Stafford College receives “inadequate” Ofsted grade

Stafford College has been rated “inadequate” in a recent Ofsted inspection.

The college, which received a grade 2 in 2009, is said to have “uninspiring” lessons which are not planned properly and fail to challenge learners.

“Teachers know their subjects well but the quality of lessons across the college varies too much,” the report reads.

“Inspectors found good teaching and learning in over half the lessons observed but too much (of) that was satisfactory and did not challenge learners enough to reach their full potential.”

The inspection report by Ofsted, published last week, says the college’s success rates have been in decline and are particularly low for learners on advanced courses.

“Learners on AS-level courses have very low success rates and only half of those who complete progress to A levels,” the report reads.

“Nearly a third of those starting two-year advanced vocational courses do not complete the programme.”

However, the report later says the success rates for apprentices are “at a satisfactory level.”

Ofsted has admitted the college is starting to tackle low levels of retention, with in-year data showing “some improvement”.

“Most learners make satisfactory progress and their progression within the college is good,” it reads.

The inspection report blames the leadership and management at the college for the decline in success rates.

“They have not applied quality assurance arrangements consistently across all provision to ensure improvement,” the report reads.

“This is particularly so for AS and A-level provision where the college’s quality improvement arrangements within the collegiate have not halted the decline in AS-level success rates.”

It also says the college’s development plan is “insufficiently rigorous”, despite including appropriate targets for recruitment and financial performance.

The report states: “It does not have targets for success for the college as a whole and does not include an action plan to manage and measure progress towards meeting targets.”

However, Ofsted has also praised the college’s delivery of hairdressing and beauty therapy.

The report says the success rate on intermediate hairdressing is “well above (the) national average”, and the retention rate on intermediate beauty therapy has increased “markedly.”

“Learners develop good vocational and employability skills including teamwork, communication and client care,” the report reads.

“Most foundation learners develop very good creative skills in nail art.”