Ofsted praise for college that revamped leadership after disastrous grade four result

Ofsted praise for college that revamped leadership after disastrous grade four result

A Midland college that overhauled its leadership in the wake of a disastrous Ofsted inspection result has recorded improvement across the board.

City College Coventry follows City of Liverpool and City of Bristol to become the third general FE college in less than a month to have improved to a grade three, or requires improvement, result having been hit with an inadequate rating last year.

Within months of the result, which was a fall from a grade three, the principal and chair of governors — both in post for more than a decade each — were replaced.

And it was revisited by inspectors last month and their report, out today, gave it improved, grade three results in each of the headline fields as well as the main findings board.

The report said: “The new team of leaders, managers and governors, through their ambitious and rigorous actions have brought about significant improvements in a short time, including better outcomes for learners and improved teaching and assessment.”

Steve Logan (pictured), appointed principal this month, said: “The college has acted decisively in bringing about improvements and Ofsted recognised a ‘culture of high expectations’.

“The journey continues and the focus of the college remains inexorably on helping students, not just to achieve, but to aspire for the highest standards possible.”

He added: “I am equally proud of our learners and our staff. We know there is still much to do moving forward but we take great heart from the confidence expressed in the report. It is enormously gratifying to have official recognition for our journey to excellence.”

The 6,800-learner college was branded inadequate across each of the headline fields in April last year and the report, which followed inspection the previous month, also gave grade fours throughout the main findings board, including apprenticeships and 19+ learning programmes.

The college’s highest mark was a single grade two for teaching, learning and assessment on independent living and life skills.

John Hogg

John Hogg

The Skills Funding Agency (SFA) subsequently issued it with a notice of concern and called for “fundamental changes” at the top of the college and within months of the result principal Paul Taylor, who had led the college for 16 years and experienced two previous poor inspections, was replaced by interim John Hogg.

Governors’ chair since 2001 Warwick Hall also left and was replaced by former Association of Colleges president Maggie Galliers.

A monitoring visit from Ofsted in October then said there had been “reasonable progress” in all themes assessed. They were self-assessment and improvement planning, quality of teaching, learning and assessment, work place learning and science, maths and business, and strengthening governance.

And the latest full inspection resulted in grade threes throughout the main findings board. The college also got four grade twos for teaching, learning and assessment in business management, administration, visual arts and performing arts.

The report said: “Since the last inspection, the appointment of professionals with substantial skills and experience to the leadership team and to the board of governors has taken the college forward quickly.

“Senior leaders have thoroughly involved all staff, through effective communications, to help achieve the college’s strategic priorities and to use the new strategic plan. For example, regular college-wide briefings, meetings and newsletters are resulting in a high level of commitment among staff.”

Maggie Galliers

Maggie Galliers

The result has seen the SFA lift its notice of concern.

Mrs Galliers said: “The report recognises the new strategic priorities of the college in focussing firmly on the needs of Coventry and its residents.

“We have worked tirelessly to recover the college’s reputation following last year’s report and we are enormously grateful for the support we have received from external stakeholders including the Local Authority and the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

“Teaching and learning remains a singular focus for the college and for the governing body.

“It is encouraging to read that Ofsted now recognises a strong governing body which knows the college well.”

See feweek.co.uk tomorrow for an exclusive Q&A with Mr Logan.