North Yorkshire college downgraded following leadership ‘turbulence’

Craven College was led amost entirely by a team of interim senior managers

Craven College was led amost entirely by a team of interim senior managers


A north Yorkshire college has been downgraded by Ofsted following “significant turbulence” in its leadership.

The previously ‘good’ Craven College was handed a ‘requires improvement’ judgment this week. Inspectors said “too many” study programme learners do not attend lessons and teacher workloads “may not be sustainable.”

While the college was judged ‘good’ for the quality of education, personal development, adult learning and apprenticeships, the watchdog found its leadership and management to ‘require improvement’.

“Over the last five years, there has been significant turbulence in the leadership of the college. The current senior leadership team, appointed within the last 18 months, has established stability and identified a clear path to make necessary improvements,” according to the inspection report. 

However, “strategic and cultural changes have not fully permeated throughout the organisation”.

The college is currently led by interim principal Anita Lall, who took over following the sudden and mysterious absence of its previous leader, Lindsey Johnson, last year.

Johnson was last seen at the college in January, reportedly being escorted into the college to collect their belongings. According to LinkedIn, Johnson left their role at the college in January 2023, but had not been at college since the preceding October. They had been principal at Craven for three years and have since moved into a role as head of education, skills and work at the Ministry of Justice.

The college told local reporters at the time: “We are confident that Lindsey’s absence has not impacted negatively on the college’s ability to meet its obligation to its students and the communities it serves.”

As well as an interim principal, Craven College is also led by an interim assistant principal for quality and two interim assistant principals for curriculum. Just one of the five senior managers, the vice principal for finance, is not an interim. 

FE Week understands interviews for a permanent principal of the college have been taking place this week.

A college spokesperson said: “Whilst the overall grades are not what we wanted or hoped for, the report acknowledges the journey the college has been on recently and highlights the steps we are already taking to address the challenges identified.”

Student attendance “doesn’t reach the high standards we have” the college admitted, adding, “our attendance is in line with the national average, but we will continue to focus on implementing specific actions” to improve.

Students that do attend learn in high-quality facilities, often in “environments in which they aspire to be employed”, Ofsted reported.

The college added: “We would like to take this opportunity to thank our wonderful staff and students for all their hard work and commitment and to extend our thanks to our community partners and stakeholders, who supported the college during the inspection and continue to do so.”

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One comment

  1. Sheila

    What’s the problem with interims? They can’t survive unless they do a good job, unlike permanent staff who can drive a good college into the ground in between the Ofsted visits. It’s a do-well or get-lost world for interims. Besides, the Ofsted report specifically said they’d got things on the right lines there, presumably after the permanent Principal had let it all wander off track. Most of the interims I know became interims because they got sick and tired of working for idiot Principal’s.