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Third college gets a slating;FE Focus

LOW PASS rates, poor student attendance, inaccurate financial information, weak governance and a failure to account for public funds are all highlighted in a report on Matthew Boulton College, published this week, writes Ngaio Crequer.

This is the third scathing report on a college published by the Further Education Funding Council in the past few weeks. The others were Dewsbury College and Bilston (reported in The TES last week).

At Matthew Boulton, Birmingham, inspectors said governors had not been able to ensure the solvency of the college. A new principal and management team is now in place and this week most governors, including the vice-chair, resigned. Debts of pound;3.7 million to the FEFC have been cut to pound;880,000.

Christine Braddock, the principal, said: "We are confident that the college's new management team has already put in place a strong regeneration programme, which meets the requirements and recommendations of the FEFC."

This week Baroness Blackstone, minister for lifelong learning, referred to the "alarming differences" highlighted by FEFC inspection reports. She reiterated the message that some colleges were failing their communities. "You know by now that we shall not hesitate to take the strongest possible action where this is happening."

Matthew Boulton report, page 33

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