The Sheffield College sets out action plan after Ofsted demands improvement

Angela Foulkes, principal and acting chief executive at The Sheffield College
Angela Foulkes, principal and acting chief executive at The Sheffield College
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The Sheffield College has pledged to increase support for teachers as it calls on students to help it make the improvements demanded by Ofsted.

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

The Sheffield College has around 16,000 students

The Sheffield College has around 16,000 students

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The latest report, published today, finds improvement is needed in six out of eight categories, with only apprenticeships and provision for learners with high needs judged to be 'good' - exactly the same as when it was last inspected in 2016.

Angela Foulkes, principal and acting chief executive at the college, said it had already taken steps to address the shortcomings and further action is planned.

"One of the big changes we're making is to increase our investment in staff providing targeted support for teachers who are maybe good but could be doing better, or are doing OK but could be good or better," she said.

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"We already have a number of those roles but our plan is to have many more so there's extra support for teachers from expert practitioners."

She added that it was seeking to improve the information it has about students' needs before they arrive in September, so it can prepare a more tailored package of support.

And she said leaders were working more closely with the students' union to find out where and how students believe improvements can be made.

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Ms Foulkes only joined the college last September as principal but was forced to step up to become acting chief executive when Paul Corcoran resigned with immediate effect in November.

Richard Wright then stepped down as chairman of the college's governing body in January, with their departures following the announcement last year of a major shake-up to cut spending on leadership and administration so more could be invested in teaching.

Ms Foulkes said she was pleased Ofsted had 'acknowledged the college's strengths' but recognised there was work to do.

"It's really about improving the consistency when it comes to some of the good things we've done over the last couple of years," she added.

Inspectors, who visited the college in January, found that too few students are achieving their qualifications, the quality of teaching is 'not consistently good' and students' English and maths skills are developing too slowly.

"Governors, senior leaders and managers have been slow to address many of the weaknesses identified at the previous inspection," the report stated.

"Following recent changes to personnel in the governing body and senior leadership team, they now have a good understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the college."

The college, which runs full and part-time academic, vocational and professional courses for young people and adults, offering A-levels, apprenticeships and degrees, was last rated 'good' by Ofsted in 2013.

* You can read the full report at https://reports.ofsted.gov.uk/inspection-reports/find-inspection-report/provider/ELS/130531.