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Waltham Forest College has been rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted following its most recent inspection and has distinguished itself as one of only 15 General Further Education Colleges across the country to achieve the prestigious ‘Outstanding’ rating.

A team of twelve inspectors carried out a rigorous full enhanced skills inspection reviewing all areas of the College. They spoke to students, parents, employers and stakeholders and assessed the performance and quality of provision throughout.

The inspection team highly praised the quality of teaching at the College and stated that “learners and apprentices flourish in an environment where they experience excellent teaching and training” and that “learners with high needs have life-changing experiences at the College”.  

Ofsted Outstanding 2

The agile and responsive curriculum developed in partnership with employers and key stakeholders was found to strongly meet local, regional and national skills needs.  As an Anchor Institution within the region, Waltham Forest College serves its local and regional communities across North and East London exceptionally well and has been successful in driving aspiration and achievements for its students and wider communities.


The report highlighted “senior leaders, governors and staff have very high ambitions for learners. They passionately promote a culture in which learners are challenged, motivated and supported to achieve. Staff and learners are equally committed to push themselves and strive to aim high”.

Waltham Forest College has embarked on a significant journey of improvement and development under a strong leadership team that has focused on an inclusive, empowering, and aspirational culture in the College and expectations are high for staff and students. This has led to rapid improvements to the experience of learners and apprentices at the College, enabling them to progress to higher level technical training, Higher Education, and good careers.

In the report, inspectors commented “senior leaders and governors provide exceptional leadership and management to widen participation. They work tirelessly to ensure learners and apprentices, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, receive consistently high-quality teaching and training”.

Janet Gardner, Principal and CEO of Waltham Forest College said: “I am delighted Ofsted has recognised the exceptional student experience at Waltham Forest College and how this transforms the lives of thousands of students each year.  The whole staff team work relentlessly in their drive to support our students and ensure they achieve the very best outcomes to progress.  The strong collaborations with employers, partners and stakeholders further supports the overall experience and ensures the College continues to meet local, regional, and national skills’ needs”.     

The enhanced inspection judges the College’s relationship with employers, as well as teaching and learning.  

Waltham Forest College received ‘Strong’ praise for its work in meeting skills needs, with the inspection team stating “Senior leaders play a crucial role as members of local, regional, and national skills forums. They have a significant impact in shaping the policies related to skills needs. Leaders engage exceptionally well with a broad range of stakeholders such as employer representative bodies, sub-regional partners, local authorities, and funding authorities. They work collaboratively with the Greater London Authority and other local further education providers to plan courses carefully that provide a rich choice for learners across Waltham Forest”.

As evidenced in its ‘Outstanding’ grade, Waltham Forest College delivers excellent educational outcomes, with results in the top performing 3% of General Further Education colleges nationwide. Yet it is the wider achievements that are really impressive; in the last few years it has been awarded the Mayor of London’s quality kitemark for six areas of provision and has been designated as a World Skills national training centre for excellence, while also gaining organisation-wide matrix accreditation and becoming the first college in London to gain status as a Good Work Employer, demonstrating its commitment as an exemplary employer to its workforce.  The culmination of this ongoing drive for excellence has been recognised by Ofsted in its ‘Outstanding’ rating.

Click here to view the full report

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