Quality

Inspection report: University College Birmingham, 10 February 2012 4 of 20

improvement is characterised by a ‘just do it’ approach and supported well by excellent financial resources.

Main findings

  • Overall, success rates are well above the national average. Pass rates are very high and retention rates are at least satisfactory and improving. Success rates for adults, foundation 16-18 year old students and apprentices are significantly above national average and, for intermediate 16-18 year old students, success rates are in line with the national average.
  • The development of students’ personal, social and vocational skills is exceptional. Students work to high industry standards and employers actively source UCB students to fill vacancies. Overall, a significant number of students with low entry qualifications make excellent progress, and progression onto further training and employment is very high. UCB students are very successful in national and international competitions.
  • Teaching and learning are outstanding. The quality of most students’ learning experiences is inspirational and characterised by effective planning. Teachers build up trust well with their students so that students are extremely well-motivated and eager to learn. Teachers are exceptionally good at sharing their professional expertise, raising expectations, setting ambitious targets and ensuring that students gain confidence, and develop outstanding employability skills.
  • UCB’s specialist vocational provision is outstanding in meeting the needs of students and employers and the local community. It provides an impressive and broad range of specialist courses from foundation to degree level to meet the needs of all students. Excellent enrichment activities further enhance students’ skills. Students benefit from a vast array of excellent work placement opportunities. Employer support to develop provision is particularly strong.
  • Employers’ and partner involvement is exceptionally strong and leads to demonstrable benefits to the students’ learning experience. Their skills and knowledge are further enhanced by superb employer-led master classes, technical and product demonstrations, wide-ranging visits and trips, and particularly successful participation in high profile local and national competitions.
  • Care, guidance and support for students are outstanding. UCB offers exceptional support to enable students of all abilities to benefit from it’s provision. Initial advice and guidance are outstanding and multi-faceted with the result that students make well informed decisions. Many students exceed their expectations.
  • Leadership and management are outstanding. The college delivers it’s mission for FE provision admirably. Managers have a clear vision which is enthusiastically supported by staff, students and employers and an embedded culture of continuous improvement and high expectations. FE students benefit from outstanding resources, expert tutors and excellent support, which raises their aspirations and leads to a high proportion progressing to higher education.

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