LEADERS at a Bradford district college which has been graded as 'requires improvement' overall by Ofsted have said they do not agree with the rating.

Ofsted inspectors visited Shipley College last October and they have now published their report

The report highlighted a raft of positives at the college in Victoria Road, Saltaire, and rated it as 'good' in five different categories - including behaviour and attitudes, personal development, and apprenticeships.

But the college was rated as 'requires improvement' in three other categories - quality of education, leadership and management, and education programmes for young people.

This meant the college was judged as 'requires improvement' overall by Ofsted.

However, college bosses told the Telegraph & Argus that they "don't believe this grade is reflective of the amazing work that the college does".

The comments come amid national concerns about Ofsted inspections following the death of Reading headteacher Ruth Perry.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The late Ruth PerryThe late Ruth Perry

She took her own life after an Ofsted report downgraded her Caversham Primary School from its highest rating to its lowest over safeguarding concerns.

In December, a coroner concluded the Ofsted inspection in 2022 "likely contributed" to Mrs Perry's death.

Since the inquest, the watchdog has started to make changes.

'Comprehensive action plan pursued'

The Ofsted report for Shipley College - which was previously rated as 'good' overall - said: "Leaders and managers do not have clear enough oversight of all aspects of the provision to enable them to identify weaknesses.

"They have not ensured that younger learners have well-planned, relevant and high-quality encounters with the world of work. 

"Too many of these learners do not participate in work experience as part of their programme."

The report added that "on some adult learning programmes, learners do not receive effective careers information, advice and guidance".

In response to the report, a Shipley College spokesperson said: "The college is pursuing a comprehensive action plan, which includes targeted strategies to build on our relationships with local businesses so that all of our students have access to high-quality work placements. 

"We remain steadfast in our commitment to providing the best possible experiences for all our students.

"However, we don't believe this grade is reflective of the amazing work that the college does and the experience of our students and other stakeholders.

"We are proud to be an award-winning college with the highest achievement rates for young people of all the West Yorkshire colleges.

"We are proud of the work that we do in the community that supports Bradford residents to return to learning and gain valuable qualifications that open doors to new employment opportunities and career progression.

"We are proud of the strong relationships we have built with local, regional and national employers which are addressing current workforce shortages and helping businesses to respond to current and future skills needs."

According to the spokesperson, the college made official complaints against the conclusions drawn in the Ofsted report.

"We have been disappointed with the response of Ofsted to the concerns we raised with them about the accuracy of their report," the spokesperson added.

The Telegraph & Argus asked Ofsted for a response. A spokesperson for the watchdog said it does not comment on individual inspection reports.

Ofsted starts 'making changes to the way we work'

Earlier this week, MPs on the Education Select Committee said Ofsted must make "major changes" to inspections.

In response to this, an Ofsted spokesperson said: "We have started making changes to the way we work, but we know more must be done to address the pressures faced by school leaders and staff. 

"It is important that all changes we make are done in the best interest of children and their parents and carers - that is why we will launch a Big Listen in the coming weeks. 

"We intend to hear from staff working in education and social care, as well as the parents, carers, children, young people and learners we serve."

The Shipley College spokesperson welcomed the appointment of Sir Martyn Oliver as new chief inspector for Ofsted - and his plans to reform the watchdog.

They added: "We also welcome the planned Big Listen and hope that we will be given the opportunity to contribute to improving the way in which schools and colleges are assessed.

"We particularly welcome plans to revise the complaints process."