Universal truth of success in Lewisham

You may know something we don't (FE Focus, June 14) but here at Lewisham College we were delighted with our recent inspection report - not pending but published four months ago. It was even better than before - and that under the new tough OFSTED regime.

You will have read that:- i) Our Grade 1s in curriculum areas were added to by the recognition of our work in TUC studies as outstanding. Note: 100 per cent pass rate in all recorded areas for the last two years.

ii) That major improvements in achievement rates were as follows: GCSE rose from 86 per cent to 93 per cent; A-levels rose by 18 per cent to 84 per cent; NVQ passes at all levels rose from 64 per cent to 75 per cent.

iii) One vocational area, where over two-thirds of teaching is "good" and support for students is "very good", had retention and pass rates below average.

True. In south London regeneration is massive and the citizens of this disadvantaged community need the money. (Maybe if they had grants they would stay.) We try to persuade them otherwise; but it is their right to choose.

"Assessment of MA workplace activities is insufficiently thorough" - we are trying harder on that one but with the salary levels available for skilled professionals - about half of what they can earn at their trade - we are constantly stretched. The staff in this area are busy rebuilding their star status. A comment was also made on key skills - those are the ones that colleges do not have to teach and that we choose to, because we know they are educationally a terrific support for students.

iv) Viz a viz our community - the report states that "The college pursues these (community) objectives with enthusiasm".

So, The TES article has made a mistake.

It was good to receive an instant apology from Ian Nash after he had checked the OFSET website. Nevertheless, it was unfortunate that he published the article before doing so.

To paraphrase Jane Austen: it is a truth universally acknowledged that a journalist who doesn't check the accuracy of information leaked by a Whitehall source is likely to end up with egg on his or her face.

Still, working towards ascendancy. . .

Ruth Silver


Lewisham College, south London

Log in or register for FREE to continue reading.

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you