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Moulton College principal resigns after Ofsted warns students are at risk

Serious safety concerns at the specialist land college contributed to it being rated 'inadequate'

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Serious safety concerns at the specialist land college contributed to it being rated 'inadequate'

The principal of Moulton College, Stephen Davies, has resigned in the wake of a damning Ofsted inspection report and will leave by the end of this month, it was announced today.

In a statement, the college in Northamptonshire said: “Following its disappointing recent Ofsted inspection, Moulton College’s principal, Stephen Davies, has offered his resignation, which has been accepted by the board of governors. Both parties have reached an amicable settlement which allows an orderly separation at the end of April, and the board wishes Stephen well."

The decision comes after an Ofsted inspection report released last week rated the specialist FE college as "inadequate" and warned that “learners are not safe” due to serious health and safety concerns.

The college had been rated as "requires improvement" in its previous inspection in 2016. Its leadership were criticised for being “been too slow to respond to the areas for improvement identified at the previous inspection” and “overly generous in their self-assessment” of the college’s performance.

Ofsted found the quality of much of the teaching “not good enough”, and inspectors said: “Teachers’ expectations of students are too low, and, consequently, many students engage in low-level misbehaviour both in and out of lessons."

Students 'not safe'

The report warned: “Not all students and apprentices are safe when undertaking activities at the college." The college offers courses in subjects such as animal management, construction, equine studies, agriculture and countryside management.

“Senior managers do not manage health and safety practices across the college effectively. The curriculum includes a number of highly dangerous vocational areas, and learners are not safe. Inspectors identified a number of serious breaches to health and safety regulations and a number of instances where practice was unsafe,” according to the report.

It stated that college needed to "take immediate action to ensure that all learners are safe during all activities".

'Honoured and privileged'

Mr Davies, who offered his resignation last Friday, said: “The time is now right for the college to look towards a different leadership approach."

He added: “I feel honoured and privileged to have worked with such a brilliant group of staff whose hard work and commitment has helped to change the lives of many thousands of young people and adults."

During the seven years he has been in post, the college has suffered financial problems so serious that they resulted in an intervention by the FE commissioner last year. Echoing concerns over the management of the college, skills minister Anne Milton warned Robin Thompson, the chair of governors, last September, that “it is essential that you effectively deliver your quality improvement plan to secure an improved grade at your next inspection”.

Deputy principal Gerald Davies will become acting principal while the college’s governing body looks to appoint an experienced interim principal. The college said that governors, managers and staff “will now solely focus on continuing to address any shortcomings highlighted by the inspectors” as well as “delivering the best possible outcomes for students”.

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