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Principal of Lowestoft College agrees to go on temporary leave

PUBLISHED: 17:05 01 July 2014 | UPDATED: 00:12 02 July 2014

Simon Summers, principal of Lowestoft College.
Picture: James Bass

Simon Summers, principal of Lowestoft College. Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2011

The principal of Lowestoft College and his two vice principals have agreed to take a leave of absence to allow a confidential internal process to be carried out, it has been announced

College staff have been told that principal of nearly four years Simon Summers and Phillip Belden, vice-principal curriculum and standards, and Teresa Miller, vice principal corporate services, are all on temporary leaves of absence with immediate effect to allow the confidential internal processes to be undertaken.

The move follows an external consultant’s report that said the college at St Peter’s Street was not implementing improvements fast enough following an Ofsted inspection last June which said the college required improvement.

Richard Perkins, chairman of the Lowestoft College corporation, said: “A report by an Her Majesties Inspectorate consultant employed by the college to observe improvements since our last inspection in June 2013 indicated that recommended improvements were not being made fast enough for the college to achieve its goal of good, grade two, in its next inspection.

“We are undertaking a process to address these issues and bring about the positive changes in the quality of teaching, learning, leadership and management we need to ensure the long-term future of the college.”

After last year’s inspection Ofsted made recommendations that the college should improve its leadership and management as well as other changes needed to improve its grading.

The subsequent report from the external consultant working with the college was critical of the pace of those changes.

Mr Perkins added: “To reach our target of grade two of good we need to drive up quality and take active steps to help us towards that goal.

“The college plays a major part in the life of Lowestoft, Waveney and the wider community, and it is essential that we provide the high level of education and training that our students and their families deserve.

“Our focus is on ensuring the long-term strategic future of the college, which we believe has the potential to be a beacon of excellence in the sector.”

Mr Perkins said the college corporation had been supported by Ofsted and the Association of Colleges and had consulted the Skills Funding Agency.

More than 4,000 learners are on full-time and part-time courses at the college, which has about 350 staff.

He added: “There is much outstanding and good teaching at the college and the corporation would like to pay tribute to the hard work of the staff.”

The St Peter’s Street campus has recently undergone major improvements, including work on the hair and beauty salons, refurbishment of student support services and new engineering facilities.

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