Ofsted watch: Local authority provider leaps two grades

Ofsted watch: Local authority provider leaps two grades

A local authority provider has leapt two grades from inadequate to good and an independent training provider has received a grade two on its first inspection in this week’s Ofsted reports.

But otherwise ‘requires improvement’ has been the main story of the week.

West Sussex County Council was praised for its progress since it was given a grade four in December 2015, in a report published on February 24 but based on an inspection in January.

“Strong” governance arrangements and “effective” safeguarding were both “significant improvements” since the last inspection.

Tutors had also “much improved their ability to help students develop mathematical skills” with the result that “students, many for the first time, improve these skills and recognise the relevance of mathematics in their daily lives”.

Independent training provider The Tess Group was given grade two across the board in a report published March 2 and based on an inspection carried out at the beginning of February.

Leaders and managers at the Northampton-based provider were praised for ensuring that courses “align well to the interests of learners and the needs of employers”.

Learners “make good progress”, and are “prepared very well for their next step” thanks to “excellent partnerships” with employers and training providers.

As reported by FE Week earlier this week, Bury College lost its outstanding grade following its first inspection in almost 10 years.

Ineffective self-assessment, together with inconsistent teaching and low achievement rates, were among the issues that led to it being rated as ‘requires improvement’.

Also falling to a grade three this week were Itchen College, Havering Sixth Form College and Skills for Health, all of whom had previously been rated good.

The “majority of learners” on level three academic courses at Itchen College, a sixth form college, “do not make the progress they are capable of”, inspectors found.

Their report, published March 2 and based on an inspection at the end of January, also criticised leaders and managers for failing to set “clear and aspirational” performance indicators.

A lack of improvement in “students’ achievement or in teaching and learning” were among the issues highlighted at Havering Sixth Form College.

Inspectors also found that good practice in “quality improvement and rigorous self-assessment” wasn’t consistently adopted, in a report published February 28 and based on an inspection in mid-January.

Meanwhile, “too many apprentices” at the Bristol-based Skill for Health, a not-for-profit provider which is also the sector skills council for the healthcare sector, did not “complete their qualifications” on time.

Inspectors criticised managers for not taking “appropriate action” early enough to help those who weren’t progressing, in a report published February 24 and based on an inspection in mid-January.

Three providers retained their grades following full inspections this week.

Independent provider Bellis Training held onto its grade two, while MidKent College and Oldham College both kept their grade threes.

Just one short inspection report was published this week, for South Tyneside Council, while two monitoring visit reports were published.

The report for the recently-merged Newcastle and Stafford Colleges Group is based on the second visit to Stafford following its inadequate rating in February 2016, while the report into Norman Mackie and Associates Limited was also the second to be published after the ITP was given the lowest possible grade in September.

GFE Colleges Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
MidKent College 31/01/2017 03/03/2017 3 3
Newcastle and Stafford Colleges Group 08/02/2017 01/03/2017 Monitoring visit
Bury College 16/01/2017 27/02/2017 3 1
Oldham College 16/01/2017 24/02/2017 3 3

 

Sixth Form Colleges Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Itchen College 31/01/2017 02/03/2017 3 2
Havering SFC 17/01/2017 28/02/2017 3 2

 

Independent Learning Providers Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
The Tess Group 01/02/2017 02/03/2017 2
Norman Mackie & Associates Ltd 08/02/2017 01/03/2017 Monitoring visit
Bellis Training Ltd 31/01/2017 28/02/2017 2 2

 

Adult and Community Learning Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Skills for Health Ltd 17/01/2017 24/02/2017 3 2
West Sussex County Council 24/01/2017 24/02/2017 2 4

 

Short inspections (remains grade 2) Inspected Published
South Tyneside Council 01/02/2017 03/03/2017