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Bucks college fails second inspection

A college judged inadequate by inspectors two years ago has become the first in the country to fail its re-inspection.

Aylesbury college in Buckinghamshire is castigated in a report published today for failing to raise its performance since May 2002.

Principal Pauline Odulinski has been given six months to make improvements by the Learning and Skills Council.

Consultants from the Centre for Excellence in Leadership and the Department for Education and Skills' standards unit will help deal with the management's weaknesses.

Aylesbury was one of 13 general FE colleges to fail inspections in 20012, but is the only one considered not to have made satisfactory progress since.

Christine Doubleday, director of LSC's Milton Keynes, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire district, said an emergency 12-point action plan has been put in place to help the college's recovery.

"The inspection report highlights certain areas of inadequacy and we have made it quite clear we will not tolerate poor quality provision," she said.

Ms Doubleday added: "We have confidence that the current senior management team can make progress.

"We will conduct a mock inspection in six months time when we will expect some early improvements to be evident."

Ms Odulinski said she will continue to lead the college: "The LSC has given me every indication that they have full confidence in me, as have the college's board."

She said the senior management team is to be restructured and an assistant principal recruited to focus on quality and standards.

A team of inspectors from the Office for Standards in Education and the Adult Learning Inspectorate re-inspected Aylesbury in May. The report says:

"Too many of the key weaknesses identified in 2002 have not been addressed adequately. In some curriculum areas many of the previously identified strengths are now areas of concern. Overall, the quality of teaching and learning has not improved since the last inspection."

Ms Odulinski said she was disappointed by the report's tone which contrasted "markedly with the encouraging findings of a re-inspection monitoring visit" which took place 10 weeks previously.

The re-inspection report of another college judged to be failing two years ago was published today. Inspectors reported that Westminster Kingsway college in London has made good progress.

Frances White, the vice-principal, said: "The 2002 report happened not very long after the merger of two highly complex institutions whose achievements were modest. Procedures were in place but the effects were not seen at the time of inspection. The benefits are now apparent."

Richard Williams, the principal at the time of both inspections, left the college in July. Andy Wilson, his successor, is the former deputy principal at Ealing, Hammersmith and West London college.

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