The accreditation highlights the quality and integrity of the impartial information and guidance the College provides, which the accompanying report describes as, “an imaginative and holistic support service for students, responding to local needs and current trends”.
The accreditation follows a three-day assessment at Truro and Penwith College in March. This covered all the student services and support available from both specialist and teaching staff. It assessed the quality of advice and guidance given at all stages of the learner journey, including at enrolment, during the course, and in relation to onward progress into employment or higher education.
In his report, the external assessor noted that; “Truro and Penwith College demonstrate a commitment to quality assurance and to the matrix Standard,” which was based on, “a supportive environment for both students and staff driven by the positive management culture at a senior level.”
It continued: “The College has shown a commitment to community development, in line with its strategic values. The College responds to local needs and requests, encouraging long term development of skills and knowledge, alongside the development of interpersonal skills, self-confidence and self-esteem.
“Staff received excellent feedback from students during the Assessment, particularly focussing on their willingness and keenness to help each individual.”
Re-accreditation for the College comes at a time of increased investment in information, advice and guidance for its students. Individual schemes supporting the dedicated Student Services team include the setting up of a Job Shop to help with careers advice and an inclusive Health, Wellbeing and Sport initiative.
This high level of personalised student support is one of the core undertakings made by the College when it secured approval and support for its third campus at Callywith in Bodmin which opens this September.
Truro and Penwith College Principal David Walrond was pleased with the outcome of the assessment and this recognition of college staff and the services they provide.
“Achieving the matrix Standard is a really valuable endorsement of the College’s focus on putting student needs and entitlements at the centre of our work. It reaffirms the recent findings of Ofsted inspectors who found support for students outstanding. Recent national reports highlight a steep decline in the levels of awareness and understanding of young people with regard to their future options in employment or further study.
“That is something which disadvantages not just these students themselves, but those many employment and skills sectors who feel their offer and their opportunities are insufficiently understood. Unbiased and well informed advice and guidance are cornerstones of our support offer and we’re delighted that this has been recognised by the matrix Standard assessor.”
The College’s wider holistic approach to student and staff health and wellbeing was also highlighted in the report as having a positive impact on students. As part of the programme, students receive information and advice about a range of activities and how to change their lifestyle to be more active and healthy. Recent evaluation has found that a third of students became active in sports and of these 97% had been helped physically, with 92% feeling it enhanced their mental health too.
The report recognised the way that “students across the College have access to specialist staff within the student services provision, whether employed or through external organisations, and that these included the “careers advisers, safeguarding officer and mental health specialists which the college employs”.