Col­lege turn­around ‘down to hard work of new top team’

Prin­ci­pal hails ‘great achieve­ment’ of rat­ing

Kentish Gazette Canterbury & District - - Frankly Speaking - By Alex Clar­idge aclar­idge@thek­m­ @clar­idgealex

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.

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