A government minister has said that he is ‘encouraged’ by progress being made at Barnfield– nine months after the college was branded ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted.
In a letter to college chair Robin Somerville, skills minister Nick Boles MP welcomes moves taken by Barnfield’s leadership to address huge failings uncovered by Ofsted inspectors in January.
In a report of the visit the schools watchdog said that the college had no key strengths and found that attendance, punctuality and behaviour at Barnfield were ‘poor’.
In June a follow-up report suggested that improvements were beginning to be seen as the arrival of principal TimEyton-Jones had helped to “raise the standards of teaching” and had also served as a “catalyst for several staff to leave the college”.
The following month a government appointed further education advisor visited the college andfound that the leadership team has a ‘clear vision’ for the future.
She added that Barnfield has made “good progress in reviewing staff and removing those who were not willing to change the way they work”.
Mr Boles wrote to congratulate the college this week.
The MP said: “I am encouraged by the actions taken by Barnfield College to implement the necessary quality and financial improvements and welcome the FE Commissioner’s confidence that with the changes to the organisational structure, governance and financial controls put in place, Barnfield College can now sustain improvement.
“I wish you every success with the continued improvement of Barnfield College.”
Mr Eyton-Jones heralded the letter and report as a significant landmark.
He said: “This is excellent news for the college, wider community, local businesses we serve and, most importantly, the students.
“This is a major milestone in the college’s recent history and marks a positive transformation and direction we will be continuing to take Barnfield College to outstanding.”