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HMIE rider for Ayr's effective learning and teaching

Ayr College has received praise from HM Inspectorate of Education for its effective learning and teaching processes.

However, the college, which operates on three main campuses, was told to improve its arrangements on access and inclusion, staff and quality improvement.

Diane Rawlinson, who had been in place as principal for five months before the inspection took place, had "communicated effectively with all staff from the outset", the report stated.

"Under the new principal's dynamic and inclusive leadership, a good start had been made to the 2006-07 planning cycle. All staff were warmly appreciative of the principal's personal commitment and energy in setting a clear education direction," it added.

The college had effective learning and teaching processes overall - particularly in care and special programmes, which HMIE judged as "very good". The remaining five subject areas where learning and teaching processes were inspected were judged as "good".

Learner progress and outcomes were "good" in six subject areas and "fair"

in the other area, computing and ICT. Support for learners at programme level was "extremely effective".

The programme of maintenance, upgrading and technical support was described as "well-planned, responsive and cost-effective", resulting in an environment for learners across all campuses which was welcoming, clean and mostly fit for purpose.

However, the report contained criticisms of disclosure procedures for staff and quality assurance. There was insufficient use of ICT to support and extend learning for many learners, and in a few lessons the pace of teaching and learning was too slow.

The college's strategy for community outreach was "unclear", and there was "no one consistent view from the college as to which groups were under-represented in the college". It had also failed to make sufficient progress on child protection and on implementing legislation on disability, race and sex discrimination.

It was told to extend and enhance its arrangements for school-college partnerships.

Ms Rawlinson said: "In the five months I have been principal, I have been reviewing the college and its relative strengths and weaknesses, reaching the same conclusions as HMIE. We had already begun our strategic planning to address items that HMIE included in its recommendations, and have begun implementing these plans to ensure we are providing the best possible learning experience for our students."

Operational plans had been drawn up for each team in the college with targets relating to HMIE action points and continuous quality improvement objectives.

"These plans cover initiatives such as the establishment of a forum to allow East and South Ayrshire councils and Ayr and Kilmarnock colleges to discuss the region's needs, the appointment of a senior member of staff (director of HR) tasked with modernising the college's HR processes, and investment that will improve staff access to ICT to support learning and teaching."

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