Ofsted watch: Mixed week for FE providers

It has been a mixed week for FE in Ofsted reports, as some providers celebrated ‘good’ first inspections while others experienced a drop in their grades.

Eastleigh College lost its ‘outstanding’ rating after an inspection in December downgraded the Hampshire college to ‘good’, and deemed its 16-to-19 study programmes ‘requires improvement’.

Inspectors said leaders “review and adapt the curriculum well to cater for the changing needs of learners and their community” and work effectively with a range of subcontractors, but criticised a lack of high quality work experience and a “small minority” of study programmes where “too few learners achieve their qualifications”.

There was also bad news this week for Livability Nash College in Hayes, which is run by a Christian charity and provides education and training for young people with complex learning needs.

The college plummeted to ‘inadequate’ from its previous ‘good’ rating, with inspectors criticising governors for being “slow to establish a stable and effective leadership team” and failing to maintain the quality of provision “which has declined in all areas”.

Although students were said to enjoy attending the college, the report warned that too few achieve their personal targets and the proportion who go into supported or voluntary employment is “very low”. However, the new senior leadership team was said to have a “sound understanding” of the strengths and weaknesses of the provision.

A spokesperson for the college, which has recently appointed a new acting head, said it was taking “immediate action to make very important improvements”.

However, there was better news for Manchester Metropolitan University, which retained its grade one rating for 16-to-19 study programmes and apprenticeships, with inspectors praising “outstanding” student progress where a “high proportion” receive better than expected grades.

Leaders were commended for their “clear vision”, and said to be “making higher education accessible and beneficial for all”.

Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council also had a reason to celebrate, after its adult and community learning provision rose from a grade three to a grade two.

The report said leaders and managers had taken “effective action” to improve the quality of teaching and ensured that the provision “makes a positive contribution to enhancing the lives of people in Barnsley”.

Several providers also had their first full inspection. Kettering-based Civil Ceremonies became the first loans-only provider to receive an ‘outstanding’ grade after Ofsted found leaders and managers were “highly successful in implementing their vision and mission for the business”.

South and City College Birmingham received a ‘good’ rating in its first inspection after its merger with Bournville College in August 2017. Inspectors praised senior leaders for creating a “harmonious and inspiring environment” and close collaboration with local partners and employers.

Escala Training Academy in Essex was also deemed to be ‘good’ after inspectors found staff had taken “effective action to recover the drop in achievement rates in 2016/17 and they are now high”.

A high proportion of learners were said to gain employment or promotion following their hair and beauty training, and the chief executive Samantha Warren was praised for her focus on improving teaching and working with loyal employers.

However, three providers were deemed to be ‘requires improvement’ in their first full Ofsted inspections.

Leaders at LD Training Services in Middlesex were criticised for not accurately identifying weaknesses in certain courses or improving the English skills of those with a different first language, while too many adult learners complete functional skills qualifications at “too low a level”.

Despite this, training on apprenticeship programmes was “good” and the “vast majority” of adult learners move onto further or higher education or gain employment after completing their qualifications.

The management team Bristol-based Any Driver was criticised for “ineffective” governance reporting and not thoroughly evaluating the quality and standards of its training programmes or the progress of learners, but a “very high proportion” of all learners were said to complete their programmes and enjoy their learning.

And Newcastle’s Trinity Solutions Academy, which aims to help vulnerable and disadvantaged learners who have “significant barriers to learning” re-engage with education, was found to have “too many” learners leaving programmes early and experiencing “delays and uncertainty” in securing work experience.

However, a high proportion of learners who do complete their programmes were said to progress to further study, employment, voluntary work or increased involvement in family and community life, and were described as having “greatly” improved confidence and self-esteem as a result of “the inclusive ethos and encouragement that they receive at the academy”.

A flurry of monitoring inspection reports were also published this week.

Tempest Management Training in Mansfield,  Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation in London, I&F Limited in Preston, Aspire Development (UK) in Yorkshire,  Kainuu in Bolton, new providers received early monitoring visit reports of their apprenticeship provision, but all were found to be making ‘reasonable’ progress in every area. Care Training Solutions had its safeguarding reinspected and was found to be making ‘reasonable’ progress. 

Gateway Sixth Form CollegeNorman Mackie and AssociatesThomas Rotherham College in Yorkshire, West Thames College in Hounslow, were monitored having previously received a ‘requires improvement’ judgement and were all deemed to be making reasonable progress, but Chesterfield College received two ‘insufficient’ progress judgements.

Moulton College received a monitoring visit following its ‘inadequate’ judgement in February, and was found to be making reasonable progress in all areas apart from ensuring students make good progress in their studies, which was found to be ‘insufficient’. And UK Training & Development was found to be making reasonable progress in all areas in a monitoring visit following its ‘inadequate’ inspection in October 2017. 

 

GFE Colleges Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Moulton College 14/11/2018 09/01/2019 M  
West Thames College 28/11/2018 11/01/2019 M  
South and City College Birmingham 27/11/2018 08/01/2019 2 N/A
Eastleigh College 04/12/2018 10/01/2019 2 1
Chesterfield College 21/11/2018 07/01/2019 M  

 

Sixth Form Colleges Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Gateway Sixth Form College 28/11/2018 09/01/2019 M  
Thomas Rotherham College 29/11/2018 10/01/2019 M  
Trinity Solutions Academy 20/11/2018 08/01/2019 3 N/A

 

Independent Learning Providers Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
UK Training & Development Limited 21/11/2018 09/01/2019 M  
Norman Mackie & Associates Limited  28/11/2018 11/01/2019 M  
Care Training Solutions Ltd 14/12/2018 11/01/2019 M  
Escala Training Academy 28/11/2018 08/01/2019 2 N/A
LD Training Services 20/11/2018 07/01/2019 3 N/A
Civil Ceremonies Limited 28/11/2018 09/01/2019 1 N/A
Any Driver Limited 04/12/2018 08/01/2019 3 N/A
Tempest Management Training 29/11/2018 09/01/2019 M  
I&F Limited  04/12/2018 09/01/2019 M  
Aspire Development (UK) Ltd 28/11/2018 11/01/2019 M  
Kainuu Ltd 04/12/2018 09/01/2019 M  

 

Adult and Community Learning Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council  13/11/2018 10/01/2019 2 3

 

Employer providers Inspected Published Grade
Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust 12/12/2018 10/01/2019 M

 

Other  Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Manchester Metropolitan University 20/11/2018 09/01/2019 1

1

 

Independent specialist colleges  Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Livability Nash College 13/11/2018 09/01/2019 4 2