From education to employment

College Turns Around and Signs Important Partnership Agreement

Bexley College failed its Ofsted inspection two years ago,writes Manju Rani for FE News.

Since then, the college has, to some extent, reversed its fortunes. Not only has the college found to be performing satisfactorily by inspectors in their latest Ofsted inspection, but the college has also announced a new foundation degree partnership with L”Oréal, which should prove an exciting venture for the college if it continues to improve its provision and service.

Turned Around

In 2004 Bexley College received a dismal report from Ofsted inspectors but this year Bexley College received a more successful inspection across all levels. Also this year, the College has forged a new partnership with the Professional Products Division of L”Oréal over a new foundation degree in the business management of hairdressing salons. The College aims to continue its commitment to improving its provision.

Robert Soutar, National Account Controller of L”Oréal ‘s Professional Products Division, welcomed the partnership. He commented: “With its investment in state-of-the-art facilities for hair and beauty, Bexley College has shown a firm desire to become a market leader for learning in our sector. L”Oréal has been very impressed by the enthusiasm of the College’s teachers in responding so flexibly to our needs, for example by agreeing to come and teach in our London headquarters.”

Bridget Boreham, the Principal of Bexley College, welcomes the agreement and said: “The ground-breaking partnership with L”Oréal signals our determination to work even more closely with businesses to tackle the skills and sustainable employment needs of Bexley and the wider region.”

Good, With a But”¦

Although Ofsted found the College to be improving satisfactorily at all levels, the report also noted areas that required improvement. Ofsted reported that “overall, learners” achievements are satisfactory, although the proportion of learners aged 16-18 who complete their courses successfully remains unsatisfactory.” This may prove difficult for Bexley College’s partners L”Oréal in regards to the foundation degree in the business management of salons, particularly as the College’s low success rates on GNVQ business and level 3 management courses was reported as a concern in Ofsted’s recent inspection.

Two years on from an initially poor inspection, Bexley College have turned things around and forged a partnership with an internationally acclaimed company, but there is still much more to be done. Colleges who are failing in the eyes of Ofsted inspectors should take heed in light of the Government’s proposal to give “inadequate” colleges a year to turn themselves around before imposing harsh measures.

As a college experienced in turning themselves around after falling short of Ofsted performance standards, Bexley College have expressed their concerns over the insufficient time given for colleges to makes the necessary changes.

Manju Rani

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