Ofsted Watch: Rapidly-expanding provider lauded

A rapidly-expanding adult learning provider has been lauded by Ofsted, while one apprenticeship newcomer was censored for making ‘insufficient progress’ in all areas.

Best Practice Training & Development Limited made ‘significant progress’ in every area of its early monitoring visit.

After earning a funded adult learning contract in October 2017, 1,361 learners had attended courses in English, maths and ICT from entry level to level 2, in 2018/19.

Inspectors found these courses helped learners “to overcome personal and social barriers to employment by improving their self-confidence and by helping them to gain qualifications and skills”.

Tutors and managers plan courses to focus on skills their learners need to find employment, and link course content to everyday knowledge.

For example, tutors link developing digital skills and accessing Universal Credit.

They know their students “very well” and learners “enjoy their learning and feel valued by the supportive staff,” the report reads.

Learners gain confidence in their own abilities, improve their basic English, maths and digital skills and many move on to employment or further study.

Best Practice Training & Development also enrols learners on short work skills courses and on units in retail or warehousing. The inspectorate said managers need to develop a “clear programme of work experience” for these.

At the complete other end of the inspection spectrum this week was Kingswood Learning and Leisure Group, which earned three ‘insufficient progress’ ratings from its early monitoring visit.

This is partly because 100 apprentices are expected to be on unpaid leave for two months during a business shutdown while still on their training programme.

A spokesperson told FE Week: “We are clearly disappointed by Ofsted’s findings; we have been actively working on the issues highlighted.”

Having a better week is Encompass Consultancy, which has made ‘reasonable progress’ in all areas after a grade three inspection in August last year.

“Leaders have successfully reshaped the curriculum strategy for adult learning programmes since the previous inspection,” inspectors wrote.

Encompass has stopped providing business courses funded by advanced learner loans in the London area, after the previous inspection report said only half those learners completed the course as they found attendance requirements and written assignments “very challenging”.

Tutors work effectively with employers to co-ordinate the on and off-the-job training apprentices receive, however Ofsted found a small minority of apprentices do not receive the expected level of off-the-job training.

Encompass’ leaders and managers place a high priority on staff extending and updating their subject knowledge and expertise, so tutors recently undertook hot stone massage training, a popular treatment offered by many employers.

Folkestone and Hythe District Council was found to have made ‘significant progress’ in safeguarding, and ‘reasonable progress’ in the two other areas of its early monitoring visit.

Inspectors complimented “a keen awareness of safeguarding” which “permeates the culture” throughout the councils where its 40 apprentices work.

As a result, “consideration of safeguarding is well embedded into the apprentices’ daily activities”.

Accipio Limited, C & G Assessments and Training Limited, Encompass Consultancy Limited, Go Train Limited, Leadership in Action Limited, Real Skills Limited, Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust, and University of Bedfordshire all received ‘reasonable progress’ ratings in every area of their early monitoring reports.

Independent Learning Providers Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Accipio Limited 29/08/2019 17/08/2019 M N/A
Best Practice Training & Development Limited 30/08/2019 18/09/2019 M N/A
C & G Assessments And Training Limited 23/08/2019 18/09/2019 M N/A
Encompass Consultancy  04/09/2019 15/09/2019 M 3
Folkestone & Hythe District Council 05/09/2019 20/09/2019 M N/A
Go Train Limited 15/08/2019 19/09/2019 M N/A
Leadership in Action Limited 08/08/2019 17/09/2019 M N/A
Real Skills Limited 08/08/2019 17/09/2019 M N/A


Employer providers Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust 08/08/2019 18/09/2019 M N/A
Kingswood Learning and Leisure Group Limited 08/08/2019 18/09/2019 M N/A


Other (including UTCs) Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
University of Bedfordshire 22/08/2019 19/09/2019 M N/A