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HMIe Review of Borders College June 2010 – Student Summary


HMIe Review of Borders College June 2010

Her Majesty’s Inspectors of Education expresses the highest level of confidence in the Borders College

Student Summary


HMIe Review of Borders College June 2010

HMIe Review of Borders College June 2010 Student Summary Her Majesty’s Inspectors of Education expresses the highest level of confidence in the Borders College. Introduction HMIe’s report on the quality of education at Borders College was very positive. They had very many good things to say including three areas they thought were excellent. They also highlighted a few areas where the college could do better or develop things further. This summary picks out some of the highlights for you. The main thing is that they are confident that: • • • • •

students make good progress and are achieving well the standard of learning and teaching is high students are improving their own skills for learning students are involved in the work and life of the college the college is led well and is constantly trying to improve its services to you

HM Inspectors visited Borders College in March 2010 and to help them form a view on how good Borders College is they observed lessons and held discussions with students and staff. Their review team had a student member whose job it was to chat to students to find out what they thought of the college. They also looked at the college’s results over the last three years. Their report is based on that visit, the college’s student success rates and other information they have received about the college.

Student Summary


HMIe Review of Borders College June 2010

What the college does well for students HMIe said that the Borders Business Programme is the best of its kind in Scottish colleges and it’s English for speakers of other languages and its work experience placements for Access students are excellent. 2 The Borders Business Programme is judged to be leading the way in further education because of the close collaboration between the college and Heriot-Watt University in combining the teaching and qualifications from the college and university into a single course. They also commented on how well students were progressing on this course and the successful and innovative use of learning technology. 2 The courses the college runs in English for speakers of other languages were judged to be excellent because they are so closely coordinated with Scottish Borders Council’s own courses that it is easy to for students to organise a place on these courses and to make good progress. 2 The work placements that the college organises for Access Department students are also judged to be excellent because they are available to all full time students in the department and they are very good at helping build the students’ confidence and skills for work in the future There are also many areas that the HMIe judged to be good in the college. You will need to read the whole report to see just how many there are. A few of them that are likely to be of particular interest to you are highlighted below: 2 Student success rates across most courses are high, with some very high success rates in particular subject areas. 2 Generally, students consider that the college is a welcoming, inclusive and a safe environment. They were also very satisfied with their courses and the other services provided by the college. Student Summary


HMIe Review of Borders College June 2010

2 Almost all college programmes are well designed and meet students’ needs. 2 The college‘s courses have been designed to meet the needs of students from different backgrounds. 2 Moodle (the college’s virtual learning environment) has greatly improved the variety of ways in which students can study their chosen subjects. 2 In almost all classes, students participate in learning with interest and enthusiasm, and make good progress in their studies. 2 The relationship between staff and students is good and based on mutual respect. Supportive relationships amongst the students also create a good learning experience at the college. 2 In almost all cases assessment marking gives detailed and constructive feedback. 2 The Student Association and the student president have made a significant and positive impact on the life and work of the college. 2 College staff are responsive to the views of students and are quick to implement change where it is needed. Where the college should improve HMIe said that there was only one area where the college needed to take action: 2 They want the college to improve the promotion of equality and diversity across the curriculum and each department is putting plans in place to do this now. How the College will get even better There were also a few areas that HMIe thought the college could improve further. They were also pleased to see recent changes for

Student Summary


HMIe Review of Borders College June 2010

improvement but they felt it was too early to judge whether these were having a positive effect: 2 They mentioned that despite the college making many efforts to improve student success rates there are still a few courses where they remain low. There are also a few courses where student success rates, although high, have been dropping in recent years. The college will continue to look at ways it can help all students to succeed on these courses. 2 HMIe felt that in a few lessons that they observed the lecturers’ teaching led to students being too passive. They have encouraged the college to use approaches to teaching that encourage students to get more actively involved in learning in all lessons. 2 They recognised that the college has recently undertaken a review of how core skills are delivered, and has piloted integrating them more into the course content. They welcomed this as they felt that other lessons where core skills were taught separately reduced students’ interest. 2 They felt that some PLP activities are not helpful or relevant, especially for more mature students. The college has reviewed these and given more advice to course tutors on how to use PLPs so they are better for students. The college has also introduced online PLPs so students can get access to the records and information held about them. 2 They also felt that many learners didn’t know they could ask for changes to lessons. The college is encouraging all lecturers to talk to their students about how they learn best and adapt their lessons accordingly. 2 HMIe welcomed the introduction of department councils in 2009 but felt it was too early to judge whether they were having a positive effect. They encouraged the college to improve the training for the students who chair the department councils.

Student Summary


HMIe Review of Borders College June 2010

This year the college has introduced a certificate in participative democracy to improve this training. HMIe also felt that the services provided by the Student Association need to be promoted more. 2 They noted that a major increase in demand for student funding last year had exceeded the financial resources available to support learners. This led to the college reviewing how it used student funding to purchase travel passes and look for better value for money. This is why new travel passes were introduced and as a result the college has been able to support more students this year. HMIe also felt that the college should promote the student support services more and make sure students at Hawick and Newtown could enjoy the same access to these support services. If you have any thoughts or comments that you would like to share that would help the college improve these services further you can do so commenting on one of the “You said...we did...� available on Campus. The full Borders College External Review report will give you much more detail about the HMIe findings. It is available on the web at: http://www.hmie.gov.uk/ ViewEstablishment.aspx?id=9407&type=4 The original HMIe report is Crown Copyright.

Student Summary



HMIe Review of Borders College June 2010