Jobwatch: movers and shapers

April 9, 2004

Derby College, Buxton, is looking for two assistant directors to take it forward during one of its most significant events - the move into £15 million new premises, writes Claire Sanders

University of Derby College, Buxton, fresh from a good Ofsted report, is advertising this week for two new assistant directors. The college, which will move to the refurbished and listed Devonshire Royal Hospital building later this year, is looking for an assistant director to manage academic planning, funding and resources as well as an assistant director for higher education.

David Davies, the college director, said: "The move into the £15 million building is one of the most significant events in the college's history, and the two posts are part of that development."

The Ofsted report, published last week, highlights good teaching, high pass rates on many courses, good community outreach provision and good student-support services as key strengths of the college. "It's a positive report that is good for the college in Buxton," Professor Davies said.

The report assesses the college's 11 further education curriculum areas. Of these, seven are judged as "good", with the remaining four listed as "satisfactory". But the college is told to improve its collection, analysis and use of data to inform management decisions and its implementation of quality assurance and self-assessment arrangements.

Professor Davies said: "A major issue for higher education institutions working to deliver further education is data collection. We now have the software to do this."

The college is a school of Derby University, headed by Roger Waterhouse.

When High Peak College of Further Education joined with Derby in 1998 to become University of Derby College, Buxton, it was the first time a further education institution had merged with a higher education institution.

A Derby spokesperson said: "Our strong further and higher education presence enables us to take students right through from further education courses to degrees."

The college has a range of programmes focusing on the service sector.

"Buxton's history as a spa town has inevitably led us to provide courses in tourism and hospitality," Professor Davies said.

But its courses have attracted criticism from the Conservative Party, which said its BSc in hairdressing science and retail distribution was not the sort of course that should be included in higher education.

But Professor Davies launched a strong defence: "The hairdressing industry itself requested degree-level provision and that it contained higher levels of knowledge such as science. Derby is very proud to respond to the needs of industry and employers."

The Ofsted report describes the college's "hair and beauty" provision as "good". "Teaching is good or better," it says. "Tutorial support is excellent and students have clearly defined targets." But it also says that "outdated and badly designed resources" are impeding students' learning.

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