Peterborough Regional College told to improve after ‘sharp decline’ in results

Peterborough Regional College
Peterborough Regional College

Peterborough Regional College has been rated as ‘requires improvement’ by Ofsted after it noted a “sharp decline in achievement.”

The college, which has its campus in Park Crescent, has been told it needs to improve in seven out of eight areas, including outcomes for learners and apprenticeships.

College principal Terry Jones said the inspection was not a surprise as the college’s own self-assessment had come to the same conclusion.

He said: “Results have slightly been coming down over the years and we saw things we needed to fix.”

Mr Jones said between the previous Ofsted report in 2011 and the most recent one, the Government had made it compulsory for colleges to teach students English and maths, on top of their course, if they did not receive at least a C in the subjects at GCSE.

More resources have now been put into teaching the two subjects, with Mr Jones adding: “We have definitely arrested the decline and results will be better next time.”

The principal also declared that less apprenticeships will be sub-contracted to outside companies, so the college has more control over them, and he praised the role of the college’s governors, saying: “They are certainly challenging us very robustly. That’s why we are seeing improvements.”

College governor Ansar Ali, a Peterborough city councillor, said: “We have the systems in place to hopefully be on our way to a good report next time.”

A spokesperson for the college said it was in “complete agreement” with Ofsted’s rating, adding: “Achievement rates at PRC were allowed to decline over a long period,” but that the new governing team was making improvements.

She added: “The report also noted several strengths: partnerships, support arrangements for learners, meeting the needs of the local economy, progression into employment, improving practical vocational skills and the quality of our high needs programmes.”

Council leader Cllr John Holdich said the report was “disappointing,” adding that he hopes the college and council can work together to bring improvements.

Key points from the Ofsted report

. Outcomes were poor in 2015/16

. Governors have been “slow to challenge leaders to reverse the sharp decline in achievement.”

. The principal and new management are making improvements

. Too many learners do not attend lessons, especially in English and maths

. Vulnerable learners, and those returning to education, are well supported with qualifications