Suffolk

Easton and Otley College second inadequate Ofsted rating

Easton & Otley College students in field Image copyright @EastonOtley
Image caption Otley College, near Ipswich, and Easton College, near Norwich, merged to create one institution in 2012

A rural higher education college has been rated inadequate by inspectors for a second year.

Easton & Otley College, which has 5,000 students at campuses in Norfolk and Suffolk, trains people in subjects like farming, health and engineering.

The Ofsted report said, despite "significant" progress, it was failing.

Principal Jane Townsend said October's inspection, five months after the last report, may have come "too soon" to "capture improvements" it had made.

Image copyright @EastonOtley
Image caption Floristry, Equine Studies and Conservation are three courses available at the college

Too many students do not achieve their qualifications or leave programmes early, according to the Ofsted report into last month's inspection.

Many teachers were found to have low expectations of students, with tasks and activities being "too easy".

It also found the majority of students and apprentices did not improve on their maths or English qualifications.

As well as traditional agricultural subjects such as Gamekeeping or Agricultural Engineering, the college also offers other "land-based" courses such as Sport, Adult Learning, or Crime, Terrorism & Global Security.

Image caption Arboriculture students show off their tree-climbing skills at the Suffolk Show

Ms Townsend said that since April's report on a 2017 visit "management and staff have been hard working to stabilise in the wake of substantial change" after Ofsted said they had made insufficient progress in safeguarding, quality of teaching, and attendance or behaviour.

She added that "parents and students had no reason to feel concerned or anxious in any way about the future of the college".

The college was praised for the quality of its apprenticeship schemes with most students able to develop "a high standard of practical and vocational skills".

Governors, leaders and managers had good links with employers and had "designed a bespoke curriculum to meet regional labour markets and skills gaps".

There was also praise for provision for learners with special educational needs who were found to "make good progress" at the college.

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