College praised over its student learning success

College praised over its student learning success

9 September 2020

SOUTH Eastern Regional College has received top marks for the high-level learning experiences offered to its students.

The college, which has campuses locally in Downpatrick, Ballynahinch and Newcastle, as well as North Down,  twas evaluated earlier this year on curriculum planning by the Education and Training Inspectorate.

Dr Michael Malone, director of curriculum at the college, welcomed the report’s findings and said the college had invested in the development of project-based learning, which ensures students are industry ready as they progress, either to work or higher education.

He said: “In addition, we pride ourselves on the close connections that we have with local industry and employers, an area that we have worked to grow and flourish with our dedicated business services and employer placement teams. This was also highlighted in the report: ‘The college’s wide-ranging, collaborative partnership working with employers and sectoral bodies is used very well to inform the content and co-design of the curriculum, resulting in often innovative and mostly highly relevant learning programme.’”

The report further noted: “Students have very good opportunities to develop appropriate industry-standard and contemporary digital and technical skills relevant to their professional and technical area.

“This includes the use of a wide range of industry-relevant software and digital tools to develop relevant analytical skills in science, effective digital music production, creative media skills and industrial coding skills in engineering. As a consequence, the students are prepared well for higher education and the world of work.”

The ETI report also noted: “The careers provision is highly valued by the students and almost all of them report that they are well-informed about the progression routes available to them, including employment and progression to higher education.”

Dr Malone said that the welfare of students was central to the college’s learning environment, where SERC Extra has been established to assist students address any issues that might hinder their success.

“SERC is very much part of the local community and offers careers advice for everyone regardless of whether or not they are a student at the college,” he remarked. “Early in the year we encourage our students to find out their options and routes and access the expertise we have in house to help them plan their future.”

Dr Malone added: “The world was a different place when we had our inspection back in March  I would like to pay tribute to all the staff across SERC who contributed to the work that goes into preparing for inspection.   

“Mostly, we are all busy getting on with work, and it is often only at this stage, that we recognise how much we all do to ensure our students have access to high-level learning experiences.  The report is testament to our staff — lecturing, technical and support teams who are dedicated to the ethos of further education.”