One year on from our ‘Good’ Ofsted rating

It’s been a whole year since RNN Group was rated as ‘Good’ by Ofsted. So, let’s look at how we’ve continued to improve our education offering over the last 12 months.

Gold and silver ratings

As well as the Ofsted rating, 2023 also saw RNN Group awarded two additional prestigious accreditations.

In September, we received a silver rating from the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF). This was for the quality and standard of our higher education provision, which covers things like HNCs and HNDs, foundation degrees, and bachelor’s degrees across our four sites.

The TEF rating is independently assessed, government stamped and based on seven core metrics relating to teaching, support and employment progression. We are one of only 15 learning providers in the UK to have this status, with just one other in the north east region.

Then in December, our accounting and business department received gold approved learning partner status from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). The department met all 12 performance targets that cover areas such as student expectations, student experience and continuous improvement.

Both accreditations give us a competitive edge within the region, demonstrating the high quality of learning that prospective students can expect at RNN Group.

New facilities

The students at RNN Group benefit from excellent facilities across our four campuses: Rotherham College, North Notts College, Dearne Valley College and University Centre Rotherham.

But over the last 12 months, we have built on our offering with the launch of even more high quality facilities for learners to use.

In March, the state-of-the-art Bridge Skills Hub was officially opened at Worksop. Through North Notts College, we were the first learning provider based at the hub and deliver a variety of higher education courses, mainly for health and social care professions.

And earlier this month, Dearne Valley College opened two new centres to enable them to expand their higher technical qualifications offering. The new health suite and animal management centre are now being used by students from our health and science and animal care departments.

But that’s not all. In September, another two new centres will open ready for the start of the 2024-25 academic year. There will be a new construction centre at Rotherham College, and a dedicated T Level facility at North Notts College, both of which have been made possible thanks to funding from the Department of Education.

New courses and academies

In the Ofsted report, it was noted that ‘The curriculum is well considered and ambitious in offering a wide range of progression pathways from entry level to level 6, enabling learners and apprentices to progress to further study, training or employment.’

We focus solely on vocational courses that equip our students with work-ready skills needed for a fulfilling career in their chosen industry. Across our four campuses, our courses range from subjects like engineering and construction to art and fashion, sport and public services to hair and beauty.

In 2023, we launched two new courses that have really taken off with students.

The first was a BTEC in aviation operations where students have access to our exclusive flight school and working airfield. This has been an extremely exciting development here at RNN Group, enabling students with a brand-new opportunity to see their career dreams take flight.

The second is the new RNN Golf Academy in partnership with Rotherham-based Peter Cowen Golf Academy. Students who have joined the academy benefit from sessions with PGA coaches, Top Tracer range technology, performance reviews, and entry into junior competitions.

As well as these two specific courses, September 2023 also saw the launch of the new T Level and HTQ qualifications here at RNN Group.

Extra-curricular opportunities

Being an RNN learner isn’t just about being in the classroom studying. Our students have access to a range of enrichment opportunities throughout the year to enhance their college experience.

Over the last 12 months, some of the extra-curricular opportunities have included:

In 2023, we launched a new initiative to deliver free lunchtime webinars. These were really successful and there are more planned for the forthcoming weeks. On Tuesday 6th February it will be about apprenticeships, Tuesday 5th March will be about HTQs, and Thursday 7th March will be about T Levels.

New links with the community

As well as supporting students, RNN Group is a key player within the South Yorkshire and North Nottinghamshire communities.

In 2023, we strengthened those links in various ways.

In February, we launched a schools partnership programme with six secondary schools in our area: Retford Oaks, Rawmarsh, Swinton, Thrybergh, Wickersley, and Wingfield. These schools will in effect become feeder schools, with students guaranteed a place at an RNN college. Throughout the year, students from these schools are given taster days, VIP tours, and golden ticket invites for our open events.

We also joined the South Yorkshire Colleges Partnership, a collective group of eight learning providers in the South Yorkshire Combined Mayoral Authority. By joining forces, we aim to achieve our region’s inclusive growth aspirations, boost skills of the regional workforces, and enhance opportunities for all.

In August, we opened commercial office spaces at both the Dearne Valley College and University Centre Rotherham Campuses. Business Centre Rotherham (BCR) and 7 Enterprise Way are now available to hire for short or long-term leases by the business community.

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