Principal’s plans to boost college

Principal Simon Charleton and learner Tara Wilkinson
Principal Simon Charleton and learner Tara Wilkinson

A new principal says he will give monthly updates on plans to improve his college after inspectors criticised teaching and management.

Ofsted found that new staff at St John’s College in Kemptown were not given enough support to ensure teaching and learning is ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’.

Principal Simon Charleton said: “We accept Ofsted’s judgments and are determined to move forwards and become outstanding within as short a period as possible.”

Mr Charleton began his new job on February 20, around a month after the inspectors left, but before their report was published on March 1.

St John’s College provides further education for people aged 19 to 25 with complex learning disabilities that include autism spectrum conditions, and behavioural, emotional, and social difficulties.

Overall the college was rated as ‘requires improvement’ with inspectors saying that some of the learners’ complex needs were not being met and that learners were not being stretched to achieve their goals.

The report said that students’ progress was not being properly recorded and that outside work experience was not being offered early enough, reducing student’s opportunities to become more employable.

But Ofsted did praise the college for helping learners gain independence by getting them out into the community, visiting shopping centres, swimming pools, golf courses, restaurants and churches.

They described staff as enthusiastic and committed, and said they support learners’ personal development well.

The college has brought in an educational consultant to help train new staff, while a new system for reporting learners’ progress has been introduced.