A report issued by HM Inspectors (HMI) - following an external review of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig on behalf of the Scottish Funding Council and Education Scotland - highly commends the educational practices and the work of the College.
Sabhal Mòr Ostaig was established in 1973 and is the only college of its kind offering further and higher education opportunities through the medium of Scottish Gaelic.
The external review of the College’s Further Education (FE) provision took place between 3-11 April. During this period, HM Inspectors closely examined the learning and teaching on the distance learning course (An Cùrsa Inntrigidh) and the short courses and they also examined leadership and administrative systems.
Overall, the HMI report, which has just been published, confirmed that Sabhal Mòr Ostaig has in place effective arrangements to maintain and enhance the quality of its provision and outcomes for learners and other stakeholders. This is the highest overall judgement that Education Scotland has in its powers to award.
HMI reviews are based on national standards and the report confirms that attainment of part-time FE learners is very high and that withdrawal rates from courses are very low and better than the national sector performance level. The Report builds on the previous highly successful HMI reviews of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, with 14 areas of positive practice identified and only 5 areas for development. Of these, only two were identified as main points for future action.
In addition, two examples of excellence were identified as worthy of dissemination. Namely, the nurturing of new talent in Gaelic media through film-making within the FilmG Project organised in partnership by Cànan and MG Alba and the successful processes the College has in place to ensure that distance learners feel connected to the College and to each other.
Chairman of the Board of Directors, Sherriff Roddy John MacLeod, said: “On behalf of the Board of Directors I welcome this report and congratulate all the College staff who have by their hard work and dedication ensured it is so favourable.
“I am particularly pleased that the excellence of the College’s leadership under the direction of the Principal has been recognised. But the most satisfying aspect of the report is its confirmation that we are fulfilling our duties to learners and meeting the needs of the wider Gaelic community.”
The HMI report demonstrated that senior staff work well together and provide a clear vision for the college and its future direction and that there were positive and mutually respectful relationships between learners. There was praise also for the way the college encouraged learner engagement, and it was shown that learners participate enthusiastically and contribute well in lessons.
John Norman MacLeod, Director of Studies, added: “The highly positive outcomes and judgements are just rewards for the efforts of all staff and students in maintaining and improving quality standards. The report recognises that the College works effectively with an extensive range of partners and it is very gratifying for us that the report recognises the significant role the College plays in the development of Gaelic language, culture, and the arts.”