An under threat college which has been forced to receive government help has now been ranked ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted, with a damning report revealing “disharmony and dysfunction” at the very top.

Education inspectors downgraded Amersham and Wycombe College from ‘requires improvement’ to the bottom level after a visit last month, slamming the leadership team for failing students and “unwisely” spending public funds.

The government was forced to step in and place the troubled college in an 'administered status'*, taking control in December last year over fears on poor finances, bad leadership and issues with the quality of the college.

And leadership of the college – which has more than 3,500 students across campuses in Amersham, Flackwell Heath and High Wycombe – has once again been in the firing line and told it is “not fit for purpose”.

The college has been rocked in recent months, with the chairman and vice chairman both stepping down following last year’s departure of the principal.

Interim principal Felix Adenaike was also on extended leave at the time of the inspection, with an outside agency employee leading the college in an acting principal role.

College bosses have now released a statement following Ofsted’s warning saying they are “disappointed” by the rating, but remain determined to provide education and training for students in the future after appointing a new leadership team.

They said: “We have taken immediate action to appoint a new chair and vice chair of governors.

“We believe these appointments will be a positive step towards restoring the overall wellbeing and financial health of the college.

“We are working quickly towards solutions to answer the issues raised by Ofsted and our focus, as always, is on ensuring that we continue to provide education and training for current and future students.”

Bucks Free Press:

Amersham and Wycombe College offer a variety of courses.

In the Ofsted report, the college was slated for its ‘inadequate’ leadership and management, while only one area – the provision for learners with high needs – was ranked at good.

The quality of teaching, personal development, behaviour, outcome for learners and apprenticeship schemes were all criticised, with bosses told improvements were required quickly.

As part of the damning report, Ofsted strongly criticised the governing body, saying it had “failed to carry out its duties effectively”.

Tensions between governors and college leaders were also highlighted and said to have contributed to a period of unstable leadership.

Ofsted inspectors said: “The disharmony and dysfunction at the most senior levels of the college have been exacerbated, if not caused, by the inability of governors to work productively and professionally, both collectively as a group and alongside senior staff members.”

Touching on the college’s poor financial state, Ofsted said it has been worsened by frequent instances of “poor financial management and unwise spending of public funds”.

In order to improve in the future, they recommended the college put in place a new governing body which can steer the college forward, improve the quality of teaching and rigorously evaluate how appropriate the offered curriculum is for the surrounding community.

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*This article previously stated that the college had been placed in administration. It has actually been put in an 'administered status'. We apologise for any confusion caused.