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City of Bristol College earns coveted accreditation for student services

City of Bristol College has been rewarded for ‘major improvements’ to its student service support, career guidance and information, advice and guidance by securing Matrix Standard Accreditation.

Since our last review, Matrix found a series of ‘major developments’ aimed at raising standards of support across the College, especially around creating a more ‘joined-up’ cross-department approach to curriculum and student support.
Changes have included strengthening capacity of areas of expertise such as wellbeing and safeguarding, careers information, advice and guidance and support for students with additional needs.

The assessor praised the new ‘On Track, Off Track’ methodology which replaced the previous ‘at risk’ approach. The assessor, Steve Jackson, said: “This focuses on what the student’s goals are, be [that] curriculum or career, and seeks to ensure students have ‘line of sight’ of their goals. This approach is a composite of all the components that need to come together to ensure a student is ‘on track’ for their goals. Staff training is still ongoing for this to be developed and it will be interesting to gauge the impact of this new way of working.

The assessor also praised the quality of support provided by the College’s Study Coaches, who work with a group of between 10 to 25 students for an hour a week to enable the students to make good choices, promoting life skills development, wellbeing and positive attitudes.

Steve said: “Study Coaches worked closely with Careers Advisers to embed employability into curriculum, they are key to delivering the On Track/Off Track approach and Student Coaches who were interviewed gave examples of who they were working with who were currently deemed to be ‘Off Track’ and the measures established thus far to them.”

The inspector also considered the support to feeder schools, from Year 8 through to Year 11. He said the Schools Liaison Officer is ‘providing excellent support to feeder schools’ to help them to improve their preparation of school students for College.

Head of Student Services, Vikki Wherlock, was ‘over the moon’ to maintain the Matrix Standard. Vikki added: “Steve was impressed with the improvements which have been made since the last visit and can notably see the difference of structure and development on our Pro systems which supports and underpins processes which allows timely and accurate signposting, support and information, advice and guidance to our learners. It is fantastic to have secured this endorsement from Matrix and to know we are delivering the best possible service to our learners.

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