Sweet ring of success

8th October 2004 at 01:00
Emerging from the shadow of inadequacy last month brought immediate benefits for Hertford regional college principal Paul Harvey and his deputy Sue Carroll.

Within days of it becoming known that Hertford had passed its inspection, phones began ringing with a different type of inquiry.

He explained: "We formally knew we had passed on Thursday, and on the following Monday I had my first of a number of phone calls from bodies wondering if I was now looking for a new challenge.

"How they got to know I have no idea, but going from failure to success does make one very marketable.

"Sue has also had phone calls. Luckily for us and the college, the corporation board has decided they cannot afford to lose us yet."

Yet the outcome was nearly very different. After the last moderating visit carried out six weeks before the actual inspection, inspectors ruled that the college was making "no discernable progress".

He said: "It was so depressing that I did not tell the staff. I was resting on the fact that there was a buzz about the college that would carry us through. The staff were cheerful and decided they were going for it."

Laurence Freel, who heads the college's inclusive learning department, said: "Morale was very low after we failed the 2002 inspection.

"There had to be a new way of doing things, but some people didn't like the changes and left. But the college retained a core of staff who were keen to go along with it."

Gill Brown, deputy head of hairdressing and beauty, said: "It was a long hard slog for two years, but we all worked together and we had lots of support."

Jean Bowen, head of adult learning who has been at the college for 27 years, said: "All the inspections prior to 2002 went very well and we thought we were quite good, but we weren't changing when we needed to change.

"After that inspection we had a whole lot of very shocked people. The staff responded very well to looking at what they were doing in a critical way.

"Now that we don't have Ofsted breathing down our necks, I can feel the energy in people wanting to get on with improving the college."

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