‘We feel strongly that it does not fairly reflect the evidence’

Ofsted’s inspection of Croydon College and Coulsdon Sixth Form College, conducted in February, resulted in an ‘Inadequate’ rating for the further education institutions

Here, in full, is the statement issued this morning on behalf of Caireen Mitchell, the principal and CEO of Croydon College, and Professor Tony Stevenson, the chair of governors:

We are extremely surprised and disappointed at the grading given to Croydon and Coulsdon Colleges following our Ofsted inspection in February. While we acknowledge there are improvements to be made at both colleges, we feel strongly that the grade given does not fairly reflect what inspectors experienced during their visit and the evidence we provided.

The very mixed profile of the inspection report, with two significant areas rated as ‘good’ and many positive comments about the quality of education and outcomes for all learners, does not align with the final grading delivered.

Ofsted’s concerns about the behaviours of a small number of learners are not behaviours we recognise on a day-to-day basis at our colleges. We raised our concerns directly with Ofsted and provided more evidence to address the areas highlighted.

In the report, Ofsted acknowledged many challenges faced by the College following the merger that took place just before the pandemic. We were very aware of a number of challenges that needed to be addressed but were hampered in our progress by the very real impact of the pandemic.

However, we are pleased to say improvements have been made and the impact is already being seen in the classroom and the overall experience for learners. It is important to note this inspection was based on attendance and achievement data from the first year back in the classroom after the pandemic in 2021-2022, which was a challenge for all schools and colleges. It does not reflect the positive standards evidenced in the current academic year.

We are very encouraged that our apprenticeship provision was rated as ‘good’; a very positive outcome for this specialist area which is an area of growth for the College.

Inspectors commented that apprentices ‘enjoy a curriculum that helps them develop highly relevant industry skills and behaviours’. They also commented that ‘Leaders and managers have a clear strategic priority for the college to provide a curriculum that meets local skills needs and those of the community’.

Given that we have over 2,500 adult learners at Croydon, which is over 50per cent of all our students, it is significant that inspectors rated this area as ‘good’ and recognise that, ‘Adult learners benefit from well-planned and taught courses.’

It is also notable that inspectors commented that ‘young students at the Croydon Campus mostly have a positive experience and welcome the chance to develop their knowledge and skills’.

Our priority has always been and will continue to be, our learners. All our staff work hard to ensure every single learner has a positive experience at college with successful outcomes. Inspectors stated very clearly that our safeguarding is effective, which is hugely important to us.

Focused: Tony Stevenson, chair of governors

We are focused on looking forward and want to reassure all our students, parents, employers and stakeholders that our senior leadership team, staff and our board of governors are wholly invested in securing rapid improvement.

The improvement plan we have put in place is already proving effective, attendance has improved significantly, and achievement has increased by at least 10per cent at the Coulsdon Campus in the January Exam series and is on track to reach the national average by the end of the academic year. We are disappointed that Ofsted could not take this improved position into account during the inspection, with its judgements being based on historic rather than current data.

Our ambition to be a ‘Good’ college remains at the forefront of our agenda – ensuring every student at Croydon and Coulsdon Colleges is given the opportunity to succeed and achieve their career ambitions.

We look forward to welcoming inspectors back to the College in six months and are confident they will see improvements are firmly embedded and continue to generate positive results.

Read more: #CroydonInCrisis: College given ‘Inadequate’ Ofsted rating

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1 Response to ‘We feel strongly that it does not fairly reflect the evidence’

  1. Gareth Barnes says:

    Thoroughly disgraceful Ofsted should be scrapped.

    These two educational establishments are EXCEPTIONAL. I know this first hand.

    Ofsted is the equivalent of giving parking attendants tasers. It’s a nasty little self-referential cult that has no place in modern Britain.

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