A bid by West Cheshire College to be re-inspected following a controversial Ofsted visit has been unsuccessful.

The college was less than happy when an inspection shortly after it re-opened in September resulted in a grading of ‘Inadequate’.

Ofsted declined and is proceeding with re-inspection monitoring visits, the first of which took place in December.

HMI Derrick Spragg says the full inspection in September had found the effectiveness of the leadership and management of the college, the quality of teaching, learning and assessment and outcomes for students were inadequate.

Personal development, behaviour and welfare were said to require improvement.

Study programmes for students aged 16 to 19 were also inadequate and adult learning required improvement. Apprenticeships were described as good.

The inspector says he looked at the progress which governors, leaders and managers have made in producing and implementing a clear action plan.

Action plan 'over long'

Governors had been ‘surprised’ that predicted performance, of which they had been informed prior to the full inspection, had turned out to be over optimistic.

This underlined the need for action to be based on accurate and measurable information he suggested.

Wherever possible governors needed to be ‘more aware’ of learners’ experience in the college.

The inspector describes the action plan produced by the college as ‘over long’ and says it does not prioritise the actions that will make the biggest difference.

An additional document is also described as ‘very long’ with key aspects missing.

The inspector comments that, as a result, it is difficult to see quickly how well the college’s actions are making a difference for current learners.

The plan had not yet been approved by the governors and it was not clear to governors, managers, staff or learners what was expected.

Plan should be 'revised urgently'

Overall the inspector believes it is not clear how progress at the college can be monitored effectively or how actions and intended outcomes will be judged to have been effective.

He suggests the plan should be revised urgently.

Elsewhere in his detailed nine page letter, the inspector says managers have not yet identified and measured the college’s current position, improvements to further develop high quality impartial careers guidance are not specific enough and measures relating to destinations which students move on to are too general.

The inspector laid out 32 priorities for improvements at the college.

In his welcome on the college website, principal Nigel Davies says: “As a college we strive to maximise the role we play regionally, nationally and internationally and endeavour to enhance the learning experience for students with access to the best learning and education opportunities possible.

“Our overarching mission is to be recognised as an exceptional college that provides life changing skills and experiences for all our stakeholders, including individuals, businesses and communities.”

The college, whose chairman is former Chester MP Christine Russell, also provides training and apprenticeships to small to medium-sized businesses as well as the region’s largest companies including Vauxhall, Unilever, Marks and Spencer, Debenhams, the NHS and Scottish Power.