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Ugly turn

Agony Uncleanswers your questions.

I am one of many staff who unfortunately worked for a college that failed its Ofsted inspection. After a suitable lapse of time and much introspection (and depression) I am able to speak out about the harshness of the inspection routine and the effects it had on colleagues. I accept the inspectorate's findings and would agree that there must be a framework in place that requires colleges to achieve certain standards or face closure. But it is harder to accept that - as a result of the findings - the management who were essentially to blame appeared to take out their frustration and disappointment on those of us, including myself, who were deemed to be below standard. This led to considerable bitterness and a number of staff (including myself) chose to leave. Some of us left the sector, others found other jobs. All would argue that the college leadership failed to keep up with current developments in the inspection system and this ultimately reflected on those who worked at the grasssroots. That simply is not fair.

I do sympathise with you and it is clear that colleges have been caught out by greater emphasis on teaching and learning by the new inspection routine.

Colleges of course have a responsibility to keep up. Certainly, if you feel that you were not adequately led in your last employment and that the blame was placed at your feet, then I would agree that that is unfair. It is, after all, the job of management to ensure self-regulation and to raise standards whether they are facing an inspection or not. I think also that the stigma of failure alters people's perceptions negatively. Combine that with the unsupportive and intrusive post-inspection regime imposed on failed colleges and you have management that suddenly turns ugly. There has to be a better, more supportive way to lift staff and colleges from the doldrums.

Dilemmas should be emailed to Donald Short at

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