Students at a Devon college have shared their honest feelings about their college with Devon Live.
Five teenagers, aged between 16 and 18, have who told us exactly what they think of the award-winning Petroc College.
The college has recently been rated as a good provider after Ofsted praised the team for 'fantastic results', an 'overwhelmingly positive' feeling from students about the quality of the education provided and how 'highly-experienced' the teachers are in their fields.
Petroc College welcomed a new principal in September 2019 and since then has gone from strength-to-strength, highlighted by its recent glowing Ofsted report.
Teens at the college have shared the heart-warming reasons why they believe the college is the best around and why they would recommend it to others.
Matt Steele, age 16:
“At Petroc College you get treated like a grown up, they teach you how to be more independent in your learning, how to manage your time and get assignments done by deadlines.
"Coming here has given me so many more learning opportunities, I have been doing work experience for the last 10 weeks at Pathfields School and I have been accepted in to the 999 Academy and the Health Care Academy which is great.”
Eleanor Blackburn, age 17:
“I went to Bideford School, so coming to Petroc was a decision to try something different, experience new things rather than the same things at school. I come to Petroc by bus which is really easy, I have made lots of new friends and found the support here really amazing.
"In my first year I had to get some emotional support from the college student services which was brilliant for me. Petroc has been brilliant for me and I would recommend coming to anyone.”
Marshall Hooper, age 16:
“The staff at Petroc are massively supportive. They prepare us really well for assignments, course work and exams by giving us all the resources we need, like online resources, practise papers and help and support in class, with time to answer questions and talk about areas were not sure about.
"The lecturers make us feel confident and prepared for the work we are doing. It's brilliant.”
Rachel Westacott, age 18:
"After I finished school in Chumleigh, I did a year at Exeter College but it didn’t suit me for lots of reasons. Friends had already come to Petroc and said it was really friendly and fun, so I applied for a course in Health & Social Care.
"It is a great college with friendly and supportive staff and learners, where people actually care about each other. Lecturers are really approachable at Petroc, you can ask for help and they don’t act like it’s a hassle, they like helping you and nothing is too much trouble.
"I would highly recommend Petroc College, I love everything about it.”
Devon Mannering, age 17:
"College is excellent, it’s more like uni in that you have to learn how to study independently. It is very different to school.
"I would recommend Petroc to anyone thinking of making a change, I went to Ilfracombe Academy, so in coming to Petroc I have made loads of new friends, and it’s exciting to be doing something totally different, in a brand new place with brand new opportunities – it’s like a fresh start!”
More about the college's Good Ofsted achievement
Students spoke with Ofsted inspectors during the two-day inspection under the new Education Inspection Framework and said they view staff as 'good role models'. Many also highlighted that those who enter college straight from school relish the relative independence they experience.
Ofsted came to the conclusion, after much research, that the curriculum at all levels is at a high standard which enables learners to develop new knowledge, skills and behaviours which match the needs of regional employers as well as student's overall aspirations.
Devon Live spoke with Principal Sean Mackney when he first took up the post in September 2019 and he said he was determined to help students "dream big, make a difference together and go further in life".
Sean has more than 25 years’ experience in the education sector and at his previous role at Buckinghamshire New University, he served as Pro Vice-Chancellor Research, Enterprise and External Relations and Pro Vice-Chancellor Education.
The latest Ofsted report reveals that the college, which operates across three campuses in north and mid-Devon with two in Barnstaple and one in Tiverton, offers students independence, a varied curriculum as well as the help and support they need to succeed.
Ofsted's report revealed several positive findings such as learners and apprentices being overwhelmingly positive about the quality of education and training they receive.
Learners and apprentices benefit from a curriculum which is well designed, improves their subject knowledge and behaviours and develops new skills.
Importantly, the curriculum at all levels enables learners to develop new knowledge, skills and behaviours which match the needs of regional employers and the aspirations of learners.
Teachers are highly-experienced in their subjects or industries and in turn, students and apprentices produce high standards of work because of the teaching they receive and the high expectations of staff.
The report went on to say that managers ensure learners receive good careers advice and guidance to help them choose relevant courses and decide their next steps after college.
Staff are viewed as good role models for the chosen industry or academic studies and with their guidance go on to study subject-related university courses, employment or apprenticeships after a high proportion of learners achieve their qualifications, particularly at Level 3.
For more information about Petroc College, call the North Devon campus on 01271 345291, the Mid Devon campus on 01884 235200 or the Brannams campus on 01271 852335.