SFA notice at City Coventry College remains despite ‘progress’

The Skills Funding Agency will not remove City College Coventry’s Notice of Concern, despite Ofsted ruling it had made “reasonable progress” since its damning grade four inspection result.

The college received inadequate ratings across the board when it was inspected in March, but a monitoring visit carried out last month by the education watchdog found the college had begun to turn around.

However, an agency spokesperson told FE Week: “We will not be lifting the Notice of Concern.

“The notice requires that the overall effectiveness of the college, its leadership and management must be judged grade three or better at the time of re-inspection by Ofsted.”

Full re-inspections usually take place anywhere from a year to 15 months after the original inspection.

At the time of the college’s inadequate grading, then-principal Paul Taylor  told FE Week he was refusing to step down despite having previously had two other poor inspection results during his 16 years in post.

He was backed by Warwick Hall, chair of the governors at the college since 2001, who also carried on despite question marks over his continued role. Both men have since left the college.

Coventry’s monitoring visit report examined themes of self-assessment and improvement planning, quality of teaching, learning and assessment, work place learning and science, maths and business.

It also looked at progress made in strengthening governance, and found in all cases that “reasonable progress” had been made.

The monitoring visit report noted that stronger leadership and governance had played a role in the college’s improvement.

It said: “Much stronger leadership of teaching and learning has ensured that teachers are clear about their role and are being held accountable for making sure learners succeed.

“Teachers benefit from detailed feedback from observations which are more rigorous and accurate than previously.”

Interim principal John Hogg said: “This was a very important outcome for the college, laying down a significant marker on distance travelled since the last inspection.

“It is recognition of the hunger, passion and sheer hard work of the staff at the college.

“However, we are not getting carried away, there is still much to do and we’re getting on with it.”

The report also said college governance had been “strengthened” with the appointment of the new chair and vice chair of governors in July.

It added: “The decline in learners’ outcomes has been halted in most areas.”

New governors’ chair Maggie Galliers said: “We are obviously pleased with the outcomes from the monitoring visit which evidenced green shoots of recovery.

“However, green shoots are delicate and we need to nurture them by continuing to focus relentlessly on the student learning experience over the coming months.”