Ofsted watch: College making ‘reasonable progress’ since going into administration

West Kent and Ashford College has scored well in its first Ofsted monitoring visit since it went into administration, in what was a mixed week for FE providers.

The college, which followed its sister college Hadlow to become the second provider to fall under the new insolvency regime in August, received ‘reasonable progress’ ratings across the board. Its last full inspection, in late 2018, resulted in a grade three.

In terms of improving retention and achievement for adults on English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) courses and students aged 16 to 18, Ofsted found more learners “now stay at college, complete their studies and achieve their qualifications than at the time of the previous inspection”.

“Leaders and managers have accomplished this by improving induction procedures and support for new learners,” inspectors said.

Leaders and managers have worked closely with teaching staff to “improve feedback to learners”, while Graham Morley, the interim principal, and senior leaders have “recently restructured the management of apprenticeships, which has led to improvements”.

Elsewhere, DN Colleges Group was found making ‘significant progress’ in one area, and ‘reasonable progress’ in three others in its first monitoring visit since it was formed in November 2017 following the merger of Doncaster College and North Lindsey College.

“Leaders and senior managers have a clear vision for the college group post-merger and promote high expectations for all students and apprentices,” Ofsted found.

“Leaders and governors have invested significantly in the recruitment of senior quality assurance managers, curriculum leaders and teaching staff to ensure sustained improvement. As a result, the pace of improvement over the last 12 months has been rapid.”

DN Colleges Group’s board of governors has also been “substantially strengthened”.

The most positive report of the week went to Impellam Group PLC, an international specialist recruitment company based in Luton which trains over 180 apprentices.

It was found making ‘significant progress’ across the board in its early monitoring visit.

Leaders “plan programmes very effectively” in partnership with employers, including the likes of British Airways, Ofsted found.

“They establish accurately the existing skills and knowledge apprentices have at the start of their programmes.”

Employer provider Caunton Engineering Limited was also found making ‘significant progress’ in an area of its early monitoring report.

The structural steelwork contractor designs and builds steelwork for large building projects across the UK, and trains 13 apprentices currently.

Inspectors said trainers at the employer “provide well-planned training, and help apprentices to develop their knowledge and skills from design through to manufacture”.

Several current apprentices are “working at a level beyond what would be expected at this stage in their programmes”.

Another provider to pick up a ‘significant progress’ rating in an early monitoring report was private provider Gem Partnership Limited.

This was for its safeguarding provision, with Ofsted noting how leaders “implement a comprehensive approach to keeping apprentices and staff safe”.

But it was bad news this week Selection Training Limited, which was found making ‘insufficient progress’ across the board.

The watchdog said leaders “do not ensure that the requirements of apprenticeships are met or that employers demonstrate sufficient commitment to the programmes”.

Staff at the provider are also “not involved sufficiently in the selection of apprentices to ensure that recruits are suited well to the programme”.

Ofsted also came down hard on one of the UK’s leading firms of financial compliance advisers this week.

New Model Business Academy made ‘insufficient progress’ in two areas of its provision to 113 apprentices on level 4 financial adviser and paraplanner standards, during an early monitoring visit.

It is the not-for-profit training arm of SimplyBiz, which is registered on the London Stock Exchange.

Azilo Training Ltd, which was found making ‘insufficient progress’ in its early monitoring report published in January when it was called BNG Training Limited, was given a grade three in its first full inspection.

Ofsted said senior leaders “have not yet successfully addressed all of the weaknesses identified at the previous monitoring visit” and their strategies to improve the quality of provision “lack rigour”.

Inspectors did say, however, that most apprentices “develop new work-related skills and behaviours and add value to employers’ businesses”.

Lastly, two private providers, Positive Approach Academy for Hair Limited and Avensys UK Training Limited, were both found making ‘reasonable progress’ across the board in early monitoring reports.

 

GFE Colleges Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
DN Colleges Group 11/09/2019 08/10/2019 M N/A
West Kent and Ashford College 25/09/2019 11/10/2019 M 3

 

Independent Learning Providers Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Azilo Training Ltd 20/08/2019 07/10/2019 3 M
New Model Business Academy Limited 18/09/2019 07/10/2019 M N/A
Selection Training Limited 05/09/2019 07/10/2019 M N/A
Impellam Group PLC 10/09/2019 08/10/2019 M N/A
Avensys UK Training Limited 25/09/2019 10/10/2019 M N/A
Gem Partnership Limited 10/09/2019 10/10/2019 M N/A
Positive Approach Academy for Hair Limited 18/09/2019 10/10/2019 M N/A

 

Employer providers Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Caunton Engineering Limited 25/09/2019 09/10/2019 M N/A