Ofsted verdict: HS2 college left employers to deliver training and failed to protect students from harassment

The grade four Ofsted report a National College went to the High Court to suppress has been published this morning.

FE Week broke the news earlier this month that the HS2 College, renamed as the National College for Advanced Transport and Infrastructure (NCATI), had been found ‘inadequate’ by inspectors in November and had filed for a judicial review to stop the result from seeing the light of day.

Following our reporting, the college dropped its court case and the watchdog has now made the report public.

It reveals “managers and staff do not act quickly enough to protect apprentices from harassment,” nor do they provide apprentices with the help, protection and support that they need.

In one incident, trainers and managers “failed to recognise or take effective action” to curb the harmful impact harassment was having on an apprentice.

“Staff did not prioritise the welfare and safeguarding needs of the apprentice over the needs of others in the class,” the report reads, while also stating the college’s safeguarding arrangements are “not effective”.

During a recent safeguarding incident, trainers and managers failed to recognise or take effective action to address the harmful impact of harassment being experienced by an apprentice while attending the college. Staff did not prioritise the welfare and safeguarding needs of the apprentice over the needs of others in the class.”

“Too many” of the apprentices, of which the college had 167 at the time of inspection, experience a “disjointed and insufficiently ordered curriculum”.

Apprentices in practical engineering roles like locomotive maintenance and repair, are not trained in engineering skills such as hand-fitting and machining, which they need in the workplace.

Instead, “employers often provide this training themselves to fill this skills gap.”

Inspectors found NCATI’s technical trainers are not “sufficiently adept” at planning and delivering challenging learning which enables the apprentices to develop their skills.

“On technical-based apprenticeship courses, too many apprentices experience a disjointed and insufficiently ordered curriculum”

“Apprentices in practical engineering roles, such as locomotive maintenance and repair, do not receive training in engineering skills such as hand-fitting and machining that they need in the workplace. Employers often provide this training themselves to fill this skills gap”

“Technical trainers are not sufficiently adept at planning and delivering challenging learning that enables apprentices to make assured progress in their skills development.”

The Ofsted report also lists the name of five subcontractors that deliver training on behalf of NCATI, such as the Leeds College of Building.

However, Ofsted fail to make any direct reference at all to quality of their training.

As statement from the NCATI board says: “We have made a lot of progress in our 2 years, with much to be proud of, despite significant challenges in our environment.

“We regard the Ofsted process and provisional grade as flawed, with serious implications for our ability to operate. As a last resort we took legal action in the interest of our learners and industry.

“We are working with the FE Commissioner (FEC) and others and are optimistic of securing a long term sustainable future for our provision, without disruption to our current learners. This has allowed us to drop the legal action.”

The government has published an FE Commissioner report into NCATI this morning.

More to follow…