The head of a leading Birmingham college claimed that its recovery plan had been vindicated by Ofsted inspectors despite a highly critical report which branded certain areas as inadequate.
Governors at City College Birmingham are meeting this week to decide whether to continue their complaint against the education watchdog.
The college, which has 25,000 students, failed to obtain an injunction in the High Court in London last Friday to prevent Ofsted from publishing its report.
Ofsted, which awarded inadequate grades for overall effectiveness of provisions, and achievement and standards, accused City College of trying to suppress the report.
Interim principal David Gibson, a former chief executive of the Association of Colleges, paid tribute to the new management’s work in transforming City College’s performance.
He took over in February last year when it was in financial difficulties related to previous under-performance.
Mr Gibson said: “The report is very clear in acknowledging that the college is making progress in the right direction.
“We were encouraged by the good grades awarded for our 14-16 provision, for the judgement of “good” for educational and social inclusion, and the satisfactory grades achieved for capacity to improve, leadership and management and, most importantly to us, quality of provision.
“As the inspectors say in the report, ‘the college has made satisfactory progress in promoting improvement since the last inspection’.
“As can be seen from our figures, this is already leading to better success rates for many of our students.”
Ofsted, which was due to publish its report today, said: “The interim principal and new senior management team have provided strong and effective management through the period of turbulence which followed the last inspection and many aspects of the quality of provision have improved.”
The inspection, carried out in March, did highlight areas where the effects of the recovery programme were yet to feed through – hence the decision to give an “inadequate” grade for effectiveness of provision, and achievement and standards.
But Mr Gibson said the report acknowledged there had not been sufficient time for their actions to be reflected fully in learners’ achievement and standards.
Ofsted said the college’s overall pass rates of 72 per cent in 2007/08 were just three per cent below national averages.
“We are doing well and changing things around, but it is very frustrating to get a report like this from Ofsted.”
The High Court hearing was told that Ofsted changed its grading for English for Speakers of Other Languages from inadequate to satisfactory.
The college unsuccessfully argued that the award for overall effectiveness should have risen to satisfactory as well.
Mr Gibson said the college was also praised in the Ofsted report for its good range of personal and welfare support for students, good social and educational inclusion, strong links with schools and community groups, honest and accurate self-assessment, appropriate and challenging targets, and comprehensive improvement plans.
They also had satisfactory quality of provision, overall teaching and learning, and capacity to improve.
Student attendance had also improved to 80 per cent.
The college, which has a deficit of around £1.5 million, has been given a Notice to Improve by the Learning and Skills Council to control its budget or face possible merger or closure.