College has improved but is still not ‘good’

Sarah Wright, principal of Central Sussex College
Sarah Wright, principal of Central Sussex College

Improvements to teaching at Central Sussex College were not enough to see its Ofsted rating rise.

A team of inspectors visited the college, in Crawley, over several days in October and rated it ‘requires improvement’ in all areas except apprenticeships, which were found to be ‘good’.

While recognising teaching had improved since the previous inspection, the report said it was not yet consistently good.

In addition, too many students were found to be missing lessons, particularly in English and maths, which meant their progress was being inhibited.

The inspectors recognised that students in their second year at the Haywards Heath campus were being “supported well” to achieve their goals before its closure in the summer of 2017.

The inspectors praised the work of principal Sarah Wright and her leadership team to stabilise the finances since it was discovered in 2013 that the college was £25million in debt.

Describing their efforts as “resolute and successful”, the report stated: “The principal, senior leaders and governors demonstrate an unwavering commitment to securing the college’s future, and have done everything they can to put the college on a secure financial footing while also seeking to improve the quality of provision.”

However, the inspectors felt the progress made by those involved in ensuring the future sustainability of the college had been “very slow”.

Ms Wright said: “We are pleased that Ofsted recognised the progress the college has made since our last inspection.

“The report recognised that the vast majority of students now achieve their main qualification, that the quality of apprenticeships in the college is good, and that students develop good practical skills in an environment which has a strong focus on enterprise, careers and employer engagement, and which is characterised by very good student conduct and mutual respect and tolerance of others.”

She added: “We are now determined to continue to improve in the weaker areas that the inspection highlights and are confident that we can achieve at least a ‘good’ rating at our next inspection.”