Ofsted watch: An uncomfortable week for many providers

Three independent learning providers received a grade three from Ofsted, in a mixed week for FE providers.

One independent learning provider, City College Nottingham, was found to be inadequate by the education watchdog but there were eight ‘good’ grades across the sector.

Green Labyrinth, a Swindon-based independent learning provider, dropped from a grade two to a grade three.

It had 53 young learners, 59 adult learners, 20 learners with high-needs and 51 apprentices at the time of the full inspection.

While the education watchdog found learners enjoy their education, it said teachers do not provide enough useful feedback on their progress, staff do not have the specialist knowledge of how best to support learners with high needs and not all apprentices receive enough training.

Inspectors said leaders and managers “have not acted quickly enough” to address weaknesses.

However, it was reported that adults receive a “high-quality education” and all the programmes have been “designed well to meet local needs”.

Lean Education and Development Limited, an independent training provider specialising in delivering apprenticeships in business improvement techniques for learners aged 19 and over, received a grade three in its first full inspection.

It became a prime-contract holder in May 2017 and had 724 apprentices at the time of the inspection.

Ofsted found apprentices enjoy learning and feel safe in their work environments but that they “do not receive the support they need to develop their English and mathematics skills” or “benefit from high-quality, impartial careers advice and guidance”.

The content was considered “too narrowly focused” on the standards or framework part of the apprenticeship but the links to employers were praised as were the coaches.

The other independent learning provider to be graded ‘requires improvement’ was the Development Fund Ltd, which had received two out of three ‘insufficient progress’ grades in an early monitoring visit report published at the start of the year.

At the time of the inspection, of the 89 apprentices who started level 3 standards in travel consultancy and were employed in travel agencies throughout the country, 45 are still in learning.

Nearly half had left their programme due to “threatened redundancies and the volatile nature of the travel industry”.

Since the last visit from the inspectorate, curriculum plans were developed but as these were recent, it was “not possible” to judge the full impact.

However, “quality improvement actions have been implemented too slowly” despite apprentices demonstrating “high levels of professionalism”.

Another independent learning provider, Genius Solutions Limited, received two out of three ‘insufficient progress’ grades in a monitoring visit.

It was found that leaders have “not developed a curriculum that considers apprentices’ starting points or is tailored to the needs of apprentices or employers” and “do not ensure that their programmes meet the requirements of an apprenticeship”.

While staff are highly qualified, apprentices’ progress are not tracked effectively and effective systems are not in place to check and improve quality, according to Ofsted.

However, in more positive news, SHL Training Solutions Ltd was found to be making ‘reasonable progress’ in its second monitoring visit of the year.

SIMIAN Risk Management Limited also received ‘reasonable progress’ grades in a monitoring visit after receiving a grade three in a full inspection in March.

London Skills & Development Network Limited improved from a grade three to a grade two while North Lancs. Training Group Limited maintained its ‘good’ rating.

Five out of six adult and community learning providers that were assessed this week also received grade two from inspectors.

Merton Adult Education improved from a grade three to a grade two while Wolverhampton Adult Education Service fell from being ‘outstanding’ to ‘good’.

Buckinghamshire County Council, London Borough of Newham Adult Learning Service and Lambeth Adult Learning Service (Lambeth London Borough Council) all retained their ‘good’ grades.

The other adult and community learning provider Kettering Borough Council was deemed to be making ‘significant progress’ in both themes in a monitoring visit, following a grade three in a full inspection in 2017.

Two employer providers received early monitoring visits this week. Gedling Borough Council made ‘significant progress’ in one assessed theme and ‘reasonable progress’ in the other two while University Hospitals Birmingham Foundation NHS Trust received ‘significant progress’ across the board.

East Riding College, a general further education college, continued to be a ‘good’ provider in a short inspection.

Another general FE college, Kensington and Chelsea College, made ‘reasonable progress’ across the board in a monitoring visit after receiving a grade three in 2018.

Independent specialist college Cambian Lufton College also received ‘reasonable progress’ grades in every assessed theme after being declared ‘inadequate’ in July.

The remaining independent learning providers to be assessed this week all received ‘reasonable progress’ across the board following early monitoring visits.

These were: Apprenticeship Recruitment Service Ltd, Brighter Beginnings Day Nursery Limited, Evolve Your Future Limited, Mercury Training Services Ltd and Thermal Insulation Contractors Association (TICA).

Independent Learning Providers Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Apprenticeship Recruitment Service Ltd 21/11/2019 16/12/2019 M N/A
Brighter Beginnings Day Nursery Limited 21/11/2019 20/12/2019 M N/A
City College Nottingham 08/11/2019 20/12/2019 4 3
Evolve Your Future Limited 14/11/2019 18/12/2019 M N/A
Genius Solutions Limited 26/11/2019 17/12/2019 M 3
Green Labyrinth 29/11/2019 20/12/2019 3 2
Lean Education and Development Limited 06/12/2019 19/12/2019 3 M
London Skills & Development Network Limited 07/11/2019 16/12/2019 2 3
Mercury Training Services Ltd 05/12/2019 19/12/2019 M N/A
SHL Training Solutions Ltd 28/11/2019 17/12/2019 M M
SIMIAN Risk Management Limited 28/11/2019 20/12/2019 M 3
The Development Fund Limited 27/11/2019 20/12/2019 3 M
North Lancs. Training Group Limited 27/11/2019 16/12/2019 2 2
Thermal Insulation Contractors Association (TICA) 28/11/2019 18/12/2019 M M

 

Adult and Community Learning Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Buckinghamshire County Council 27/11/2019 18/12/2019 2 2
Kettering Borough Council 27/11/2019 19/12/2019 M 3
London Borough of Newham Adult Learning Service 14/11/2019 18/12/2019 2 2
Merton Adult Education 11/10/2019 18/12/2019 2 3
Wolverhampton Adult Education Service 29/11/2019 19/12/2019 2 1
Lambeth Adult Learning Service (Lambeth London Borough Council) 30/10/2019 18/12/2019 2 2

 

Employer providers Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Gedling Borough Council 07/11/2019 18/12/2019 M N/A
University Hospitals Birmingham Foundation NHS Trust  22/11/2019 19/12/2019 M N/A

 

Specialist colleges Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Cambian Lufton College 27/11/2019 17/12/2019 M 4

 

General FE and Tertiary Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
East Riding College 04/12/2019 18/12/2019 2 2
Kensington and Chelsea College 22/11/2019 18/12/2019 M 3