INSPECTORS have downgraded an award-winning Hampshire college after a decade at the top of the ratings.

The Brockenhurst College lost its ‘Outstanding’ grade after a four-day visit from government inspection body Ofsted.

Brock received an overall rating of ‘Good’ with apprenticeships graded as ‘Requires Improvement’.

The Ofsted report said: "The college must continue to improve students' attendance and punctuality by taking effective action when students are absent or late.

"Managers and trainer/assessors must improve target-setting and progress reviews for apprentices to ensure that more apprentices complete their programme within the planned period.

"Leaders should swiftly identify the reasons for the consistently poor performance of students on some level 3 vocational study programmes and take urgent corrective action."

However, inspectors praised “decisive and swift” action taken to address a dip in performance last year and said teaching was good in most subjects.

"Decisive and swift action by leaders have ensured that progress and achievement have improved considerably following a dip in performance in 2015/16.

"Good teaching in most subjects motivates and enthuses students and apprentices and enables a high proportion of them to make good progress and achieve.

"Leaders have ensured that the college curriculum responds well to the needs of local employers, the local enterprise partnership and the local community."

The college has roughly 6,500 learners per year with most taking A levels.

An Ofsted survey of students’ views undertaken during the inspection revealed 97% felt their studies met their needs, with all other teaching quality marks rated at over 90%.

Eleven government inspectors spent four days on campus before reporting their conclusions in early March.

College principal Di Roberts welcomed the overall rating of ‘Good’.

She said: “The new Ofsted inspection framework, instituted in September 2016, is more rigorous than ever, and we welcome that new framework for its added opportunities to reflect critically on our performance.

“Maintaining high standards is an ongoing process and one to which every member of staff here at Brock is 100% committed.

"As Ofsted recognises in its report, we respond to any areas needing improvement ‘swiftly and decisively’ amid a ‘culture of high expectation throughout the college’.”