Central Bedfordshire College is taking steps in the right direction after merger says Ofsted after previous 'requires improvement' rating

Central Bedfordshire College has gone some way to improve its Ofsted ranking, inspectors have found.
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Central Bedfordshire College has gone some way to improve its Ofsted ranking, inspectors have found.

In a monitoring visit following the college’s merger with the Bedford College Group in March this year, inspectors found significant progress in one area and reasonable progress in two further criteria.

The college had previously been rated as ‘requires improvement’.

Central Bedfordshire College has received a monitoring report from OfstedCentral Bedfordshire College has received a monitoring report from Ofsted
Central Bedfordshire College has received a monitoring report from Ofsted

In her report lead inspector Lynda Brown said: “The focus of this merged college monitoring visit was to evaluate the progress that leaders and managers have made in resolving the main areas for improvement identified at the previous inspection and progress in harmonising the Bedford College Group processes.”

During the inspection, there were eight apprentices enrolled at the college, 193 young people taking functional skills English, 327 taking functional skills mathematics, 366 taking GCSE English and 348 taking GCSE mathematics.

Ms Brown found there had been significant progress in safeguarding across the group.

She said: “Leaders have taken a measured and appropriate approach to harmonising safeguarding processes across the college group. They have reviewed policies and procedures and considered thoroughly how to create new policies that meet best practice across the group. Where appropriate, they have carefully planned areas for harmonisation, but have rightly delayed implementation until the start of a new academic year. This has allowed leaders to put in place transition activities to ensure that staff are prepared appropriately to use them confidently.

“Leaders and managers have a good understanding of the safeguarding risks in the geographical areas where the college works. They use this information successfully to inform staff and students of the risks in the areas that they live and study. Leaders have created a culture where staff can seek support confidentially.”

Reasonable progress has been taken to rectify the weaknesses identified in the apprenticeship provision,Ms Brown said.

“Leaders have focused on ensuring that the apprentices remaining on apprenticeship programmes benefit from a high-quality learning experience and are prepared appropriately for their final assessments. They have ensured that senior leaders are fully involved in the continuing programmes, and that the apprenticeships offered meet local employer and community skills needs. Apprentices are making good progress and most apprentices are close to completing their final assessments.”

English and mathematics is now a high priority and at Central Bedfordshire College, leaders have taken the decision to move functional skills teaching to the vocational teams and retain GCSE English and mathematics teaching within the specialist teams. Leaders intend to implement a new teaching model for English and mathematics across the group in the new academic year.

But Ms Brown found there was still some work to do. The report states tutors’ use of assessment in GCSE English and in functional skills English and mathematics is variable. Teachers do not routinely provide feedback to students in lessons so that they understand what they need to do to complete tasks, she said. As a result, students do not swiftly develop the skills and knowledge that they need. Students do not become confident in their own learning or make good progress in lessons.

Central Bedfordshire College has been approached for comment.

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