A Surbiton college, which was told it could lose £1.5m in funding unless it improved rapidly, has been graded good following a re-inspection by Ofsted.

Hillcroft College, in South Bank, was given the second-highest grading by inspectors following a visit in late January.

The institution was commended for its “excellent personal and academic support”, and for taking “decisive and effective” action to improve all of its learning provisions.

It marks a substantial turnaround in fortunes for the historic women’s college, which was deemed inadequate by the education authority in January 2013.

It was then told in May last year that an annual £1.5m contribution from the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) could be cut unless it drastically improved outcomes for students.

The SFA even sent in consultants to help staff draw up an improvement plan.

Oftsed’s latest report said: “The college has taken decisive and effective actions to improve all of its provision including highly extensive changes to the management structure, revisions to the curriculum and very well-structured and effective methods for improving teaching, learning and assessment.

“The arrangements for observing and evaluating teaching and learning are much improved but lack sufficient focus on the impact of teaching on learning.”

Surrey Comet:

Acting principal Frances Marsden with staff and students at Hillcroft

Principal Michael Wheeler was unavailable for comment as he is recovering from surgery.

But in a statement released by the college, he said: “This represents a remarkable turnaround in a very short period of time from where we were only a year ago and can be attributed to a great deal of hard work and focus by everybody at Hillcroft.

“There are very few colleges across the country that can demonstrate such rapid and sustained improvement within 13 months.”