South Lanarkshire College has become the first in Scotland to achieve a clean sweep from HMIE for its learning and teaching.
Despite serving an area with higher than average levels of multiple deprivation, the college, based in Cambuslang and East Kilbride, scored very good grades in all the seven subject areas which were inspected. Four subjects were rated very good in the achievements of their students, while the other three were judged good.
Inspectors also looked at performance in seven cross-college elements and found six of them were very good, including leadership and management; the re-maining one, resources to support learners, was good.
The report, published today, noted the efforts the college had made to link up with local schools and employers, which led to improvements in the design of courses and boosted the chances of its students finding jobs.
"Enthusiastic and dedicated teaching staff worked effectively in teams to establish a very positive learning environment," stated the report. "They promoted a strong culture of learner achievement throughout all subject areas. Regular guidance sessions for most full-time learners provided effective support for those needing assistance with core and vocational skills or undertaking revision for assessments."
Stewart McKillop, the principal, is described as providing "thoughtful and supportive leadership" and, along with Angus Allan, the depute, "maintained a visible profile on all campuses".
The inspectors also singled out "sector-leading and innovative practice" in the college. This included its approaches to links with employers, vocational training for school pupils, training for new staff in the construction faculty on using effective questioning techniques with students and an annual all-staff conference which got an "overwhelmingly positive" evaluation.
Ian Macpherson, the chairman of the college board who also chairs the Association of Scotland's Colleges, said the verdict was "a tremendous accolade for the college and unprecedented in the sector".
Mr Macpherson said the college's performance was "a tangible outcome" of the huge investment in people and resources over the past four years. The college expects the effects of this to be reinforced next year when it moves to a new pound;34 million campus in East Kilbride.