Bradford College, one of England’s biggest further education providers, with a roll of more than 20,000 students, was rated by Ofsted as “requiring improvement” in six out of eight categories, and handed a “financial health notice to improve” by the Education and Skills Funding Agency.
At the same time, its chief executive, Andy Welsh, announced he would step down after three years in charge.
The college, which opened a £50m building named after Hockney in 2014, admitted that predicted savings last year were not fully realised, and blamed “other factors”, including lower than expected student numbers, for its decision to seek financial support from the Department for Education’s funding arm.
A second Yorkshire further education centre, Kirklees College in Huddersfield, was also handed a financial notice to improve.
At Bradford College, which five years ago failed in its application to be granted university status, staff were given the news at a “training and planning day”.
Ofsted criticised the college for having “not yet addressed successfully all the areas for improvement identified at the previous inspection”, and said too few students made the progress of which they were capable.
It also complained that too many students on study programmes did not get “meaningful work experience” and that attendance was too low, especially in English and maths lessons.
However, it said that its leaders had “an exceptionally strong, relevant and in-depth understanding of the dangers connected with radicalisation and extremism”.
Bradford College said its priority was to “maintain a dynamic and sustainable college”, and added: “In order to meet this goal it must now make significant financial savings, the timescales of which is yet to be determined”.
The Funding Agency said it had told the Bradford and Kirklees colleges to produce a “financial recovery plan” containing “specific, measurable, achievable” milestones.