Liverpool-based Oakmere Community College appeals against two-grade slump to inadequate

A Liverpool-based independent learning provider (ILP) has launched an appeal after it slumped from its previous ‘good’ Ofsted rating to ‘inadequate’.

The report on Oakmere Community College, which recruits around 300 learners each year on 16–19 study programmes, rated the ILP as inadequate across the board. The rating was down from its previous ‘good’ Ofsted rating in March 2012.

Bosses at the ILP, which has been allocated around £5m by the Education Funding Agency for this academic year, said they were appealing against the result of the report, which was highly critical of learner attendance, among other issues.

It said: “Too many learners do not attend lessons regularly or on time. As a result, they learn little and do not achieve their potential.

“The poor pattern of attendance and punctuality interrupts the learning of those who do attend regularly and slows their progress.”

The proportion of learners on study programmes who successfully achieved their qualifications, the report warned, was also “low”.

It added that this proportion was “significantly lower than other providers, with less than half of learners achieving their qualification in the last year”.

Managers were also criticised for failing to “manage successfully the transition to study programmes from foundation learning programmes which they offered at the last inspection”.

“They do not ensure that the full requirements of study programmes are met for all learners; for example, not all learners benefit from good work experience,” the report, published on January 18, added.

It said: “Managers have not developed effective arrangements to monitor learners’ attendance and punctuality, which have been low for the last two years.”

“Oakmere’s strategy to ensure a high standard of teaching in English and mathematics lacks detail and too few learners achieve their qualifications,” it said.

It added that “too many learners do not benefit from a well-planned individual study programme” and too few gained from “well-structured, well-planned and suitable work experience which meets their individual needs and aspirations”.

However, the report said that staff worked well with external agencies “to safeguard the welfare of all learners”.

“The majority of staff have recently completed training on how to identify extremism and radicalisation and how to protect learners. However, they are yet to use this information in their work with learners,” it added.

It also pointed out that “leaders and managers place a strong focus on engaging and recruiting learners who are hardest to reach”.

A spokesperson from the ILP said: “We are of course extremely disappointed with the Ofsted report and are robustly defending the outcome through the appeals process and therefore cannot say more at this time.”

Ofsted has said it will not comment on individual cases.

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