Franklin staff angered as Ofsted judges college's effectiveness to be 'inadequate'
BOSSES at Grimsby's top-performing college are considering an appeal after its overall effectiveness was judged "inadequate" by Ofsted under new pilot inspection guidelines.
Franklin College principal Trevor Wray said he and other staff were "surprised and disappointed" by Ofsted's findings, released today.
He said staff were "devastated" at the verdict of the report, which had taken three months to be released compared to the usual one month.
The college agreed to be part of a new inspection system in which Ofsted is piloting a new framework to judge further education providers. It was the only sixth form to take part.
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In 2008, the college was judged as good with outstanding elements, and has been top of the Department For Education's North East Lincolnshire Key Stage Five league tables for the past five years.
Yet under the new framework, Franklin's overall effectiveness was judged as "inadequate", despite having recently received some of its highest-ever grades to date with January's modular AS and A-level results.
Great Grimsby MP Austin Mitchell spoke out in support of Franklin, saying it "asks more questions of the framework than of the college".
Out of the four categories, outcomes for learners and the effectiveness of leadership and management were judged "inadequate", despite the final category – the quality of teaching, learning and assessment – being "satisfactory".
It said that:
Success rates for AS-level students have been below the national average for three years.
The proportion of A*, A and B grades at AS and A-level is too low on many courses.
Lessons do not sufficiently support improvement in literacy, numeracy and oracy.
The management's vision for the future is not effectively communicated to staff.
The college has failed to improve quickly enough since the last inspection.
However, the report also made positive observations at the college.
Crucially, it said the college has introduced measures for improvement and that things are beginning to improve, but that it is "too early to judge".
Trevor Wray said that the report does not tell the whole story.
He argues that the new framework places too much emphasis on AS levels, the first year of A-levels.
The last 2008 inspection advised the college to improve the percentage of students completing certain AS-level courses, and the new report claims it has not done that.
"People drop AS-level courses for a number of reasons such as emotional, family, work or just to concentrate on their A-level subjects," he said.
"We have put measures in place to support students who need it and improved the enrolment process so that students are on the right course and stick with that course. It is just a shame that we have been judged compared with what we were, not on what we are now.
"We are consistently top of North East Lincolnshire's Key Stage Five performance tables and in the top 20 per cent of achievers nationally.
"This college is not 'inadequate' and the report is extremely frustrating."
Ofsted plans to implement the new framework in September, although it could still be altered.
"If they change the framework after this inspection, it will be some cold comfort," he added.
Mr Mitchell, echoing Mr Wray's sentiments, said: "What is 'inadequate' is the report.
"The college has always had a very good reputation and this report damages it unfairly."