THE Royal National College for the Blind (RNC) has made substantial progress since its last inspection, according to Ofsted.

The inspector has graded the Hereford college as ‘outstanding’ across all six areas inspected and said it had gained ground since its last inspection in 2006.

Key strengths included: ● Learners’ healthcare needs are being proactively addressed.

● Learners have access to specialist support.

● Learners have confidence in the safety and security of the college.

● Staff work in a very encouraging and supportive manner.

● Learners are being actively encouraged to contribute to the running of the college.

● The standard of learner accommodation is very high.

The inspection also said the college has a sustained record of delivering good performance and managing improvement.

Mark Fisher, assistant director of residential care at RNC, said: “Learners told the inspector they felt safe and protected at RNC.

This is a great message for all parents of our current and potential learners under the age of 18.

“It gives them peace of mind that, when their 16 or 17-year-old son or daughter leaves home to study at RNC, they are getting the very best quality of support.”

But the report says that although progression into employment has almost doubled in the last three years, rates are not as high as the college would wish.

It says this must be evaluated so the positive trend continues.

The report can be viewed at, reference SC050563.

Ian Pickford is currently interim principal and CEO with the permanent job expected to be advertised this summer.