Progress continues at previously-troubled Barnfield College with Ofsted praise after final monitoring visit

Ofsted has identified progress across all areas looked at in a third monitoring visit of previously-troubled Barnfield College.

Inspectors were at the Luton-based college last month to review performance in a number of areas, including teaching, learning and assessment; teaching and learning of English and maths in discrete classes and within subjects; quality and accuracy of self-assessment; arrangements for work experience; and collection of destination data to inform curriculum planning.

The college, hit with an inadequate rating a year ago and slated as having “no key strengths”, was noted as having made “reasonable progress” in each, and was even achieving “significant progress” in a sixth and final area of learner management.

It comes just weeks after FE Week reported how FE Commissioner Dr David Collins, who was sent in to the college first over its finances in January last year and then for a second time over the Ofsted grading, had ended his involvement at the college after a visit in July from his adviser that concluded all his recommendations had been achieved.

The adviser’s report, seen by FE Week, praised the college, which has more than 7,250 learners, for progress in “reviewing staff and removing those who are not willing to change the way they work” and notes that a new leadership team is in place “with a clear vision of where they want the outcomes to be”.

Principal Tim Eyton-Jones (pictured above) told FE Week: “We are very pleased with the results of the latest monitoring visit by Ofsted, they have picked up the many improvements that we have made, and witnessed the very real progress that our learners are experiencing.

“We are particularly proud that the improvement in behaviour and conduct of students has been recognised as ‘significant progress’.”

The areas reviewed by Ofsted were identified in its first monitoring visit report, published in February. The report of the second visit, in May, indicated reasonable progress in all but teaching and learning of English and maths in discrete classes and within subjects and arrangements for work experience.

But on the third monitoring inspection, Ofsted noted how attendance and punctuality were significantly better and managers had boosted their monitoring of students’ progress. They also saw several staff appointed to ‘advanced practitioner’ posts, although their impact was not yet clear.

The college was commended on the introduction of new performance management for teaching staff and the plans for professional development in the near future. The report also noted that English and maths had been overhauled and new staff been hired for the subjects.

Despite being generally positive, the report did highlight some points that still require work at the college, such as lesson planning, constructive feedback and progress in GCSE and functional English and mathematics sessions.

“There is still a lot of work left to do, and we will be maintaining current the pace of change until our transformation plan has been achieved,” said Mr Eyton-Jones.

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  1. I am absolutely insulted at the fact that staff like myself who have been through 3 redundancy processes in 18 Months were not as quoted willing to change?! We had more ceo’s in that time than I care to mention. The second redundancy process under Myles I secured a Managers position but couldn’t progress with training as there wasn’t the money to do so. Then eight Months later I wasn’t qualified to keep my position so easy to be made redundant. Also how can a college sponsor a local football team when clearly money should be invested into bringing the college back to outstanding? £120,000 for one season. Building work within the college wasted and Senior Managers that are interims on £500.00 per day. That’s excellent progress well done!!!!