College turnaround ‘down to hard work of new top team’
Principal hails ‘great achievement’ of rating
Canterbury College’s new management team has effected an immediate reversal of its fortunes after receiving a “good” Oftsed rating.
After a succession of inspections rated the college as “requires improvement”, the education watchdog upped its grading after a visit to the New Dover Road campus in February.
East Kent College principal Graham Razey replaced Alison Clarke after she left as principal in July with the institution penniless and suffering academically.
Mr Razey said: “It a great achievement and is testament to the hard work and dedication of our staff.
“The report specifically states we share a determination to improve students’ opportunities and experiences, which is what we set out to achieve. We look forward to an exciting future and will build on this excellent progress.”
Ofsted graded seven out of eight inspection areas as good, saying that “highly capable senior leaders, directed by an inspirational principal, have had a rapid and significantly positive impact on the culture of the college and on the quality of teaching and learning”.
As inspectors visited the college in February, the Further Education Commissioner published a report which concluded that the organisation had been plunged into financial ruin under the leadership of its “controlling and dictatorial” previous principal.
The commissioner also noted that Ms Clarke’s style of leadership left colleagues “petrified into dysfunction” as the college ran out of money in July and had to ask the Skills Funding Agency for help paying staff.
His report added that the college’s governing body had failed to hold the previous leadership properly to account.
Colin Carmichael, the governing body chairman, said he was pleased with the efforts to turn the college around.
“Remarkable progress has been made since we appointed the new management team last summer, and it is very good to see the experience and learning opportunities for our students improving all the time,” he said.
“And we as governors are, of course, delighted with Ofsted’s view of the college.”
Mr Razey is principal of both Canterbury College and East Kent College and is overseeing the proposed merger of the two.
The public consultation process started earlier this month wit the aim of a formal merger by August 1.