Ofsted watch: A week of contrasting fortunes for UTCs

It’s been a week of contrasting fortunes for university technical colleges, as one is rated ‘good’ and another ‘inadequate’ in their first ever inspections.

Elsewhere a genuinely new apprenticeship provider has been making ‘significant progress’ in one of the areas under review, in one of four monitoring visit reports published this week.

UTC Oxfordshire received grade two ratings across the board in a report published June 29, and based on an inspection carried out in late May.

“Strong leadership” at the 14-to-19 technical institution, which opened in September 2015, has “forged excellent business partnerships and a clear vision across the UTC”, according to the report.

Leaders ensure the “small sixth-form provides very well for its students”, and its “highly motivated leader” routinely “monitors attendance and tracks individual students’ progress”.

Sixth-formers “typically achieve well in their chosen A-level and vocational courses”, and are able to “progress to their chosen university course or high-level apprenticeships” thanks to “bespoke advice and guidance support”, the report said.

In contrast, Derby Manufacturing UTC, which also opened in September 2015, received Ofsted’s lowest possible rating across the board in a report published June 28 and based on an inspection in early May.

As previously reported by FE Week, the school has been placed in special measures as a result of the report’s findings.

Apprenticeship provider Norse Commercial Services Limited was found to be making ‘significant progress’ in one of the themes under review, and ‘reasonable progress’ in the other two areas, in a monitoring visit report published June 27 and based on a visit in early May.

According to the report, Norse “had not been involved in providing government-funded training” before it gaining approval as a main provider on the register of apprenticeship training providers in March last year – making it one of the few genuinely new providers to have had an Ofsted monitoring visit.

Inspectors found leaders were making ‘significant progress’ in ensuring it is meeting all the requirements of successful apprenticeship provision.

They follow a “well-thought-out strategy for developing the apprenticeship offer”, and have taken a “cautious approach” as they are “well aware of the risks associated with not having provided government-funded training before”.

“Managers work well to ensure the apprentices get the required 20 per cent of work time to do off-the-job training,” the report noted.

Three other apprenticeship providers had monitoring visit reports published this week, but all three were previously subcontractors.

GLP Training, which was a subcontractor for three years before becoming a main provider, was found to be making ‘significant progress’ in ensuring that it is meeting all the requirements of successful apprenticeship provision, and that apprentices benefit from high-quality training that leads to positive outcomes. However, it was only found to be making ‘reasonable progress’ in ensuring that effective safeguarding arrangements are in place.

London-based Let Me Play Limited, which offers a range of mainly education and sports-focused apprenticeships, was founded to be making ‘reasonable progress’ in all three themes under review, in a report published June 27 and based on a visit in late May.

And Youth Force, based in Brighton, was also found to be making ‘reasonable progress’ in all three areas, in a report published June 25 and based on an inspection in early June.

East Coast College received a ‘requires improvement’ rating this week, in its first inspection since it was formed through the merger of Lowestoft College and Great Yarmouth College last August.  

According to the report, published June 27 and based on an inspection in mid-May, “too many” adult learners and those on study programmes “do not make rapid progress” and are “behind with their work”.

“Too much teaching is undemanding and assessment is not challenging enough to enable learners to achieve their potential,” the report said.

Leaders’ judgements on the quality of provision were found to “lack rigour” and “are consequently overgenerous”, inspectors found.

Leader and managers at Central Bedfordshire College were criticised for failing to take “sufficient action to prevent a decline in learners’ achievement”, as its rating fell from two to three this week.

According to the report, published June 28 and based on an inspection in mid-May, “the proportion of learners and apprentices who achieve their qualifications is low”.

Teachers often “do not have high expectations of what learners can achieve” and fail to provide “activities that challenges learners to make good progress”.

Furthermore, “governance arrangements are insufficiently robust to hold senior leaders to account and assure the quality of the provision”.

No sixth-form colleges, employer providers or adult and community learning providers had inspection reports published this week.

GFE Colleges Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Central Bedfordshire College 15/05/2018 28/06/2018 3 2
East Coast College 15/05/2018 27/06/2018 3 3

 

Independent Learning Providers Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Youth Force 05/06/2018 25/06/2018 M M
GLP Training 02/05/2018 26/06/2018 M M
Let Me Play Limited 22/05/2018 27/06/2018 M M
Norse Commercial Services Limited 02/05/2018 27/06/2018 M M

 

Other (including UTCs) Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Derby Manufacturing UTC 01/05/2018 28/06/2018 4
UTC Oxfordshire 22/05/2018 29/06/2018 2