College committed to turnaround vision despite second ‘inadequate’ judgement

Jane Townsend, principal of Easton and Otley College. Leaders at the college said they were "disappo

Jane Townsend, principal of Easton and Otley College. Leaders at the college said they were "disappointed" with its second inadequate judgement from Ofsted. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2018

Leaders at an East Anglian college which has been judged inadequate by education watchdogs for a second time say they are committed to their improvement strategy.

Easton and Otley College received the overall judgement from Ofsted, which said a failure by senior leaders to 'rectify weaknesses' meant that 'ineffective' teaching was still holding back students.

The college, which has almost 4,000 students across its two campuses, was ranked as inadequate in five out of eight criteria following the inspection in October despite efforts by the leadership team – including new principal Jane Townsend – to right the ship.

In a statement from Ms Townsend and chair of governors Mark Pendlington, the college said the result 'highlights the need for improvement, and follows a period in which the management and staff have been working hard to stabilise in the wake of substantial change'. Easton and Otley College was told by Ofsted that it was inadequate in July last year and has since had three monitoring visits from inspectors.

The latest report, published on Monday, said that while the 'clear, detailed and ambitious actions' had improved the quality of education for apprentices and students with high needs, 'substantial weaknesses' remain in the college's study programmes and adult learning programmes.

Easton and Otley College was inspected by Ofsted in October. Picture: Archant

Easton and Otley College was inspected by Ofsted in October. Picture: Archant - Credit: Steve Adams

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'[Leaders and managers] have put in place a new system of learning observations, improved teaching and learning resources, a thorough programme of staff training and new advanced learning coaches. However, these measures have not yet had enough impact.

'As a result, too much teaching, learning and assessment is ineffective and too many students do not make enough progress.'

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Inspectors found that a lack of specialist teachers 'impedes learning' on study programmes and adult learning programmes and that teachers on these courses had 'low expectations of their students and do not challenge them to make good progress'.

But they did highlight strengths such as the links of governors, leaders and managers to local and regional employers, the 'high-quality' work experience available for students and the high standard of vocational skills achieved by many.

In their statement Ms Townsend, who was appointed as permanent principal in March, and Mr Pendlington said: 'The absolute priority, from the perspective of staff, management and the college board, is maintaining the highest possible standards of teaching and care for our students.

'Whilst we are disappointed in what the report says, we know, with great confidence, what a huge amount of commitment and enthusiasm there is within the staff and stakeholder body to ensure our vision remains on track.'

They added: 'Parents and students have no reason to feel concerned or anxious in any way about the future of the college.'

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