Liverpool Community College
A CITY college is set to be re-visited by government inspectors within six months after being handed the worst possible Ofsted grading.
The Post can reveal that Liverpool Community College is facing more official scrutiny after Osfted slapped it with the worst possible Grade 4 “inadequate” rating – a massive fall from grace for the college previously rated as “outstanding”.
The failing tag, confirmed in a report last week, was handed to the 16,500-student college after inspectors concluded that too many students leave the college without achieving their qualifications.
They also found that the quality of teaching, learning and assessment as well as the effectiveness of leadership and management were all “inadequate”.
Attendance was also branded “unacceptably low” by the inspectorate which concluded “too many lessons are disrupted by students arriving late”.
And after identifying its failings, Ofsted is set to send in a team of monitoring inspectors as early as six months time to ensure it is showing signs of improvements.
Their findings will again be made public. But the scrutiny will not end there as college’s handed a Grade 4 will normally have to undergo a full inspection within 12 to 15 months.
Ofsted did stress improvements are being made under new principal Elaine Bowker’s stewardship and praised managers for their “open and critical approach” to identifying the college’s problems.
And Cllr Nick Small, Liverpool council’s cabinet member for employment and skills, who is a governor at the college, insisted the city still “had confidence” in the institution which the council included on the Freedom Roll of Association – the institution equivalent of Freedom of the City on Tuesday night.
He believed the college, home to a £35m Learning Exchange centre, in Roscoe Street and four main city centre campuses: Arts Centre, Clarence Street, Duke Street and Vauxhall Road, would move forward and added: “The college plays a great role in city life and will continue to do so.”
The college is changing its name to City of Liverpool College to reflect its business links. And in the past 12 months it has embarked on unprecedented expansion and became one of the country’s biggest providers of apprentice training after purchasing the majority of the business of training provider First4Skills.
Staff have contacted the Post to express concern at the rate of expansion, which one employee branded “growth at any cost”.
Principal Elaine Bowker was appointed in the summer of 2011 and inspectors said there were signs of success rates improving due to action taken under her tenure.
The college said it accepts Ofsted’s findings and stressed that “there are numerous positive elements within it”.
A spokesman said: “All of our team is completely committed to improving every aspect of college life for our students and this includes improving our Ofsted rating.”
Read the full report here: http://bit.ly/GQtkP2