Central Bedfordshire College has been told it must improve following its latest inspection by Ofsted.
The college was graded as Requires Improvement after officers inspected in May.
In the report it says: “Leaders and managers have not taken sufficient action to prevent a decline in learners’ achievements. Consequently, the proportion of learners and apprentices who achieve their qualifications is low.
“Too much teaching, learning and assessment requires improvement.
“Staff do not ensure that learners attend regularly and this adversely affects the progress they make.”
The report did note the following strengths of Central Bedfordshire College: “Staff work hard to assure the well-being of all learners. As a result, most learners enjoy their time at college and they feel safe in an environment that is both inclusive and welcoming.”
The college was rated as Good for adult learning programmes and provision for learners with high needs.
The report said: “Leaders and managers need to work with teachers and learners to reverse the decline in learners’ achievements and ensure that learners and apprentices are successful in achieving their qualifications within the allocated time. As a matter of urgency, ensure that all learners attend their lessons regularly.
“Too many learners do not attend their lessons regularly. During inspection, only around two thirds of learners were present at observed lessons. In particular, attendance at English and mathematics functional skills and GCSE lessons was exceptionally low with fewer than half the learners present.
“The proportion of young learners who successfully achieve their qualifications has declined over time and is low. Too few learners enrolled on business, hairdressing, electrical installation and plumbing courses achieve their qualifications. However, most learners who study childcare, health and social care, catering and public services achieve.
“Not enough younger learners make progress beyond the minimum expectations of the qualifications; few excel.”
Central Bedfordshire College Principal, Ali Hadawi said: “We were naturally disappointed with the rating given by Ofsted in their recent inspection considering the glowing report we had in 2016. While we accept there are areas for improvement, we feel strongly the report doesn’t fully reflect the student experience at Central Bedfordshire College. Our student numbers are the highest they have been for three years and our financial stability allows us to maximise our learners’ experience.”
He continued: “We are pleased the inspectors commended the College for its focus on the wellbeing of students,. We understand the importance of feeling safe and welcome in College to both students and parents and this was further reinforced when our Student Services team was awarded the Professional Services Team of the Year Award by the Times Educational Supplement (TES).
“The report also highlights how well our learners gain ‘industry–specific practical skills’ for employment and how well the College has forged strong strategic partnerships with ‘prestigious employers’ which in turn provides great opportunities for our students.”
Mr Hadawi concluded: “We have already instigated our quality improvement plan and are confident that on their next visit Ofsted will see evidence of those developments. Parents and students can also be assured that our investment in the quality of teaching and learning has been strengthened which, when combined with our superb learning environment and employability focus, makes Central Bedfordshire College a solid choice for those young people collecting their GCSE results this week.”
The main college site is in Kingsway, Dunstable, there is one in Leighton Buzzard and five satellite campuses in the local area. It provides a range of post-16 education and training, including study programmes for young people, adult learning programmes and apprenticeships.