Ofsted watch: ‘Unsafe’ college makes rapid safety improvements

A specialist land-based college branded “unsafe” in a shocking grade four report in April has made swift improvements to ensure the safety and welfare of students.

Moulton College, based in Northamptonshire, was hit with an ‘inadequate’ rating after Ofsted found learners were in danger when studying in areas such as construction and equine studies.

It had its first monitoring visit report published on July 26, in which inspectors found senior managers had responded “swiftly to tackle the weaknesses identified during the previous inspection relating to the safety and welfare of students and apprentices”.

They commissioned an “external specialist to carry out a thorough review” and implemented a “range of measures that included extensive staff training in health and safety and in managing students’ behaviour in classrooms and in workshops”.

In one animal care lesson during the full inspection, Ofsted said a “poorly conceived” internet research task placed a high needs student “at risk of looking at inappropriate content”.

Upon their return, inspectors found managers have “reviewed and strengthened” safeguarding arrangements.

“Staff understand how to use the electronic software, introduced in October 2017, to enable them to report safeguarding or welfare concerns to the team of designated safeguarding leads,” they said.

Since their introduction, the safeguarding leads have logged and dealt with over 350 reported incidents.

But safeguarding wasn’t the only ‘inadequate’ element of the college that Ofsted previously found.

Many of the “weaknesses” in teaching, learning and assessment identified during the inspection “remain”.

Managers have also “not successfully” tackled weaknesses related to students’ personal development and behaviour. Attendance and punctuality in lessons is still “poor”.

However, a newly appointed quality team has begun to “overhaul the observation of teaching and learning scheme, which previously focused on compliance with expectations rather than on the quality of learning”.

Early indications are that the revised arrangements are having a “positive impact”.

Senior leadership was highly criticised in Ofsted’s grade four report of Moulton College, so much so that its principal, Stephen Davies, resigned after seven years in the job.

Ann Turner, who has nearly two decades of experience at a land-based college, took the reins in an interim capacity.

At the time of Ofsted’s monitoring visit, she had only been in post for four weeks, which was “too recent to have had an impact”.

The only full inspection report to be published for FE this week was for GSS Solutions Limited, a private provider in Warwickshire.

It was given a disappointing ‘requires improvement’ rating in its first ever visit from Ofsted.

“Senior leaders and managers have not secured sufficient oversight to provide sector-related benchmarking, advice and challenge,” inspectors said.

“Assessors do not effectively plan and provide teaching, learning and assessment that take learners’ starting points into account. The most able learners do not make the progress of which they are capable.”

They added that leaders have “insufficient focus” on improving the quality of teaching, learning and assessment.

There was one monitoring visit of a new apprenticeship provider, in which Deere Apprenticeships Ltd was given ‘reasonable progress’ verdicts in all three fields judged.

Senior leaders and managers at the Nottinghamshire-based provider are “very committed to providing a high standard of training for all apprentices,” inspectors said.

Lastly, adult and community provider The Mary Ward Centre (AE Centre), in London, maintained its ‘good’ rating following a short inspection.

 

GFE Colleges Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Moulton College 06/06/2018 26/07/2018 M M

 

Independent Learning Providers Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
GSS Solution Limited 19/06/2018 23/07/2018 3 N/A
Deere Apprenticeships Ltd 11/07/2017 27/07/2018 M M

 

Short inspections (remains grade 2) Inspected Published
The Mary Ward Centre (AE Centre) 27/06/2018 27/07/2018