A YORK college has been given a clean bill of health by Ofsted.

The educational watchdog has graded Askham Bryan College on the outsikirts of the city as ‘good’ overall, with inspectors praising the specialist land-based college for its strong relationships with councils, employers and industry organisations, and its strong contribution to meeting skills needs.

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Leaders and managers, the report notes, review the curriculum frequently to keep it in line with industry standards and the needs of students, apprentices and employers.

Teachers are suitably qualified with relevant industry experience. They use their knowledge well to ensure that students and apprentices are taught relevant and up-to-date techniques.

The report highlights the college has significantly invested in digital resources to meet sector needs including a robotic milking machine, drone technology and virtual reality design suites.

Students and apprentices settle well into college life and have considerable opportunities to take part in competitions, social action projects and sporting events. The report also notes that the arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Inspectors said that college leaders ensure that most teachers have manageable workloads and feel well supported, while teachers state that leaders and managers recognise the challenges associated with staffing gaps and the introduction of new systems, including the recently introduced online portfolio, and support them well while trying to alleviate pressure through recruiting to fill gaps in staffing. However, a few teachers continue to have challenging workloads.

Chief executive officer and principal, Tim Whitaker, said: “We are proud of our students, apprentices and staff.

“At Askham Bryan College, we aim to provide a high quality and industry relevant technical and professional curriculum that enhances our learners’ skills and career prospects and meets employers’ needs.

“The Ofsted report provides a strong endorsement of that and is testament to our fantastic staff who are committed to ensuring that all of our learners achieve their potential.”

At the York campus facilities include Askham Bryan Wildlife and Conservation Park, a farm, equestrian centre, stables, dairy unit, sports centres, engineering workshops and residential accommodation.

And the college also has four other sites at Gateshead, Middlesbrough, Saltaire and Wakefield.

The Middlesbrough Campus specialises in equine, animal management and land and horticulture courses, and is based in Stewart Park which has 140 acres of parkland.

The Gateshead site in Tyne and Wear trains veterinary nursing students. At the Saltaire and Wakefield sites in West Yorkshire, students study animal management.

This year, the college is celebrating its 75th anniversary of providing land-based education and training.