Tuesday, May 28, 2019

News: RNN Group told to improve in first Ofsted since mergers

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Five years after Rotherham College attained its best ever Ofsted grade, the RNN Group has been given an overall report of "requires improvement" by Ofsted inspectors.

RNN Group has expanded in recent years. It incorporates Rotherham College, North Notts College and Dearne Valley College, alongside apprenticeship business, RNN Training, and a number of subsidiary companies in specialist training sectors.

An initial merger between the Rotherham and North Nottinghamshire Colleges took place in 2016.

In the inspection report, Ofsted, which inspects and regulates services that care for children and young people, and services providing education and skills for learners of all ages, said that in the period following the two mergers, management structures and processes were ineffective in maintaining a good quality of education and training across the group.

The report made clear nthat the arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

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A declining quality of provision was noted across all sites. This was particularly evident at wholly-owned subsidiary companies in Mansfield and Worksop which have now been closed down. Inspectors found that achievement was low for the apprenticeships delivered by the colleges and the group's subcontractors and subsidiary companies. Managers suspended recruitment of new apprentices in October 2018 and, from December 2018, have started gradual and carefully planned enrolment of new apprentices. Newly recruited apprentices are making expected progress.

Apprenticeship provision is one area where leadership has been significantly strengthened recently. The report states that "new managers have rapidly identified their ambitious priorities to secure necessary improvements to reverse low levels of apprenticeship achievement."

The report added that governors and the newly constituted leadership team have taken significant improvement actions in the last six months, stating that "they are beginning to tackle the weaknesses in the quality of education and training across the group."

John Connolly, the former principal and chief executive of the RNN Group, stood down last October. Former deputy principal, Phil Sayles left earlier in the year.

In the most recent publicly available documents, the RNN Group, which has around 14,925 learners, was reporting a forecasted operating loss of £3.5m. A five year strategic plan is being developed.

In Rotherham, recent developments at the college has seen the opening of the £10.5m University Centre Rotherham (UCR) and RNN Group has recently taken over responsibility for the delivery of community learning in the borough.

RNN Group website

Images: RNN Group

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