Ofsted watch: Up-and-down week for FE

It’s been an up-and-down week for the FE sector, which saw a return of three ‘good’ ratings, but two ‘insufficient’ monitoring reports.

There was also disappointment for five other providers that got grade three reports, including a grade one college falling two ratings.

Holy Cross College in Manchester has improved on its last inspection, going from a grade three to a grade two following a “restructure” of the senior leadership team.

“Leaders and managers have created a culture of high expectations for both staff and students,” Ofsted said.

“Staff are highly motivated. They welcome the challenge and pace of change as leaders strive for excellence.”

Another college which has moved up a rating from three to two is Oldham College.

Inspectors praised senior leaders and governors for focussing “relentlessly on improving the college’s financial position and the quality of education and training”.

“They have been successful in returning the college to a stable financial position while investing significantly in improving the accommodation and resources at the college,” Ofsted said.

“The quality of teaching, learning and assessment is now good.”

Newham Sixth Form College maintained its grade two rating with Ofsted following an inspection in December.

Inspectors wrote approvingly of how a high and steadily increasing proportion of students achieved their qualifications, gain high grades on vocational courses and achieve a grade 4 or above in GCSE English.

“The new principal has quickly established his vision for the college to be ‘one college, one team’, which enables managers and staff to have direct input into agreeing the new values and mission for the college,” Ofsted added.

Meanwhile, Barnet and Southgate College dropped from a grade two to three, with a ‘requires improvement’ rating for every area except apprenticeships.

“Leaders and managers do not monitor the quality of subcontracted provision well enough,” inspectors reported.

“They are too reliant on the judgements of other contractors in assessing the quality of teaching, learning and assessment.”

Southampton College received its second consecutive grade three report from Ofsted.

The provider was criticised for ineffective learning and teaching in theory classes, attendance at English and maths classes and insufficient progress in improving curriculum-level self-assessment.

Blackburn College has maintained a grade three rating in its latest Ofsted report, with inspectors writing that governors and leaders have not successfully rectified weaknesses identified at the last inspection.

Independent learning provider BOCK Consultancy & Personnel Development Limited was hit with a grade three on its first inspection since it opened.

None of its learners manage a higher grade than a pass and too few learners complete their course, according to the report.

Swindon College, which was previously rated grade one in 2013, was told it required improvement after its latest inspection in December; as previously reported by FE Week.

Citrus Training Solutions Ltd scored two insufficient marks for apprenticeship provision and positive outcomes from a monitoring visit in December, as reported by FE Week.

The Development Fund, an independent learning provider, was also told it had made ‘insufficient progress’ after Ofsted found it was offering apprenticeships in areas it had no expertise.

“Leaders enrol most apprentices onto the level 3 standards-based apprenticeship in travel consultancy,” inspectors said.

“This is not the provider’s area of expertise. As a result, leaders relied too heavily on the employer’s advice and did not take sufficient control of the quality of the apprenticeship programme.”

Independent learning provider Creative Sport & Leisure Ltd also had a monitoring visit in December and made progress on two themes of the inspection, and significant progress in safeguarding.

Two other new apprenticeship providers – Valkyrie Support Services Ltd and Decidebloom Limited – had early monitoring visits this month and were both found to have made reasonable progress in all themes.

Ofsted also paid monitoring visits to the South Thames Colleges Group and Langdon College.

Both were previously graded ‘good’ were found to be making reasonable progress in all three areas in the monitoring reports published this week.

Develop-U, an independent learning provider, was paid another monitoring visit by Ofsted earlier this month after a previous visit found it was making ‘insufficient progress’ against the theme of safeguarding.

It has now been judged to have made ‘sufficient progress’ in the area.

Grade four UTC@harbourside was subject to a safeguarding monitoring visit and Ofsted found it was effective.

GFE Colleges Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Barnet and Southgate College  04/12/2018 21/01/2019 3 2
The Oldham College 04/12/2018 21/01/2019 2 3
Swindon College 11/12/2018 22/01/2019 3 1
South Thames Colleges Group 17/12/2018 23/01/2019 M N/A
Southampton City College 11/12/2018 23/01/2019 3 3
Blackburn College 11/12/2018 25/01/2019 3 3
Langdon College 13/12/2018 25/01/2019 M 3

 

Sixth Form Colleges (inc 16-19 academies) Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Newham Sixth Form College 04/12/2018 22/01/2019 2 2
Holy Cross College 10/12/2018 21/01/2019 2 3

 

Independent Learning Providers Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Creative Sport & Leisure Ltd  17/12/2018 22/01/2019 M N/A
BOCK Consultancy & Personnel Development Limited 11/12/2018 23/01/2019 3 N/A
Valkyrie Support Services Ltd 08/01/2019 25/01/2019 N/A M
Decidebloom Limited 05/12/2018 22/01/2019 M M
Citrus Training Solutions Ltd 12/12/2018 25/01/2019 M M
The Development Fund Limited 18/12/2018 24/01/2019 M M
Develop-U 08/01/2019 25/01/2019 M 2

 

Other (including UTCs) Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
UTC@harbourside 19/12/2018 21/01/2019 MM 4