Ofsted updates report after grades omission fiasco

Ofsted has been forced to revise a published inspection report after being made aware it was missing both apprenticeship and adult course grades and commentary.

Peter Symonds College teaches around 4,200 young people aged 16 to 19 and was rated ‘outstanding’ across the board in a report published by the education watchdog last week.

But the report failed to grade provision for 55 apprentices aged 19 or older and 61 adult learners on access to higher education courses.

After FE Week raised this with Ofsted, a spokesperson claimed that inspectors did assess this provision during the visit in January, and the omission of grades in the original report “was an oversight on our part.

“A revised report has been published that includes grades for adult learning programmes and apprenticeships. Peter Symonds College remains an outstanding provider and should be congratulated for this significant achievement.”

The updated report shows the college scored ‘outstanding’ for its adult learning programmes, but ‘good’ for apprenticeships.

Peter Symonds College confirmed that both adult education and apprenticeships were “inspected and were in receipt of focused ‘deep dives’ as part of the whole college inspection”.

“Peter Symonds College is extremely proud to have retained its outstanding grade in our recent inspection,” a spokesperson added.

“This reflects the hard work and commitment of all our staff and students as well as our unremitting focus on providing high quality education: something for which we have been renowned for several decades.”

The Hampshire-based college retained its top grade after more than a decade without inspection.

In its new Ofsted report, inspectors said they found that teachers plan flexible timetables which enable adult learners to combine their studies with busy lifestyles.

The students were said to “produce work of a very high standard” and consequently “nearly all move on to university to study their chosen subject”.

It was also reported that apprentices gain the knowledge and skills they need to work successfully in supporting teaching and learning in schools.

According to inspectors, since apprenticeship provision began in 2017, leaders and managers have ensured that apprentices receive good-quality off-the-job training that supports them well in their job roles.

In addition, most of its 4,200 young students achieve high grades in their A-levels and were “well-prepared for their aspirational next steps to prestigious universities”.

The inspectorate claimed that they also benefit from “excellent facilities and resources” and their participation in enrichment activities “develops their sense of social justice and their roles as active citizens”.

Furthermore, Ofsted found that college leaders and managers place a “very strong” emphasis on maintaining the wellbeing of their staff by allowing them to take part in activities like yoga and Pilates which balance out their working lives.

As a result, staff felt “very well supported and repay managers by promoting the college’s ambitious culture for all its students”.