College acts after inspectors' critique

INSPECTORS say a Cambridgeshire college is failing to meet a satisfactory standard in more than a third of its subjects.

In a report out this month, Huntingdonshire Regional College was criticised for failing to provide effectively for students. Inspectors, who visited in March, found the college had taken too few steps to address problems identified in earlier inspections.

"Teaching and students' achievements are good in two of the areas inspected, satisfactory in three other areas and unsatisfactory in the remaining four," the report added.

Work-based learning programmes in business, hairdressing and engineering were deemed to be poor. Many students' progress was slow, and there were low rates of retention. Exam success rates for students aged 16 to 18 were low also. "I think it was a fair report on the college as it was," said Brian Howseman, acting principal of Huntingdonshire. "We are now working very hard to remedy all of the issues highlighted."

The college principal retired at the end of May, and a new principal has been appointed to take over from mid-October. College management is being examined.

Stephen Catchpole, executive director for the Cambridgeshire branch of the Learning and Skills Council, said: "I am confident that the efforts being made by the college's board of governors and the local LSC will lead to rapid improvement."

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