Lambeth College leaves 157 Group following inspection

A college will not renew membership to the 157 Group amid reports of an ‘inadequate’ Ofsted inspection.

Lambeth College, in London, revealed on Wednesday that it will no longer be part of the group as it planned to “focus on improving” its performance.

A spokesperson for the college said: “We will not be renewing our membership of the 157 Group as we are focussing on improving our performance internally.

“However we are grateful for the continuing support of all the members.”

A report in the Streatham Guardian the following day suggests the improvements relate to the college’s most recent inspection – with the newspaper claiming the college was given an ‘inadequate’ overall rating.

We have the greatest respect for Lambeth College and its work. We fully understand that Lambeth College’s top priority in the near future is to focus on improving its performance.”

According to the newspaper, the college was judged to be failing in three out of six areas, including management and leadership, outcome for learners and capacity to improve. It was also given ‘satisfactory’ ratings for quality and diversity and quality of provision, and ‘good’ for safeguarding procedures.

The inspection report is due to be published at the end of the month and a spokesperson for the college said it was unable to comment until that time.

The newspaper also reports the college’s new principal, Mark Silverman, said he was “looking forward” to taking the institution on a “positive journey of improvements”, but dismissed accusations it was failing.

Mr Silverman took up his new appointment at the end of February after a career spanning almost 20 years in the sector.

When he joined Lambeth College, he said: “I am looking forward to working with staff, learners, employers, governors and our many partners to ensure that the college achieves its full potential and becomes a truly outstanding provider of education, training and skills.”

Lynne Sedgmore CBE, executive director of the 157 Group, said the organisation, which according to their website “represents large and successful colleges”, has been advised that Lambeth College would not be renewing its membership.

She said: “We have the greatest respect for Lambeth College and its work. We fully understand that Lambeth College’s top priority in the near future is to focus on improving its performance.

“We are keen to support the college in whatever way we can, reflecting our aim to promote development and improvement in the sector as a whole.”

She added: “We wish the college’s new principal, Mark Silverman, and his senior leadership team, teachers, support staff and governing body, every success.”

Although the 157 Group lost one member last week, they have gained another in Liverpool Community College, one of the largest further education colleges in England.

It strengthens the group’s ties in Merseyside and the North-West.

Mrs Sedgmore said: “Having established an excellent reputation for its strong community focus over the years, the college is working closely with employers to help students develop the skills that local businesses need, and increase the city’s prosperity.”

Elaine Bowker, principal at Liverpool Community College, said: “We look forward to being able to contribute to the 157 Group’s national voice on further education policy; its efforts to improve the reputation of further education colleges; and its work to raise awareness of the extensive choice of vocational, academic and degree-level qualifications offered.”