The Sheffield College admits more needs to be done as Ofsted demands improvement for third time

The Sheffield College has been told to quicken the pace of change as Ofsted inspectors demand that standards improve for the third time running.

Monday, 28th October 2019, 11:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 29th October 2019, 5:32 pm
The Sheffield College has been rated 'requires improvement' for the third time running

The further education college, which has around 16,000 students, has been rated 'requires improvement' - the second lowest of four possible grades given by the education watchdog.

The latest report, which focuses more on the curriculum in line with new education inspection framework, found the establishment ‘requires improvement’ in five of the eight assessed criteria with its adult learning programmes, behaviour and attitudes and personal development rated as ‘good’.

It highlights progress made since the last inspection in January 2018, noting action taken by senior leaders to address ‘significant weaknesses’ in the quality of education for learners and apprentices.

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Chief executive and principal of The Sheffield College Angela Foulkes

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Inspectors also recognised the introduction of focused professional development to encourage teachers to be more ‘innovative’ in their teaching but added it is too soon to judge the impact of that across many areas.

They also praised the new executive leadership team for successfully improving the quality of adult education since the last full inspection.

Angela Foulkes, Chief Executive and Principal of the college, said: “We are pleased that Ofsted has recognised our students enjoy their studies, feel safe and receive good pastoral support and that we have successfully improved adult education. We are committed to being a consistently great college and our staff are working hard on the areas that are not yet good.”

However, the report says that although some vocational study programmes, such as sport, media and hairdressing, are planned well to enable learners to acquire knowledge in a few subjects, such as carpentry and joinery, there is a ‘lack of ambition’ in terms of what teachers expect from pupils.

Seb Schmoller, Chair of The Sheffield College Governing Body, said: “For the last 18 months we’ve been working very hard to ensure that Sheffield, its citizens and our partners have a college of which they can be truly proud. This inspection - under Ofsted’s new and markedly different inspection framework - has given us valuable insights into the progress we are making.

“It has confirmed to us the main areas where improvement is needed and it has given us confidence that the approach our staff have been taking in the relatively short period since the current senior team has been in post is the right one. There is still much to do; but we are doing it.”

To improve, inspectors have advised that the pace of improvement at The Sheffield College quickens, especially in the quality of education that most learners and apprentices experience.

The proportion of learners and apprentices successfully completing their course must improve rapidly and those with high needs who study vocational course receive the support they need.

The college was also rated 'requires improvement' when it was last inspected in 2018, and prior to that in 2016.