Sussex Coast College handed “inadequate” rating

27/4/11- Sussex Coast College, Hastings
27/4/11- Sussex Coast College, Hastings

AN OFSTED report into Sussex Coast College has revealed a catalogue of failings after inspectors handed it an “inadequate” rating.

The report published this week comes three weeks after former principal Janak Patel resigned from his role as the head of the multi-million facility in Station Plaza.

Inspectors went into the building in November and assessed the performance of staff, students, senior management and governors.

The summary of their findings included: success rates were well below the national average, inadequate provision for maths, science and skills for life, too few teachers planning class tasks, teachers returning work late with inadequate feedback, and information, advice and guidance for students was inadequate.

The report stated that although “some good classroom practice exists across the college, but too few teachers plan activities and tasks sufficiently well to extend students’ knowledge and practical abilities and to ensure they make good or better progress.”

The improvements that students wanted to see included: the organisation of teaching so there is better cover for absent staff, fewer timetable clashes and less changing of classrooms, better preparation for further and higher education and better course administration particularly relating to enrolment procedures.

The report also commented on Mr Patel’s role. It read: “The principal has involved the staff fully in developing a new vision for the college. He has clear priorities for its future and the community it serves.

“However the college is in the early stages of recovery and does not yet have a settled senior leadership team.

“In two of the four subject areas inspected, leadership and management were judged to be inadequate.

“Governors have not been sufficiently rigorous in the monitoring of the college’s performance.”

Students were complimentary about a number of issues including how friendly and supportive the staff were, the availability of the Principal and senior managers, the facilities and equipment, the range of sporting activities, the safe environment and small class sizes.

Interim principal Bill Grady has been given the task of raising standards sufficiently before inspectors return later this year.

Mr Grady said: “Sussex Coast College recognises its commitment to driving up standards within its teaching and learning and acknowledges the findings of the report made by Ofsted.

“A post Ofsted plan has been implemented along with other significant appointments within its senior leadership team, namely a new deputy principal and an interim principal.

“Both come with years of experience in dealing with colleges in similar situations.

“Despite Ofsted’s grading, 75 per cent of our students achieve their intended qualifications and in some areas the college can celebrate outstanding success rates.

“We are confident that we can make significant progress within the next 12 months.”

Chair of the board of governors Pat Farmer was unavailable to comment.