Ofsted inspectors forced to leave Newcastle College after row over conduct

Staff at Newcastle College claimed the inspectors were behaving aggressively

Ofsted inspectors were ordered to leave one of Britain's leading further education colleges after clashing with senior staff amid allegations of unprofessionalism and aggressive behaviour on an inspection.

The dispute broke out at Newcastle College on Tyneside which has been previously rated "outstanding" in all areas by the quality watchdog.

They were ordered off the premises following a row over the alleged conduct of some of the inspectors and concerns among teaching staff that courses were not being adequately marked.

According to reports, Ofsted offered their inspectors counselling following the showdown last month.

Newcastle College, which has 25,000 students and is the alma mater of Ant and Dec and the X-Factor winner Joe McElderry, is part of the NGC organisation. NGC also runs Skelmersdale College in Lancashire and the Intraining company in Sheffield, which provides apprenticeships.

All three were being assessed by the inspectors having previously been considered "outstanding" in all areas. Newcastle College topped national league tables produced by the Department for Education for 16 to 18 achievement for three consecutive years. The Ofsted inspectors were eventually allowed to return but their preliminary report has since downgraded the majority of areas in the three establishments to "good" although some remained "outstanding".

NCG's chief executive Dame Jackie Fisher emailed staff to tell them that the inspection had not been "trouble free." She said: "Unfortunately the inspection came to an untimely end as a result of some troubling incidents."

The message continued: "We are planning to pursue with Ofsted some outstanding matters which may improve the grade profile. However, based on Ofsted's track record in listening to provider complaints, this must be viewed as unlikely, regardless of how strong our case is."

A spokesman for NCG said: "We are very concerned with the way the inspection was conducted and there were some troubling incidents which meant the inspection ended before it was complete."

An Ofsted spokeswoman said: "While Ofsted does not comment on individual complaints, we do take complaints very seriously, investigating each one rigorously and dealing with issues as quickly as possible."

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in