OFSTED inspectors have heavily criticised the Heart of Worcestershire College judging that it 'requires improvement'.

English and mathematics lessons were singled out, with inspectors finding students did not do well and had low levels of attendance in these classes.

This was the college's first inspection since it was created in August 2014 following a merger between The Worcester College of Technology and North East Worcestershire College - with campuses in Redditch and Bromsgrove.

In the report, the inspection team said: "Teachers’ expectations of learners on the 16 to 19 study programmes and adult learning programmes are too low, limiting learners’ ambition to improve their skills to the level expected, particularly in English and mathematics.

"Teachers do not challenge learners sufficiently to achieve of their best, especially the most able, and not enough teaching is good or better."

Inspectors said the college had put new measures in place to improve results but it was too early to tell whether they were working.

Inspectors said: "Leaders’ and managers’ actions to improve teaching, learning and assessment have not yet led to consistently good teaching across subjects, provision types and levels.

"Leaders and managers have a strategy in place to improve the English and mathematical skills of learners, particularly those on the study programmes.

"Managers have placed a lot of attention on this area and are constantly looking at ways to improve, but problems with learners’ attendance at sessions and insufficient levels of progress have not yet been resolved."

The report also suggested teachers should promote the importance of regular attendance and punctuality.

Inspectors said: "Managers’ actions to address low attendance have not led to any improvements in the last year.

"In a minority of instances, teachers do not challenge lateness and poor punctuality.

"They do not challenge poor behaviour either in or outside the classroom."

The proportion of learners who successfully completed all components of their study programme in 2014/15 was low.

However, the college was praised for providing courses that met the needs of local employers, providing good uses of technology and offering impartial information and advice to help learners stay on their programmes.

It was also said to cater for learners with high needs well, with the provision in this area ranked as good.

Stuart Laverick, principal and chief executive, at Heart of Worcestershire College, said: “While we are disappointed with the overall judgment made by Ofsted we are still very much at the start of our journey as a newly formed organisation and we have a clear vision for the college, which Ofsted in their report, recognised.”

“The inspectors acknowledged the many strengths of the college, including the ambition of both senior leaders and governors to drive forward a clear vision for the college."

He added: "We take great pride in the fact that the majority of our students successfully complete their main qualification and progress on to further study, higher education or employment.

"This is helped by the fact a significant proportion of learners successfully complete additional qualifications which enhance their employability prospects.”

“We are also especially pleased with the assessment of and provision for learners with high needs and the quality of information, advice and guidance given to students, which was rated as good.

“Improvement initiatives were already being actioned at the time of the inspection.

"It is currently too early to see their full impact and further improvements are being rapidly implemented to a planned schedule.

"We expect to see the benefits of these reflected in results at the end of this academic year.”