Ofsted watch: UTC impresses while colleges flounder

A university technical college stood out this week for the right reasons – it was rated ‘good’ in its first ever inspection.

General FE colleges didn’t reach the same heights, with two large college groups dropping to ‘requires improvement’ while another received a second consecutive ‘inadequate’ report.

UTC Warrington was given a grade two after being commended for its effective governance and teaching since opening in September 2016.

Inspectors said the UTC has developed and improved over its first three years and that a very low number of pupils leave the college without continuing their education or taking up apprenticeships.

They added that leaders know what the college does well and what it still needs to do to improve, and is prepared to address aspects that have not been fully successful.

University of Brighton also received a grade two rating in its first inspection, after “successfully” developing apprenticeships.

The education watchdog said the leaders and managers work well with the local NHS trusts to ensure their staff develop new skills and knowledge, and have taken effective action to recruit experienced and highly qualified staff into leadership and teaching positions.

Another HE provider, University of Bradford, made ‘reasonable progress’ in its first monitoring visit since it started delivering apprenticeships in January last year, after being found to have established a “clear rationale” for the delivery of the apprenticeship programme.

But it was bad news for Hull College, which fell from a grade two to a grade three after Ofsted founds the quality of teaching, learning and assessment is “not yet consistently good” across all types of provision.

Managers of the college, which teaches over 15,000 students, were accused of being too slow to address the programme’s weaknesses, resulting in apprentices making slow progress and not being challenged sufficiently to reach their full potential.

Cornwall College was also rated ‘requires improvement’ this week, down from ‘good’.

Ofsted said leaders’ and managers’ initiatives to improve quality have “yet to show a significant impact”.

Teaching, learning and assessment and students’ achievements are improving, “but are not yet good enough across all programmes and training routes”.

Governors “have not challenged leaders and managers sufficiently to improve the quality of teaching, learning and assessment”.

The downgrade follows news that the college secured a £30 million government bailout to drive forward its “fresh start” business plan.

And Moulton College retained its grade four rating, with Ofsted criticising leaders and governors for failing to improve its performance.

It was also bad news for employer provider Goodman Masson Limited, which was given two ‘insufficient progress’ ratings and one ‘reasonable’. Leaders were accused of overlooking the need for apprentices to complete externally awarded qualifications as part of their apprenticeships.

More successful was Norwich City College of Further and Higher Education, which was found to have made ‘significant progress’ since its merger with Paston Sixth Form College in December 2017. Cambridge Regional College also made ‘significant progress’ in two provisions and ‘reasonable progress’ in another following its merger with Huntingdon Regional College in August 2017.

Lancaster and Morecambe College was found to have made ‘reasonable progress’ across all provisions following a grade three report last April.

Two specialist colleges, Goldwyn Sixth Form College and Brentwood Community College, also received monitoring visits after previously being rated grade three. The former made ‘reasonable progress’ in one provision, ‘insufficient’ in another and ‘significant’ in another, while the latter made ‘reasonable progress’ across all provisions.

Elsewhere, it was an average week for private providers with four – Performance Learning Group Ltd, Steve Willis Training Ltd, North Humberside Motor Trades GTA and PBC Associates Limited – making ‘reasonable progress’ across the board in early monitoring visits.

Enabling Development Opportunities made ‘reasonable progress’ in two areas but ‘insufficient progress’ in one provision since being given grade three rating.

And following its grade four rating last year, DV8 Training (Brighton) Limited was found to have been made good progress after introducing “well-designed” traineeships as a short-term method of fulfilling their commitment to the small number of new students who were expecting to be on a study programme.

Showcase Training made ‘significant progress’ in its first visit. Inspectors said leaders have prioritised the quality of training and maintained the confidence of employers while having a clear strategy and vision for the organisation in the childcare sector.

Lastly, adult learning provider North East Lincolnshire Council made ‘significant progress’ in one provision and reasonable progress in two areas after being given a grade four last year, and employer provider Unipres (UK) Limited made ‘reasonable progress’ across all areas in its early monitoring visit of its apprenticeship provision.

GFE Colleges Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Hull College 07/05/2019 18/06/2019 3 2
Cambridge Regional College 09/05/2019 19/06/2019 M n/a
The Cornwall College Group 14/05/2019 20/06/2019 3 2
Lancaster and Morecambe College 08/05/2019 19/06/2019 M 3
Norwich City College of Further and Higher Education 09/05/2019 19/06/2019 M n/a
Moulton College 30/04/2019 19/06/2019 4 4

 

Independent Specialist College Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Goldwyn Sixth Form College 15/05/2019 18/06/2019 M 3
Brentwood Community College 09/05/2019 19/06/2019 M 3

 

Independent Learning Providers Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
DV8 TRAINING (BRIGHTON) LIMITED 21/05/2019 21/06/2019 M 4
Enabling Development Opportunities Ltd 23/05/2019 18/06/2019 M 3
Performance Learning Group Ltd 16/05/2019 20/06/2019 M n/a
Showcase Training 21/05/2019 19/06/2019 M n/a
Steve Willis Training Ltd 15/05/2019 20/06/2019 M n/a
North Humberside Motor Trades GTA 21/05/2019 21/06/2019 M 3
PBC Associates Limited 15/05/2019 21/06/2019 M 2

 

Adult and Community Learning Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
North East Lincolnshire Council 14/05/2019 17/06/2019 M 4

 

Employer providers Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Unipres (Uk) Limited 14/05/2019 17/06/2019 M n/a
Goodman Masson Limited 09/05/2019 19/06/2019 M n/a

 

Other (including UTCs) Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
UTC Warrington 14/05/2019 20/06/2019 2 n/a
University of Bradford 21/05/2019 17/06/2019 M n/a
University of Brighton 14/05/2019 18/06/2019 2 n/a