Home   Tonbridge   News   Article

West Kent and Ashford College bosses left baffled over Ofsted inspection grade

College bosses have been left baffled after receiving a 'Requires Improvement' grade from Ofsted, despite being rated 'Good' in six out of eight assessment areas.

Inspectors praised West Kent and Ashford College's quality of teaching, learning and assessment, effectiveness of leadership and management, personal development, behaviour and welfare and 16-19 study programmes after visiting the two sites in October.

The report highlighted how leaders have worked to re-establish links with the local and business community, and have helped improve the reputation of the college with nearby communities around both main sites.

West Kent College (5450813)
West Kent College (5450813)

This has resulted in an increasing number of students studying at the college after several years of declining numbers.

However, bosses were left scratching their heads after being graded 'Requires Improvement' overall, despite the largely positive feedback.

The grade profile is understood to be unprecedented among inspections on further education colleges.

Nevertheless, this rating demonstrated substantial progress from a previous inspection in 2013, when the college was branded 'Inadequate'.

Ofsted concluded that too many students aged 16 to 18 on level one and three diploma courses leave their course early and do not achieve their qualifications and that too few apprentices make the progress expected of them.

It also found results in GCSE Maths was too low and that too few assessors plan apprentices’ on and off-the-job training in consultation with employers.

Ashford College (5450811)
Ashford College (5450811)

However, bosses said they were frustrated to be told they require improvement in Outcomes for Learners, after Ofsted's chief inspector recently proposed less focus on headline data and reducing the weight on outcomes for students in inspections from September 2019.

Amanda Spielman's comments last month were welcomed by the college, which says it backs the notion that performance data should not come at the expense of quality teaching and learning.

Lindsay Pamphilon, group vice principal for Quality, Standards and Performance, said: “The college is delighted that teaching, learning and assessment is now judged to be good at West Kent and Ashford college, confirming the quality of experience that students receive whilst studying here.

"It is rewarding that the vast majority of our programmes – for 16-19 year olds, adults and students with additional needs – have been recognised as being Good.”

A spokesperson added: "Both the governors and senior management team of the college welcomed Ofsted’s recognition of these improvements, but expressed confusion with the overall grade of Requires Improvement, especially since the majority of grades were Good."

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More