Ofsted Watch: New leadership praised at improved college

Ofsted has commended the new leadership team at a London college as it moves up to be rated ‘good’ while the grades of other providers fell.

Richmond-upon-Thames College climbed from grade three to grade two in a report published on November 17 which congratulated the new principal, senior management team and governors for their success in “rapidly” improving student outcomes.

The report said staff had “carefully redesigned” the curriculum to suit the needs of the community, and “share a determination to improve the quality of teaching, learning and assessment, which is now good”.

The college, which offers both academic and vocational courses, was inspected on October 10 and inspectors found students were well-behaved with “high aspirations”, and that “experienced staff” were developing the confidence and independence of high needs learners “very well”.

However, other colleges faced difficulties this week.

Bradford College fell from a grade two to a grade three when Ofsted published its report on November 14, and was hit with a financial health notice to improve from the Education and Skills Funding Agency the next day.

The college later confirmed its group chief executive, Andy Welsh, would be standing down at the end of this academic year.

And Redcar and Cleveland College faced an ‘inadequate’ rating on November 16, after receiving grade threes across the board at inspections in February 2013, July 2014 and November 2015, and a notice of concern for financial health from the ESFA in March 2015.

The same day, the college announced plans to merge with grade two rated Stockton Riverside College.

Elsewhere in the sector, Stoke-on-Trent Unitary Authority maintained its grade three rating on November 15 after being marked as ‘requires improvement’ in every category apart from apprenticeship provision, which was ‘good’, and a monitoring visit to grade four rated Gateway Sixth Form College in Leicester found it was making “reasonable progress” to improve. 

Seven providers maintained their grade two ratings in short inspections: East Surrey College, Hereford College of Arts, South Gloucestershire and Stroud College, Hair and Beauty Industry Training in Durham and the borough councils of Luton, Havering and Lewisham.

GFE Colleges Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Redcar and Cleveland College 10/10/2017 16/11/2017 4 3
Bradford College 10/10/2017 14/11/2017 3 2
Richmond-upon-Thames College  10/10/2018 17/11/2017 2 3


Adult and Community Learning Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Stoke on Trent Unitary Authority 17/10/2017 15/11/2017 3 3


Sixth Form Colleges Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Gateway Sixth Form College 09/10/2017 15/11/2017 Monitoring


Short inspections Inspected Published
East Surrey College 11/10/2017 14/11/2017
Hereford College of Arts 11/10/2017 13/11/2017
Hair and Beauty Industry Training Limited 25/10/2017 15/11/2017
Havering London Borough Council 11/10/2017 16/11/2017
South Gloucestershire and Stroud College 17/10/2017 17/11/2017
Lewisham London Borough Council  11/10/2017 17/11/2017
Luton Borough Council 27/09/2017 13/11/2017

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