The college, the largest in Bedfordshire, has been awarded Investor in People status for a further three years following a detailed on-site review by an IiP inspector. This builds on the college’s IiP Champion status.

The latest award follows an “outstanding” rating by Ofsted inspectors who last month decided further inspection of the college “can safely be postponed”.

The thumbs-up for the college comes despite changes to the IiP standard which underwent a major shake-up in late 2004.

Praising the college’s management, the report said: “Staff believe people at all levels in the college are friendly and approachable. They enjoy working within the college environment and are very committed to its continued success.”

Barnfield principal Pete Birkett (pictured) said: “This excellent outcome is the result of the dedication and hard work shown by all college staff. We are completely committed to providing the best education and training in the context of a first-class working environment.”

Major points in the IiP report were:

● A clear, concise strategic plan sets the college’s direction, providing clear objectives;

● A “robust” performance management system has been introduced with “a determined effort to tighten the focus on achievement”;

● A training and development programme allows staff to undertake non job-related courses;

● A series of “excellent initiatives” has been introduced to involve staff in running the college;

● Core values have been established to help effect a culture change;

● Top-down communications have been strengthened with newsletters, computer bulletins and roadshows.

Referring to Barnfield’s student success rate, the report said: “The 2% increase in success rate to 83% was attributed directly to people taking more ownership and staff development.”

The college first won IiP status in 1995.

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