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Damning Ofsted report for Wiltshire College
TEACHING, student success rates and management at Wiltshire College have been criticised following a visit by Ofsted inspectors.
The report has said the college, which has campuses in Salisbury, Trowbridge, Lackham and Chippenham, needs improvement across all areas looked at by inspectors.
Acting principal Amanda Burnside said: “While we are not satisfied with this result, the grade was in line with our own judgement of our position and Ofsted acknowledges this as one of our strengths.
“The report commends the college's 'open and honest self-assessment, leading to the accurate identification of areas for improvement'. “We do have an excellent understanding of what we need to do to improve and a clear plan on how to achieve those improvements quickly.”
The Ofsted inspection was carried out in March and is the third successive time the college has been rated a grade three.
Under previous inspection rules a grade three meant satisfactory but new guidelines have ruled it as requiring improvement across every inspection criteria except its English provision, which was ruled a grade four inadequate.
The inspection report said the college requires improvement because: “Students’ success rates remain below average and the rate of increase has not been fast enough, particularly for success rates for adults and at level 3.”
It said success rates of apprentices have declined and teaching and support is not focused sufficiently on helping students reach their full potential and too many lessons are “undemanding and uninspiring”.
The college was praised for “good collaborative work with stakeholders” a “safe and welcoming campus” and “rigorous self-assessment”.
Students’ success rates are high in agriculture, environmental conservation, transportation operations and maintenance, hairdressing and beauty therapy, hospitality and catering and visual arts.
But they are below average in most other subjects and low in childcare, science, information and communication technology, sports studies, media and business administration.
The report criticised the college management for not acting quickly enough to improve teaching.
It said: “Managers’ actions to improve the quality of teaching and learning have had mixed success and many much-needed actions are recent and not yet fully effective.
“Managers’ judgements about the quality of lessons are over optimistic.”
Helen Birchenough, who became chairman of governors last July, said: “Wiltshire College launched a new five-year strategic plan in September 2013 which places learners at the heart of everything it does and I am confident that we have the plan, resources and passion in place to now deliver the required improvements for our learners.”
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