Bath College comments on publication of Ofsted report 29th January
Following an inspection on 17 to 20 October 2023 by Ofsted, inspectors have given the college an overall grade of 'requires improvement'.
Commenting on the report, which is published today, 29th January 2024, Principal Jayne Davis said:
"We're naturally disappointed that the Ofsted judgement is not the Good grade we were expecting, and we are working on the issues raised in the report. While we are pleased that inspectors recognised the strength of our education programmes for young people, our subcontracting partnerships, the quality of our work with high needs students and the positive behaviour and attitudes of our students, there is progress to be made elsewhere. The college is therefore addressing those areas identified as requiring improvement.”
As the Ofsted report itself states:
- 'Leaders and managers have started to take appropriate actions to improve the curriculum planning and monitoring of progress for apprenticeships, but these improvements are new and have yet to have an impact.’
- 'Leaders have recognised previous weaknesses in high needs provision and managers have taken action to make improvements that are now having a positive impact on learners with high needs.'
Bath College’s current and planned actions to address challenges identified by Ofsted include:
- Programmes to provide specific support to staff in areas where skills support has been identified, including a new process where a team of experts will be meeting with all areas which need additional help regularly to ensure that the provision is supported, challenged and improves at pace.
- Additional development support for staff, including a new mentor programme.
- Application of new software to enable a consistent approach to monitoring progress reviews in all our apprenticeship programmes.
- Restructuring of our Business Development team under new leadership to create more opportunities for a diverse range of work-related activities for students and learners and greater employer input into curriculum design.
- Revised teaching and learning strategy.
- A new structure for Student Services.
- New ways of working virtually and more innovatively with microbusiness to ensure they have a full part in developing the curriculum.
The report does identify a wide range of strengths within the college, including:
- 'most learners and apprentices enjoy their experience at the college because teachers create a welcoming and inclusive environment'
- ‘learners and apprentices treat each other and staff with respect and work well together’
- 'young learners and learners with high needs develop the skills they need to progress to their next steps, including further and higher education and employment'
- ‘most teachers are experienced in the subjects that they teach, and most use this well to enrich their lessons’
- ‘most teachers of young learners, adult learners and learners with high needs use well planned teaching activities and present information clearly to help learners to learn key concepts’
- ‘teachers provide learners with useful opportunities to practise their learning to help build their long term memory’
- ‘leaders have ensured that the principles and requirements of an apprenticeship have been met’
- ‘the large majority of teachers know their learners and apprentices well’
- ‘leaders and managers work well with a number of subcontractors’
- ‘leaders and managers have developed an appropriate and varied specialist curriculum that provides a range of suitable pathways for learners with high needs’
- ‘staff place high importance on attendance and punctuality and monitor this closely’
- ‘leaders provide access to careers advisors for all learners and apprentices’.
Chair of Governors Andy Salmon said:
“While we recognise that there are legitimate challenges within the report and would want an Ofsted re-inspection as soon as possible to demonstrate our progress in those areas, it is also important to say that the inspection and appeals process, as has been highlighted in recent months, does not allow for a nuanced and balanced view of an institution. It also places significant pressure on the many staff involved and we would like to take this opportunity to thank those staff and other partners who supported the college in the inspection and for all they do for the local area and region's young people, adults, apprentices, distance learners, community learners, high needs learners. Our focus now is on addressing the challenges swiftly and build on the strengths.”