Ofsted releases reports for inspections pre-Covid – but only the positive ones

Ofsted has begun publishing FE and skills inspection reports again.

Four new reports, based on pre-coronavirus visits, appeared on the inspectorate’s website today including two ‘good’ full inspections and two early monitoring apprenticeship verdicts that scored ‘reasonable progress’ across the board.

The watchdog had paused the publication of all further education and skills reports, apart from social care inspections, on the 20 March owing to the ongoing pandemic.

They had planned to publish them only when teaching returns to normal, but later said they would release them sooner if requested by individual providers.

Ofsted, which has also suspended all routine inspections until further notice, previously told FE Week it was sitting on 50 FE and skills reports that had been completed before the Covid-19 outbreak.

FE Week has asked the watchdog for a breakdown of the results of those 50.

The last time an FE and skills full inspection or monitoring visit report was published before today was 19 March.

The two ‘good’ full inspections were for private providers CSR Scientific Training Limited, based in the West Midlands, and Apprentice Team Ltd (ATL), based in Chesterfield.

CSR trains almost 200 apprentices on science-based standards. Working in “clinical, structured and orderly environments”, the trainees develop a “resilience which enables them to work under pressure,” according to today’s report.

Ofsted found that the apprentices are “exceptionally motivated to achieve their qualification” and have a “very positive and proactive attitude” to become, for example, a biomedical scientist or cardiac practitioner.

Leaders and managers were praised for having established “strong and productive partnerships with professional institutions and employers such as The Royal Society of Chemistry and the National Physical Laboratory – tailoring training to the sector’s needs”.

Meanwhile, ATL’s leaders and managers were lauded for having an “ambitious vision for the organisation, focused on the company’s core area of expertise in business administration and customer service”.

They train around 120 apprentices and 20 adult learners, who are “highly motivated” and are taught by “well qualified staff” who provide “good-quality individual sessions”.

One of the ‘reasonable progress’ monitoring reports released today was for the University of Northampton, which trains 65 nursing associate apprentices at level 5 who work at hospitals and medical centres in the local area.

Inspectors said leaders have a “clear rationale” for the programme as it is “responsive to regional and national staff shortages in high-quality nursing care in the public and the private sectors” and represents a “significant stepping stone towards a career in nursing for mature entrants to the profession”.

Dick White Academy, based in Cambridgeshire, was the other provider to be judged making ‘reasonable progress’ in all areas of an early monitoring visit.

It trains just under 40 apprentices on animal care and veterinary nursing standards – which were chosen by the provider’s directors to “remedy national and local shortages”.

Off-the-job training was described by inspectors as “high quality”, and they noted how apprentices have access to the staff and facilities at Dick White Referrals Limited, one of the largest private specialist veterinary referral centres in Europe.