South West College now among UK’s elite

Malachy McAleer
Malachy McAleer

South West College is celebrating joining the educational elite after a team of education inspectors placed it in the top four best-performing colleges in the UK.

The grade one result awarded by inspectors from the Education and Training Inspectorate means that the further education college, which has campuses in Dungannon, Cookstown, Omagh and Enniskillen is the only in the North with such an accolade.

The achievement brings to three the number of outstanding achievements the college has received in this academic year.

In November 2013, the college achieved the ‘Highest Degree of Confidence in Higher Education’ as a result of a QAA Inspection, and in January the college achieved the ETI “Highest Degree of Confidence” in Quality & Improvement Planning for the third consecutive year in a row.

The most recent ETI inspection recommended that four specific areas should be disseminated across the sector as good practice.

Mr Malachy McAleer, Director of South West College said; “I am so proud of our staff and students.”

“ The Inspectorate was enthralled by the warmth, commitment and professionalism of staff; and by the decorum, manners and friendliness of our students”.

He added that the final report will be a ‘delight to read’, but some key highlights include;

“Over 95% of student satisfaction rating across a range of indicators – from a sample of 1000 students; The performances of staff and students on each of the five campuses – Cookstown, Dungannon, Fairview, Killyhevlin and Omagh – were equally outstanding; and the fact that the Inspectorate acknowledged the obvious staff emphasis on College values and how they impacted on daily life”.

Joe Martin, Chairman SWC Board of Governors said; “On behalf of the Governing Body, I wish to extend my warmest congratulations to all college staff on this outstanding achievement”.

Minister for Employment and Learning Dr Stephen Farry congratulated staff at the college for their excellent achievement.

“The report underlines the innovative and very high standard of the teaching and learning provided by South West College, leading to valuable progression for a wide variety of learners. “Our local Further Education colleges play a key part in ensuring our people have the skills they need to fulfil their potential, get into work, stay in work and contribute to our economic recovery.

“The report also confirms the effective and strong links that the College has with employers in its area.”