BIRMINGHAM Metropolitan College, which runs Kidderminster Academy, has been hit with another ‘requires improvement’ rating following its latest Ofsted inspection.

It is the third such rating for the cash-strapped college since 2015 and it comes just weeks after the departure of principal Andrew Cleaves, who quit in September after four years in post.

Inspectors said in their latest report, following an inspection last month, that “significant weaknesses from the previous inspection remain unsolved”.

The report, published today, says the “college has had significant financial difficulties” and that is has recently been subject to a series of interventions from the Education and Skills Funding Agency and the Further Education Commissioner.

It states that leaders and managers “have yet to improve the standard of teaching, learning and assessment so that it is at least good across all areas of the college’s provision – in particular the progress that all students studying on level 3 courses make from their starting points” and a raft of improvements have been ordered.

The new report does acknowledge improvements in student attendance and achievement in English and mathematics and in ensuring apprentices have sufficient understanding of the threats from radicalisation and extremism.

But it says in the case of A-level provision improvement actions failed to boost AS-level achievement and the proportion of A-level students achieving grades of which they are capable.

It goes on to say “diversity and inclusion targets set within the updated equalities plan are not sufficiently aspirational” and that targets to increase female interest in construction and engineering sectors are set too low.

Leaders and governors are praised for developing “highly effective and productive partnerships with local and regional organisations” but the report goes on to say governors do not hold leaders to account fully due to the lack of information they receive in relation to student progress.

It acknowledges the quality of teaching, learning and assessment has improved since the last inspection in February 2017 but states “it is not yet consistently good”.

The report also states that not enough teachers use information about the students’ starting points well enough to plan learning so all students make good progress.

The college needs to improve outcomes for learners, inspectors go on to say – and the report acknowledges that leaders have successfully closed most of the gaps between different groups of students with a declared disability. But students who are disadvantaged and adults who have a Bangladeshi background do not achieve as well as their peers.

Study programmes for 16-19-year-olds also require improvement, according to the report, although adult learning programmes and apprenticeships are praised as good - with inspectors saying teachers and trainers are highly qualified and have substantial vocational experience and that apprentices benefit from their up-to-date experience.

Provision for learners with high needs, however, requires improvement – with the report stating: “Too few study programme students have access to external work experience to develop the skills that employers value.”