Upper Clapton college celebrates recovery after glowing Ofsted report

BSix Sixth Form College is celebrating a "Good" Ofsted rating

BSix Sixth Form College is celebrating a "Good" Ofsted rating - Credit: BSix Sixth Form College

Ofsted inspectors have praised improvements made at a Hackney college once on the brink of closure in Upper Clapton. 

BSix Sixth Form College, in Kenninghall Road, faced two consecutive years of highly critical Ofsted inspections in 2018, having been rated as requiring improvement. 

In a new report the college was rated "Good", three years and a half after it was placed under a formal notice to improve by the Further Education Commissioner's office, which is part of the Department for Education. 

The formal notice and intervention by the educational funding body has now been removed. 

BSix's head, Kevin Watson, told the Gazette: "I have been a principal for a long time at different colleges.

"But I think it was still one of the most satisfying achievements or turnarounds in my career - it was emotional."

In 2018, the college's student numbers were falling sharply and it was facing serious financial pressures. 

BSix's principal and chair of governors both left their posts and staff worried that the college would not survive as an independent institution.

Yet today, student recruitment has increased and the college has been praised by Ofsted for an impressive recovery. 

BSix Sixth Form College's principal Kevin Watson helped the college turn-around

BSix Sixth Form College's principal Kevin Watson helped the college turn-around after two highly critical Ofsted reports - Credit: BSix Sixth Form College

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Ofsted's report described the college as "very welcoming and friendly", with student's "producing high standards of work". 

Additionally, the Further Education Commissioner's team declared BSix "an asset to the community". 

Mr Watson added: "We still have to go and make sure the world knows that we're 'good' now because for a long time according to Ofsted the place wasn’t.

"Parents can be reassured their kids will do as well here as they would if they went somewhere else."

Watson joined the college in 2018 and played a pivotal role in its recovery. 

The principal explained how many colleges are merging and becoming part of groups. 

Mr Watson said: "We have been trying to retain our independence, to be able to stand alone without becoming part of one of these big corporate amalgams.

"And, if we had another negative Ofsted report we probably would have ended up having to be taken over."