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Year's delay on searing report;FE Focus

A damning inspection report has been delayed for a year due to a wrangle between the Further Education Funding Council and the college that was criticised.

Dewsbury College in Yorkshire was inspected by the council last January but the report has still not been published. Normally reports are published 10 weeks after inspection.

The college was originally awarded the lowest grade, 5, for management and a 5 for governance - "few strengths and many weaknesses".

"We did not recognise Dewsbury from that and we appealed," said Stephen Battye, chair of governors. "We had the choice of going to the Ombudsman or an inspection from outside the area. According to our own self-assessment, we should have had 3s in both.

"The new inspection led to grades of 4s ('weaknesses clearly outweigh the strengths') in both. We have now accepted this, although we would have liked a full re-inspection. There have been lots of letters to write and people to meet, and we have now spent enough time on it."

He said that at no time had there been any suggestion of the college going for a judicial review of the way the case had been handled.

Vince Hall, the principal, who is a leading figure in further education, and who had vigorously contested the findings of the inspectorate, was unavailable for comment.

In 19967, across the sector, the inspectorate awarded 1,860 grades for curriculum and cross-college provision and only 46 grades (2.5 per cent) were challenged.

A spokesman for the funding council said: "It is not our practice to discuss issues involved in reports prior to publication. If there is a delay, then there is a delay, that is an internal matter."

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