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Ofsted finds Hadlow College has made 'reasonable progress' since financial crisis emerged

A scandal-hit college which became the first in the country to enter education administration has made "reasonable progress" since the crisis emerged, according to inspectors.

Education secretary Damian Hinds took the unprecedented step earlier this year of applying to the courts for Hadlow College to go through a new insolvency regime.

An administrator was then appointed after the college suspended both its chief executive Paul Hannan and deputy chief executive Mark Lumsdon-Taylor amid an investigation into its finances.

However, a monitoring visit from Ofsted on June 20 and 21 found interim principal Graham Morley, "supported effectively by the educational administrators, senior leaders and the advisory group, has made sure that the education of students at the college has not been adversely affected" by the crisis.

A report published today also makes it clear that students enjoy lessons and benefit from "high-quality resources and equipment", often growing in confidence throughout their courses.

Bosses have also planned carefully to improve student retention, which had declined since 2016/17, with learners benefitting from improved initial advice to make sure that they are more aware of the requirements of their vocational courses.

"Leaders and managers identified the times when students would be most at risk of leaving their courses and introduced inspirational talks prior to these points," inspectors added.

Hadlow College. Picture: Wayne McCabe
Hadlow College. Picture: Wayne McCabe

As a result of recent changes, substantially more students are staying at the college to complete their courses than in 2017/18.

The report also notes that students feel safe and know how to report concerns, and feel safe from radicalisation and extremism, a threat which one Maidstone school with children as young as two was recently told it was not doing enough to combat.

"Although students on equine studies courses understand this in detail, other students are less clear about how radicalisation and extremism may affect their day-to-day work," the Hadlow report said.

News from our universities, local primary and secondary schools including Ofsted inspections and league tables can be found here.

Read more: All the latest news from Tonbridge

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