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Ofsted inspectors note improvements at Amersham and Wycombe College

James Harrison

Reporter:

James Harrison

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‘Significant progress’ has been made in turning around the fortunes of a struggling college.

Amersham and Wycombe College was branded 'Inadequate' last year, following an inspection by schools watchdog Ofsted.

The further education college, which has more than 3,000 pupils, about a third of whom are based at a campus in Spring Lane, Flackwell Heath, was blasted in a range of areas, including its finances and the quality of its teaching.

But following a return visit last month, about nine months after it received the rating, assessors were satisfied it was addressing problems in all seven areas identified.

“I am delighted that the remarkable efforts made by staff in securing substantial improvements have been recognised by Ofsted,” said the college’s interim principal Jackie Watt, who took up the role at the end of the last academic year.

“Our students have responded positively and this bodes well for their own success.

“The latest findings illustrate real progress since the Ofsted report was published last year.”

June’s inspection raised concerns about a range of issues affecting the college, including its finances and the quality of its teaching.

But the report’s strongest criticism was of leadership and governance at the school, which was branded ‘not fit for purpose’.

However, a monitoring report released in October noted the appointment of a new chairman and vice-chairman of governors, helping establish a ‘strong leadership team for the college’.

February’s visit touched on this again, stating its success and the ‘mutual respect between staff and managers at all levels’ that seemed to have developed as a result.

Progress was also observed in efforts to improve the quality of teaching, particularly in maths, although inspectors also conceded it was too early to assess the effectiveness of some new measures.

Visit www.reports.ofsted.gov.uk to read the report in full.

Consultations are currently ongoing on the prospect of a merger between Amersham and Wycombe College with Aylesbury College.

If approved, courses would still be run from all three campuses operated by the two colleges, including the Flackwell Heath site.

A decision on the scheme is expected by the end of May.

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