HMI glowing report ‘is feather in our cap’

0111026 SSFF stock asc 'stock photo Kirkcaldy - adam smith college, kirkcaldy
0111026 SSFF stock asc 'stock photo Kirkcaldy - adam smith college, kirkcaldy

FIFE’s Adam Smith College has come top of the class in a recent inspection by educational standards watchdogs.

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Education carried out an in-depth review of the college in January and their glowing report has just been published.

It says the examiners found examples of excellence and sector-leading practice, and has been welcomed by the Principal, Dr. Craig Thomson.

He said: “This is a great result. This puts us at the top of the pile. I am absolutely delighted with the report. It is a real feather in the cap of the college.”

The report by the external review team, which talked with learners, staff, members of the Board of Governors, employers, external agencies and other users of the college, says that learners are progressing well and achieving relevant, high quality outcomes.

They also found the college to have high quality learning and teaching processes; that learners were actively engaged in their own learning and the life of the college and that the college is well led.

In a long list of strengths identified in the report, the Inspectors praise the relevant and responsive curriculum developed through effective engagement with employers, schools and other stakeholders.

Key driver

Dr. Thomson said this was key to the success of the college. He commented: “We now offer courses from entry level to degree level, and that is a really important driver in the Fife economy.

‘‘It isn’t just about degrees - it is about the value of our courses from HNC onwards and the skills and knowledge they give.

“We want to make sure the range of courses we offer and the range of qualifications we can offer help to drive the local economy.”

The report goes on to praise the ‘enthusiastic and knowledgeable teaching staff, while the principal is singled out for his ‘effective and considered leadership’.

The senior management team are lauded for their clear direction for learning and teaching and to improving the overall retention and attainment rates.

This, however, was the only point on which the Inspectors took issue, and it has recommended that the college should improve retention rates on programmes where they are low.

Dr. Thomson said: “This report comes at a time when we are carrying out a major review of the courses and services we provide.

‘‘In planning for the future, the college is working to ensure that all courses embrace the latest learning and teaching methodology.”