I WRITE in response to the letter from Stanley Mounsey published in the Observer (January 6) and the Ofsted report for Sussex Coast College published on the same day.
My first thought is that it serves no purpose to make otiose comments about the rights and wrongs of Ofsted inspections in an attempt to rubbish one institution (Ofsted) to save the face of another, or to attempt to lessen the impact of what is a very disappointing report.
My experience of inspections is that they are thorough and fair. What they are also good at is getting past the gloss of décor and rhetoric to expose the truth about what they are inspecting.
That said I have to agree with Mr Mounsey that it is sad that Mr Patel had so little time to make differences in his post as principal of the college.
I know from personal experience how difficult it is to deliver education when others in the organisation are more concentrated on bums on seats, making money and ‘running the organisation as a business’ than delivering education.
It should not be forgotten that the college is entrusted with our future – the young people of the town – short-changed so often in education right through the school system.
We should not be looking only to the college to pick up the pieces when young people leave school at age 16 with reading ages of six to eight years and are then not able to access the college provision.
Additional learning support, a particular area of interest for me, should not be a broad brush covering a mix of learners, dyslexia, autism, social and emotional problems and concentration difficulties all need differentiating and approaching in different ways, rather than block courses designed to train all in one topic or subject.
The report, however damning, should be seen as constructive advice on what to address first and page six sets out concisely the need for good assessment, appropriate planning of teaching so that our young people stay focused and make progress towards their full potential, and clear guidance on their next education steps.
What is also clear is that we cannot continue with the status quo while the youth of our town, more than the national average of NEETs, slip into the ways of making wrong choices or depend on a future on benefits.
Meanwhile, education in Hastings continues to drive learners into my arms and I am very pleased and proud to say that I am able to help them. Their parents are my ‘inspectors’ and they all shower me with accolades. I can supply names and addresses.
Dyslexia Plus Hastings