studyFeatured Article

Education Innovation

Exe coll clock tower

Exeter is proud of its educational establishments, many of whom are breaking new ground and being recognised nationally for their students’ achievements.

Exeter College is a shining example of this and a real jewel in the Exeter educational ‘crown’. It is Devon’s only Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ further education provider and is highly regarded in both the city of Exeter and the wider community, attracting between 10,000-12,000 students every year to the wide variety of courses and apprenticeships that it offers. The College has a history as an education innovator; having been named as the UK’s first ever tertiary college in 1970, although their roots go back to the 1800s. More recently, the College has continued to innovate, and has been awarded the Times Educational Supplement ‘Outstanding Provider of the Year’ in 2012 and the BTEC College of the Year in 2014. In addition, the College was selected by the Government to be one of the first providers in the country to deliver new T Level qualifications from 2020, with the new courses set to revolutionise technical education across the country.

Celebrating its 50th birthday in 2020 has provided the college with an opportunity to reflect upon its hugely valuable role in the community of Exeter, as well as its vital economic contribution to Devon as a whole.

Principal and Chief Executive John Laramy said, “Our vision is to become an exceptional college, we believe that this is both realistic and achievable because we have great staff team, attract brilliant students and work with amazing partners, employers and stakeholders.

“We offer a remarkably varied and broad curriculum, so no matter what your ambition might be, we are normally able to help them to achieve their goals. Whether students join us on an A Level programme, the International Baccalaureate, a vocational course, a Higher Education programme or an Apprenticeship; we’re passionate about providing an exceptional learning environment for the benefit of learners, businesses and the community.

“The education ecosystem in Exeter is nationally recognised and we’re thrilled to play our part in making sure our region’s learners, both young and old, have everything they need to achieve their education goals.”

The College is particularly proud of its apprenticeship programme, something it adopted early on and has been a great success, due in part to its excellent relationships with a wide variety of businesses. It works with 950 employers both in Devon and further afield to provide apprentices with the very best experience, and employers with the very best apprentices.

As well as apprenticeships, the college also offers A Levels, BTECs, and is one of the first institutions in the UK to offer T Levels – a technical-based qualification that prepares students for industry with practical skills and knowledge.  

During the recent coronavirus pandemic, the College adapted quickly to provide exceptional teaching, learning and support to its students, particularly those facing a summer of revision and exams ready for entry to higher education or the world of work. The College announced in July 2020 that 70% of its students who had applied to Oxbridge or medical based courses had received offers. 

The College operates a number of distinct academies, building upon the excellent links that it holds in the Exeter community. Its Sports Academy produces high calibre sports men and women through experience of training with (among others) the Exeter Chiefs Rugby team and Exeter City FC, whilst any students studying the Professional Cooking qualifications will benefit from experience with the Michael Caines Academy (he was once an Exeter College student).

As well as offering school leaver qualifications and learning programmes, the college also prides itself on offering first class learning facilities and support for adults returning to education. It also welcomes students each year from overseas, who all help to contribute to the vibrant city centre community in which the main campus is based.

The College’s specialist campuses help learners achieve their goals, no matter what they want to do. With students learning in inspirational facilities in the Centre for Creative Industries, Construction Centre, Technology Centre and Maths and Science Centre, among others, learners truly have the tools at their fingertips to achieve what they want to in education.

And the future looks bright. Construction is currently underway on a new Digital and Data Centre as part a South West Institute of Technology plan to reimagine digital, engineering and manufacturing technology education across the region. The coming years will also see the redevelopment of its city centre Hele Road site with plans to improve pedestrian access, update teaching spaces and social areas and create an open plan site map.