A WINCHESTER college is celebrating after receiving a prestigious award for the quality of its teaching.

The University Centre at Sparsholt College been recognised with a Gold Award from the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF).

The University Centre, which offers highly specialised land-based degree programmes from foundation level up to masters, received the award for the quality of teaching and consistently high levels of students satisfaction and success.

The awards, now in their third year, are administered by the Office for Students, the new regulator of higher education in England. Introduced by the government to recognise excellent teaching and inform applicants’ choices about where to study, ratings are determined by six core metrics based on teaching, academic support and progression to employment.

Principal Tim Jackson said: “Outstanding teaching, excellent support and progression to further study or employment are the cornerstones of Sparsholt and these are the criteria we are proud to be judged against.

“These are also the criteria important to students when choosing where to study and to have these acknowledged to the highest possible standards by the TEF demonstrates that the expert teaching teams, outstanding resources and facilities deliver outstanding outcomes for our students.”

The expert TEF panel, comprising of leading academics, students and widening participation experts, praised Sparsholt for its “clear focus on the needs of students” and “high levels of pastoral and academic support”.

Tim Jackson added: “Our University Centre reputation is firmly based on quality teaching outcomes, high levels of employment and outstanding links with industry. It was very rewarding to see that the panel noted the excellent employability of students.

“In addition to our excellent teaching and industry links, University Centre Sparsholt exists on an incredible campus with first class facilities and I am so proud that all this has been recognised with a Gold.”

Sparsholt College is renowned for its specialist facilities for students seeking to work with animals, the land and the environment. The TEF Gold Award will apply for the next three years.