More improvement needed at Bideford College

Bideford College

Bideford College - Credit: Archant

Ofsted say college must do more to become ‘good’ school.

Bideford College

Bideford College - Credit: Archant

BIDEFORD College has been told it must do more to become a ‘good’ school.

Education inspectors say exam results and teaching are not up to scratch, and the school has not brought about sufficient improvements since its last inspection in 2011.

The college’s latest Ofsted report, published this week, says improvement is required in terms of pupil achievement, quality of teaching, and leadership and management.

The behaviour and safety of pupils was found to be ‘good’ during the two-day unannounced inspection earlier this month.

The report says: “Over time, progress has not been as rapid as it should be and students’ attainment in GCSE is below average. Attainment in the sixth form is also below average.

“There have been some improvements in GCSE results, but the rate of progress has not been as fast as it needs to be, especially in English.

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“Evidence shows that the quality of teaching is improving, but changes have taken too long so that the progress of students has not yet accelerated as fast as it needed to.”

Inspectors did say that most of the teaching in the 40 lessons they inspected was ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ but some was below standard.

They also said early indications pointed to an improvement in this year’s GCSE results, bringing them closer to national averages.

Lead inspector Ann Cox said principal Veronica Matthews was leading a ‘whole college drive to raise standards’.

She said: “Recent improvements to the leadership team have strengthened it and the college now has the capacity for further improvements to be made at a more rapid pace.

“Governors are very well informed about the work of the college and are realistic about the need to make further improvements.”

The team of six inspectors said students’ behaviour had improved since the last inspection and most were keen to learn and gain qualifications.

They found the atmosphere throughout the college to be ‘calm and purposeful’ and students to be proud of their new college building, which opened in 2010.

They said: “Students feel very safe in the college and bullying is rare.

“The staff and governors of the college are committed to ensuring the success of all students and are tackling the weaknesses with increasing speed and success.”

On its last inspection, Bideford was judged to be a ‘satisfactory’ school. Under new terminology introduced by Ofsted, the college is now described as ‘requiring improvement’.

It will need to be reassessed within the next 24 months.

College principal, Veronica Matthews, said she was heartened by the support of Ofsted for all that the college had done to bring it to this point and the endorsement of its own judgements and future plans.

“The current priorities include bringing all teaching up to the standard of the best and continuing the rapid drive for overall college improvement,” she said.

“There is no complacency here and Bideford College is determined to become an outstanding school.”

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