Ofsted watch: A trio of 'inadequate' providers

It’s been a bad week for the FE and skills sector, with a trio of reports returning ‘inadequate’ grades and a major private university found to be making ‘insufficient progress’ in its apprenticeships.

Elsewhere, two providers have seen their ratings go up from ‘requires improvement’ to ‘good’, while seven monitoring visit reports have been published.

Mobile Care Qualifications received a grade four overall – down from its previous grade two – in a report published October 30 and based on an inspection in early September.

Leadership and management at the provider, which offers traineeships and adult learning programmes in health and social care and child development, was deemed ‘inadequate’, while all other headline fields were rated ‘requires improvement’.

Senior leaders were criticised for being “too slow to recognise” the “declining quality of teaching, learning and assessment” since the previous inspection, in 2016.

Governance arrangements were “weak” with no “dedicated activities that could be defined as governance or the performance management of senior staff”.

Too many adult learners “make slow progress”, while teaching, learning and assessment was “not consistently good”.

Andrew Lister, MCQ’s director, told FE Week he was appealing the verdict as it “does not reflect the provision at all”.

Independent provider Active Lifestyles was rated grade four across the board in a report published November 2 and based on an inspection in early September.

“Very few” learners at the provider, which offers advanced learner loan-funded personal trainer courses, “achieve their qualifications”, while “too few” showed “sufficient commitment to their studies”.

Staff failed to “monitor the progress of learners well enough” and “do not provide them with sufficient guidance to help them improve”, the report said.

“Leaders have not made any arrangements for oversight of their own work, and the absence of challenge and support has contributed to the lack of improvement.”

The provider has been approached for a comment.

As previously reported by FE Week, employer provider Creative Support was rated ‘inadequate’ across the board in a report published October 31 and based on an inspection at the end of September.

Inspectors criticised the provider – a charity that supports people with special needs – for provision that “does not meet the objectives or requirements of apprenticeships”.

Adult and community learning provider The Voluntary and Community Sector Learning and Skills Consortium saw its grade go up from three to two in a report published October 31 and based on an inspection at the beginning of the month.

The consortium, which trades as Enable, runs apprenticeships in business administration, customer service and supporting teaching and learning, and adult learning programmes.

Senior leaders and managers have a “very good understanding” of its strengths and weaknesses, which they use “effectively to continuously review and improve the quality of provision”, the report said.

Apprentices’ progress was deemed good, but “too many” advanced learner loan-funded learners dropped out of their courses “as a result of poor initial advice and guidance”.

Independent provider Francesco Group (Holdings) Limited also saw its overall grade go up from ‘requires improvement’ to ‘good’, in a report published November 1 and based on an inspection in early October.

The provider, which runs hairdressing apprenticeships, “delivers a good programme through which apprentices develop outstanding work skills”.

The “large majority” of apprentices make good progress on their courses, and “most” achieve their qualifications on time, and remain in employment and gain promotions.

However, managers’ self-assessment was found to “not evaluate the quality of teaching, learning and assessment in sufficient depth”.

Marson Garages (Wolstanton) Limited, trading as Martec Training, held onto its grade three in a report published October 29, and based on inspection earlier in the month.

Leaders and governors at the provider, which runs study programmes and apprenticeships, were criticised for not having “secured the necessary improvements identified at the previous inspection”.

“Senior leaders and managers do not yet use well enough self-assessment and quality improvement processes to improve the quality of provision,” the report said.

Staff did “not ensure that learners improve their skills sufficiently” nor did they ensure that learners “know what they need to do to improve”.

Three apprenticeship early monitoring visit reports have been published this week.

As previously reported by FE Week, these included private university BPP University which was found to be making ‘insufficient progress’ – in large part because managers were unaware of the slow progress being made by apprentices.

Two further apprenticeship providers were found to be making ‘reasonable progress’ in all areas this week: Accountancy Learning Ltd, and Develop Training Limited.

A further four monitoring visit reports were published this week, for North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College, Barnfield College, The Learning and Enterprise College Bexley, and Sunderland City Metropolitan Borough Council.

GFE Colleges Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College 11/09/2018 29/10/2018 M M
Barnfield College 27/09/2018 01/11/2018 M M

 

Independent Learning Providers Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Francesco Group (Holdings) Ltd 02/10/2018 01/11/2018 2 3
Active Lifestyles 10/09/2018 02/11/2018 4
BPP University Ltd 26/09/2018 01/11/2018 M M
Accountancy Learning Ltd 24/09/2018 29/10/2018 M M
Marson Garages (Wolstanton) Ltd 09/10/2018 29/10/2018 3 3
Mobile Care Qualifications 11/09/2018 30/10/2018 4 2
Develop Training Limited 01/08/2018 31/10/2018 M M

 

Adult and Community Learning Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
The Learning and Enterprise College Bexley 03/10/2018 31/10/2018 M M
Sunderland City Metropolitan Borough Council 25/09/2018 31/10/2018 M M
The Voluntary and Community Sector Learning and Skills Consortium 02/10/2018 31/10/2018 2 3

 

Employer providers Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Creative Support 25/09/2018 31/10/2018 4