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Shrewsbury college rated inadequate by Ofsted

By Dominic Robertson | Shrewsbury | Education | Published:

Inspectors have told a Shropshire college it must improve after rating it inadequate in their latest report.

Shrewsbury Colleges Group

Ofsted has concluded that Shrewsbury Colleges Group is inadequate in two areas, 'behaviour and attitudes' and 'leadership and management', although inspectors did rate the organisation as good in six other categories, including 'quality of education' and 'personal development'.

The overall effectiveness rating was 'inadequate'.

James Staniforth, principal of Shrewsbury Colleges Group said they were "bitterly disappointed" at some of the findings – particularly in relation to safeguarding.

The college had asked Ofsted to reopen the inspection over its concerns about the judgement in relation to safeguarding.

The government watchdog did agree to do so but has not changed the outcome of its report.

Mr Staniforth said: “On behalf of our excellent staff, who work so hard to ensure that students are safe, we are bitterly disappointed that the inspection team judged that arrangements for safeguarding are not effective.

“We are surprised by the judgement, given the wealth of evidence presented to Ofsted about our effective safeguarding processes and a recent independent safeguarding review of the college which concluded that the college is one of the safest in the country.

“We particularly cannot understand how Ofsted can disregard the expert view of the police when it comes to the safety of the college and the effectiveness of our practices."

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The principal did however welcome Osfted's assessments of other areas of the organisation.

He said: "Nevertheless, we are pleased that Ofsted rated all the other elements of the college as good – including the quality of education, personal development, education programmes for young people, adult learning programmes, apprenticeships and provision for students with high needs.

“They rightly recognise that the college is ‘clearly focused on delivering a wide-ranging curriculum that is available to all and meets the needs of students and apprentices including those who have high needs.

“We are confident that when a fresh Ofsted inspection team comes into the college, they will agree with the wide range of experts who say our college is safe."

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The Ofsted report stated: "Not all students feel safe in the college. Leaders and managers have not taken sufficient steps to help ensure the safety of students."

It does praise the college for its curriculum and for its work with employers.

It states: "Leaders and managers are clearly focused on delivering a wide-ranging curriculum that is available to all and meets the needs of students and apprentices, including those who have high needs.

"They work effectively with local schools, employers and other stakeholders to ensure that the curriculum offer is broad enough to meet the identified local and regional skills shortages."

However, it adds: "Leaders and managers have not set high enough expectations for all students and apprentices. The large majority of students achieve their qualifications, but this is not consistently the case for apprentices and adult students."

The college has roundly disputed the findings in relation to safeguarding with Mr Staniforth highlighting an independent review carried out at the request of the Education and Skills Funding Agency, which concluded that ‘campuses are safe places to learn, work and to visit’, ‘there is a strong culture of safeguarding’, ‘every effort has been made to ensure safe sites and safe students and staff’ and the college is ‘one of the safest in the country’.

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