WEST Somerset College is celebrating this week after the institution was officially taken out of special measures by Ofsted.

The removal of special measures was immediately followed by a full section five inspection and the outcome of this inspection will be published in the next three to four weeks once a quality assurance process has been completed. 

Inspectors, however, confirmed that huge progress had been made by the college since it was placed into special measures back in 2014.
In a letter to parents Interim College Principal Jane Aplin said: “The lifting of special measures is testament to the resilience, hard work and talent of our fabulous staff and students.

“I am sure that we will all recognise this as very good news for the college and I would like to thank all our parents for their unstinting support over the last 18 months.” 

The inspectors were very complimentary about the progress that has been made with teaching, learning and the outcomes that students are now gaining both at GCSE level and across the 6th form. 

They recognised how classroom practice has improved significantly, that student conduct, both in lessons and in social time, is markedly better than in 2014 and the quality of leadership across all levels of the College is now very strong and has been instrumental in securing these improvements.  

Also noted was the strength and quality of the new local governing body and the assistance and direction provided by the Bridgwater College Trust in accelerating improvements since conversion back in February this year.

Mike Robbins, chairman of Bridgwater College Trust said: “We are obviously very pleased with this outcome and I would like to congratulate the staff, students and governing body for all their hard work in helping the college to reach this point.

“We await the publication of the Ofsted report and the new grading with interest and look forward to continuing our journey towards becoming an outstanding college for the young people in our community.  

“Thanks are also due to parents and carers for their ongoing support for the college over the past year through what has been a very challenging period of transition.”

Peter Elliott, executive head teacher, said: “We are delighted with this news, and the verbal feedback we have received confirms we are moving quickly in the right direction. 

“The strong and robust support of the Bridgwater College Trust has obviously been influential, but I would like to congratulate the staff team for their efforts in achieving this outcome.

"The College can pride itself on the great pupils who study here and the fantastic learning environments.”

The college currently faces financial problems and it looks as though a number of facilities are set to close, with the future of both the Farm Unit and Coombe Restaurant in doubt.