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Flexibility bends it for top college

Our thoughts must be with David Collins - the principal of South Cheshire college, which had turned itself into Ofsted's favourite by daring to be different. David had attributed his success to a number of things including, crucially, the college's willingness to say no to those areas it felt it wasn't supposed to be covering.

That meant not taking part in "increased flexibility" - the teaching of "vocationally-inclined" schoolchildren - a subject covered in more detail on page 5.

Oh, how the DfES must have squirmed.

So Ofsted's latest report, which puts South Trafford college in Manchester top of the table, with "outstanding" grades across the board (see page 3) must have come as a blessed relief. South Trafford, after all, plays the game on increased flexibility.

Imagine the delight on ministers' faces as they discovered that increased flexibility's most respected critic has been knocked from his pedestal.

The inspectorate has truly redeemed itself. Is it me, or is there a whiff of conspiracy?

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