Northampton College downgraded from good to 'requires improvement' by inspectors

Bosses at Northampton College have lodged a formal complaint after Ofsted downgraded their good rating to 'requires improvement' in the latest inspection.

Thursday, 25th May 2017, 7:00 am
Updated Sunday, 4th June 2017, 9:29 pm
Northampton College has been downgraded from 'good' to 'requires improvement' in the latest Ofsted inspection.

The schools watchdog has criticised college managers for not identifying a number of "significant weaknesses" in the 16 to 19 study programmes, in its latest report released yesterday.

Attendance in English and maths was also seen as a concern and the level of progress within subjects was deemed to have fallen.

In particular, few learners on level three programmes 'achieve the grades of which they are capable', according to Ofsted.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Northampton College's Booth Lane campus.

A spokesman for the college has revealed managers' intentions to appeal the decision - which has seen the college's overall rating downgraded from 'good' to 'requires improvement'.

He said: "The college did not feel that the overall grade accurately reflected students’ progress and experience, and has challenged Ofsted with a formal complaint."

The spokesman felt too little account was taken of the fact 2,317 students have taken part in work placements this year; that 96 per cent of students currently achieve their qualifications and that overall student attendance is 88 per cent.

A pass rate 95.6 per cent currently sees the college latest national league tables, an improvement of 135 places on the previous year.

Northampton College's Booth Lane campus.

Northampton College also claims nine other similar colleges recorded a similar performance and were graded as ‘good’ during the academic year 2016/17.

But the Ofsted inspectors, who visited the college's Northampton and Daventry sites in April, picked up on several areas that they deemed worthy of improvement.

"The quality of mathematics provision, particularly on 16 to 19 study programmes, requires improvement," the report states.

"Too often, the activities that teachers use to develop learners’ skills in mathematics do not engage their interest, or motivate them to work hard."

On attendance, the watchdog stated: "In a few instances, late-arriving learners disrupt lessons and teachers do not routinely challenge them or help them to understand the importance of good timekeeping to their future employment prospect."

And on leadership, the inspectors found: "Managers do not monitor the progress of learners consistently well and, consequently, are unable to identify areas where their intervention is necessary."

However, there were areas of strength identified too.

Ofsted praised the college leaders' 'strong financial management' and their 'rigorous management of staff' have secured 'sound financial health'.

The principal of the college is Pat Brennan-Barrett.

It was also suggested managers have developed a curriculum that 'meets the needs of local employers, residents and stakeholders very well'.