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Ofsted chief inspector praises Barking and Dagenham College following visit

PUBLISHED: 09:27 08 October 2018

Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman on tour at Barking and Dagenham College. Picture: Ken Mears

Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman on tour at Barking and Dagenham College. Picture: Ken Mears

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The chief inspector of schools visited Barking and Dagenham College on Friday to hear about its community engagement work.

Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman tours Barking and Dagenham College. Picture: Ken MearsOfsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman tours Barking and Dagenham College. Picture: Ken Mears

The chief inspector of schools visited Barking and Dagenham College on Friday to hear about its community engagement work.

Ofsted’s Amanda Spielman toured the Dagenham Road, Dagenham further education college’s science, engineering, media and arts rooms, stopping by a youth conference aimed at increasing young people’s engagement with the arts.

Flanked by teachers, staff and organisers behind the borough’s Cultural Education Partnership (CEP), she was shepherded to a special drum performance by 12 primary school pupils.

The musical dozen, who had prepared a song with lyrics celebrating the borough and its cuisine (“chicken and chips”), provided a rare moment of light relief in the otherwise whistle-stop tour.

Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman tours Barking and Dagenham College. Picture: Ken MearsOfsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman tours Barking and Dagenham College. Picture: Ken Mears

Arranged in neat rows with matching green t-shirts and yellow head scarves, they were hurriedly moved down the corridor after several drumbeats when staff realised an exam was taking place in a nearby classroom. They drew claps from the assembled guests after completing the performance in a new location.

The visit was “truly inspiring”, Ms Spielman told the Post.

“It’s a college that is motoring on and doing really well,” she said.

“It’s a really impressive place.”

Nigel Sagar, borough lead for the CEP, said the meeting was one of nine “hubs” across the area, drawing about 40 schools, as well as volunteers, community groups, local authorities and arts bodies together to improve the cultural education of children for young people.

The project piloted in the borough, Bristol and Great Yarmouth has been replicated across the country.

“It was established to give young people a way so that they become involved in the planning for cultural opportunities,” he said.

“The things that are learnt from this morning will be used to plan for the future.

“It’s pretty unique nationally.”

Nicky Gibson, the college’s director of student support, progression and entry to technical training, said staff also worked hard to tackle gangs and knife crime.

“We have an offender programme which concentrates on serious youth crime and knife crime,” she said.

This, she added, includes “support”, “mentoring”, “ambassador” work and “face to face interviews” with “those that declare that they are an offender”.

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