A looser form of inspection for successful colleges is on offer, reports Ian Nash, while Ben Russell finds no shortage of lacklustre
Management at a Yorkshire college has been given bottom marks by a team of inspectors. A report on Airedale and Wharfedale College gives the college grade five - the lowest possible - for its governance and managers, and a damning grade four for quality control.
The college faces a financial crisis because of mistakes ins its budget two years ago and its subsequent failure to hit targets.
The report said: "The college was unable to provide the inspectors with reliable or up-to-date information on the courses which were running, the number of students, or the number of part-time staff."
Managers were heavily criticised for the poor quality of their information-gathering. But inspectors did note that financial planning had improved in recent months.
Chief inspector of colleges, Jim Donaldson, said: "The inspection report highlights a number of strengths, including the college's effective working relations with several external organisations and the standard of teaching and learning in some curriculum areas. However, the college should address major weaknesses such as ineffective systems for management information and quality assurance."
Martin Millgate, who resigned as chairman of the governors to become the college's principal, acknowledged the criticisms but said action was being taken.
The college is seeking suitors for a possible merger; six institutions have expressed interest in a link-up.