Damning report plunges Barnfield College into crisis

Barnfield College has been told that it needs to ‘urgently’ improve after Ofsted inspectors issued grave concerns over its current performance.

In a report published today the college was branded ‘inadequate’ and was told that it has no key strengths– while its leadership, teaching and pupil attainment were also said to be in freefall.

Attendance, punctuality and behaviour at the college are ‘poor’, the report adds.

The blow for Barnfield comes two months before new CEO and principal Tim Eyton-Jones takes the reins at the college, after he agreed to leave his current position as principal of John Ruskin College in South Croydon.

Since the departure of Sir Pete Birkett the college has had three temporary heads in the space of a year, with Monica Box the most recent interim principal.

These changes have had a destabilising effect on Barnfield, according to Ofsted.

The report read: “The college has been through a period of major change under the leadership of interim senior leaders and staffing levels have been reduced significantly.

“Despite managers now being clearer about the direction of the college, this change has been accompanied by a substantial decline in success rates because of inadequate teaching, learning and assessment.”

Inspectors added their significant concerns over the number of pupils gaining qualifications, largely caused by unambitious tutors.

The report read: “Teaching, learning and assessment are inadequate, which is reflected in the very low proportion of learners and apprentices who achieve their qualifications.

“Very few learners obtain high grades in their studies.

“Too few tutors and assessors have sufficiently high expectations of their learners.

“They do not plan lessons or training sessions that enable learners to make consistently good progress, both in lessons and with their qualifications. “The proportion of good or better teaching in the college is very low.”

College chair Robin Somerville blamed the findings on the former management of Barnfield.

He said: “The corporation fully accepts all the findings of the Ofsted inspectors.  

“This is an unacceptable failure by a significant majority of the previous management, governors and teaching staff. 

“On behalf of the college, I have apologised to students for that failure.

“What was particularly worrying is the degree to which Ofsted inspectors found that management was overconfident in their assessment of quality, leading governors into a false sense of security.”