Principal pledges to 'deliver the improvements required' after grim Ofsted report for College of West Anglia - apprenticeship training the only bright note

PUBLISHED: 14:15 16 March 2017

The College of West Anglia. has been told it requires improvement in all areas apart from apprenticeships which are outstanding, according to Ofsted in March 2017. PHOTO: Steve Williams.

The College of West Anglia. has been told it requires improvement in all areas apart from apprenticeships which are outstanding, according to Ofsted in March 2017. PHOTO: Steve Williams.

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Too much teaching is not good enough at the College of West Anglia and students are falling below the national average according to a team of nine Ofsted inspectors who said it must improve.

The College of West Anglia. has been told it requires improvement in all areas apart from apprenticeships which are outstanding, according to Ofsted in March 2017. PHOTO: Steve Williams.The College of West Anglia. has been told it requires improvement in all areas apart from apprenticeships which are outstanding, according to Ofsted in March 2017. PHOTO: Steve Williams.

The college describes itself as “one of the most successful in the country” but Ofsted says the majority of the 5,000 students are not being taught at a standard expected.

One bright note, however, is the apprenticeship programme - which has 982 learners – that was rated as outstanding.

Matt Vaughan, lead inspector, said: “Too much teaching, learning and assessment is not good.

“Learners in subjects such as performing arts, engineering and early years make good progress and achieve their qualifications.

CWA Academy Trust chief executive David Pomfret. PHOTO: Ian BurtCWA Academy Trust chief executive David Pomfret. PHOTO: Ian Burt

“However, too many learners enrolled on study programmes and adult courses do not make the progress of which they are capable because teachers’ expectations of what they can achieve are too low.”

He said: “Attendance has improved on previous years but remains variable dependent on subject area and is too low in many subjects.”

He added that in adult learning programmes teachers relied too much on worksheets in lessons and as a result “learners tire of repetitive tasks that often fail to challenge them to excel”.

The college has been told it requires improvement in leadership, teaching, behaviour, welfare and outcomes for learners.

It is outstanding in apprenticeships.

Subjects that came under fire for not challenging learners to grasp the theory are English, mathematics, hairdressing, health and social care and business studies.

Subject teachers singled out for praise include catering, motor vehicle, engineering and animal care because they “link subject content closely to the practical tasks and “empower them to solve a broad range of demanding problems”.

Inspectors praised arrangements for safeguarding and noted that “staff demonstrate high levels of vigilance and awareness and have a sound understanding of potential safeguarding issues that learners and apprentices may face.

Understanding of domestic abuse and mental health issues is thorough, said Mr Vaughan.

Principal David Pomfret said his leadership team is “already taking steps to address the challenge of eradicating inconsistencies in the quality of teaching”.

He added: “We are absolutely committed to ensuring that all our learners are given the same opportunities to learn effectively and develop their skills to the levels seen by inspectors in some of our higher-performing curriculum areas.

“I am confident that, with the support of our dedicated and talented staff team, we will deliver the improvements required and return CWA to a “good” Ofsted grading at the earliest opportunity.”

• The college provides programmes in 15 subject areas across sites in Wisbech, King’s Lynn and Cambridge with a number of smaller community venues around Cambridgeshire and Norfolk.

• There are 2,852 learners within the 16 to 19 year old study programmes.

• There are 1,048 adults learners.

• There are 982 apprentices.

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