Birmingham college recovers after four ‘requires improvement’ results

Birmingham Metropolitan College awarded grade 2 rating for the first time since 2011

Birmingham Metropolitan College awarded grade 2 rating for the first time since 2011

A Birmingham college is celebrating a “turning point” with a ‘good’ Ofsted result after four consecutive ‘requires improvement’ judgments.

Birmingham Metropolitan College has gone through a turbulent period since entering government intervention in 2015 after serious financial issues came to light.

In the same year the college was downgraded to ‘requires improvement’ by Ofsted. It was then handed that same grade in further full inspections in 2017, 2018 and 2022.

The college was upgraded to ‘good’ in a report published today that praised a “culture that promotes diversity and inclusivity”, well-sequenced curriculums, and overall “high-quality provision”.

Pat Carvalho, principal of BMet since 2019, said this “significant achievement” marked a “milestone” and “turning point” in the college’s journey.

“This ‘good’ rating is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our entire team who have been tirelessly working to enhance every aspect of our college, and it’s gratifying to see our efforts come to fruition,” she said.

“We are all quite simply thrilled, this is not just an Ofsted rating; it’s a milestone on our journey to ensuring we provide high-quality education and training for our students, apprentices and the wider community.”

The college has three sites and teaches 4,725 young people, 166 learners with high needs, 2,916 adult learners and 736 apprentices.

Ofsted said learners and apprentices find college campuses to be “safe and respectful environments, which are inclusive and welcoming”. Leaders and managers have created a culture that promotes diversity and inclusivity.

They learn in “well-resourced, high-quality and industry-standard classrooms and workshops”, and “most” teachers are “appropriately qualified and have high levels of industry experience”.

Governors are “confident and constructive in their engagement with the executive team”, Ofsted found, adding that governors “are aware of the college’s weaknesses and support leaders’ actions to rectify these”.

Leaders have also implemented “effective subcontracting arrangements to ensure a high-quality provision”. They “maintain close oversight and undertake detailed scrutiny of all subcontractor work through robust quality assurance and monitoring arrangements,” inspectors said.

BMet entered government intervention in 2015 after it racked up £14 million in exceptional financial support and debts of £23.4 million. Its 2022 Ofsted inspection found the college’s long-term structural and financial issues were now resolved.

However, its accounts for 2022 show a £3.38 million deficit – mostly caused by the write-off of several assets due to refurbishment costs dating back several years – and that its financial health rating dropped from ‘good’ back into ‘requires improvement’.

However, the college plans to improve back to ‘good’ financial health in 2023/24 due to “improved cash generation”, the accounts added.

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