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Double bombshell for Bradford College as financial woes revealed on same day Ofsted report tells it to improve

BRADFORD College has announced it needs to make “significant financial savings” and has been issued a notice to improve its finances by the Government.

The Education and Skills Funding Agency issued the notice to improve to the college after proposed savings in the past year were “not fully realised.”

The college, which has 15,202 students, has also been given a “requires improvement” rating by Ofsted in a report that was released today.

Inspectors visited the college last month and found that bosses had “not yet addressed successfully all the areas for improvement identified at the previous inspection,” that too few learners on study programmes had meaningful work experience and that attendance was too low.

In the Ofsted report the college was given the requires improve rating in six out of eight categories. It was judged good for its adult learning programmes and apprenticeships.

The college says its financial difficulties were down to a what they describe as a 27 per cent cut in real terms funding since 2009, lower than expected higher education student numbers, capital repayments, the need to increase cash holdings and predicated inflation rates.

A statement from the college said: “The ESFA has published a Notice to Improve to Bradford College. This is in line with the Department for Education’s published Intervention Policy, and in such cases the ESFA will act in the best interests of students and local stakeholders and in order to protect public funds.

“The college’s main priority is to maintain a dynamic and sustainable college. In order to meet this goal it must now make significant financial savings, the timescales of which is yet to be determined.”

On the Ofsted report, the college said: “The report acknowledged that attendance is improving and that plans are in place to increase the number of work experience opportunities but there is more to be done.

“The college is pleased that its adult and apprenticeship provision was praised by the inspection team and both areas were rated ‘good’.”

Bradford College Chair of the Corporation, Richard Wightman said: “Whilst the overall Ofsted judgement is ‘requires improvement’ the report highlights many strengths and areas of good practice; particularly in our adult and apprenticeship delivery which, we are pleased, received ‘good’ ratings. The college is disappointed in the judgements for teaching, learning and assessment but the report has opened our eyes and will enable us to focus our efforts on making significant improvements rapidly.

Bradford College opened its £50 million David Hockney Building in 2014, with many of its classes being moved there from other buildings, many of which had been sold on.

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