Staff with ‘access’ to young learners not checked by bosses

A Leicester-based training provider has been slapped with an inadequate grading by Ofsted after failing to carry out criminal checks on staff working with learners under 18.

Qdos Training Ltd was inspected in February and although the report, published on Thursday, April 9, found “good” success rates and managers with “a clear strategic vision”, it issued a damning verdict on the provider’s safeguarding processes.

The Skills Funding Agency (SFA)-funded provider, which has 917 learners, 61 of which are aged 16 to 18, had previously been graded as good, following an inspection in 2011.

But this time around inspectors found “staff with regular, unsupervised access to learners aged up to 18 have not had appropriate disclosure checks and arrangements to demonstrate that these checks have been carried out are weak”.

Disclosure and Barring Service checks, which replaced Criminal Record Bureau checks in 2012, identify staff members who may be unsuitable or banned from working with young people due to past criminal convictions.

Qdos Training managing director Elena Ryabusha vowed to appeal against the result, but declined to comment on why the checks had not been carried out.

The report called for disclosure checks on all staff working unsupervised with 16 to 18-year-old learners “as a matter of the highest priority” and said Qdos should “systematically train staff” to understand safeguarding.

Inspectors gave Qdos a grade two for learner outcomes, three for teaching, learning and assessment and deemed leadership and management grade four.

Qdos offers apprenticeships, traineeships and classroom-based programmes in customer service, ICT and administration, although rules restricting traineeship provision to grade one and two lead providers, and also grade three subcontractors, mean it will be forbidden from recruiting more trainees.

No-one from the SFA was available to comment.

In another Ofsted report published on the same day, Prior Pursglove College, a Yorkshire-based sixth form college, shot from a grade four rating to a grade two.

The 1,983-learner college was judged good by inspectors visiting in March, having made “impressive improvement” since being deemed inadequate in its last inspection in December 2013.

The report said: “Leaders and governors have taken decisive and successful action to improve the quality of provision and outcomes for students.”

Principal Judy Burton said the college was “absolutely delighted” and “exceptionally pleased with inspectors’ findings”.

“We were disappointed with Ofsted’s findings last year but our fantastic team of staff have spent the last fifteen months relentlessly driving improvements across the board to regain our reputation as an excellent college which offers the very best for all students,” she said.