Ofsted at odds with mayoral combined authority’s provision

A potential conflict is brewing between central government bodies and devolved areas

A potential conflict is brewing between central government bodies and devolved areas

Exclusive

Discord between Ofsted and a mayoral combined authority has emerged after inspectors criticised a provider for enrolling graduates on a level 1 programme.

First Face to Face Limited was found to be making ‘insufficient progress’ in all three areas of a monitoring visit for its adult learning provision, funded by North of Tyne Combined Authority.

Inspectors found the provider “recruits too many learners who are undergraduates or have degrees” to their level 1 computerised accountancy and understanding enterprise programme, when the learners “are not planning to set up their own business”.

“These learners have enrolled on the programmes simply to enhance their curriculum vitae,” the report reads.

Information on learners’ prior qualifications is gathered, but they are enrolled on programmes that are “not sufficiently challenging”.

At the time of the visit, 12 learners were studying the computerised accountancy course and fewer than five were on the understanding enterprise programmes.

‘Clear rationale’ for allowing graduates on level 1 courses

In response to the report, the provider’s managing director Charlotte Windebank said the combined authority had “specifically commissioned” the adult education provision to “respond to low business start-up rates in the northeast,” and was intended to support entrepreneurial skills “regardless of prior attainment”.

A spokesperson for North of Tyne Combined Authority argued there was a “clear rationale” for the level 1 programme which “supports undergraduates into self-employment and social enterprise”.

Ofsted responded: “During a monitoring visit, inspectors check that programmes are at a suitable level for learners and that they benefit from the intended purpose of the course.”

Adult education budgets were devolved in six areas with a mayoral combined authority in 2019.

North of Tyne Combined Authority took over its £23 million adult education budget in 2020, behind the first wave, but ahead of Sheffield City Region and West Yorkshire combined authorities, which took control of their local budgets last August.

The disparity between Ofsted’s idea of best practice and the combined authority’s plans for its adult education provision sets up a potential future conflict between the central government body and devolved areas.

Ofsted criticised how learners study same programme

Ofsted’s report also criticised leaders for not having “effective oversight” of learners’ progress and for not intervening “quickly enough” when students fall behind on the computerised accountancy programme.

All learners receive the same programme content regardless of prior knowledge and can “competently complete” course workbook activities before they start the programme.

Leaders do not ensure all the provider’s teaching and pastoral staff complete safeguarding and ‘prevent’ duty training “quickly enough”.

Windebank said the provider was “obviously disappointed” with the report, “but are taking steps to ensure it fits the Ofsted framework when we get our full inspection in the new year”.

The provider’s leaders were complimented on the “useful advice about relevant careers” received by learners, though inspectors highlighted that leaders do not ensure access to “impartial careers advice about other opportunities”.

Appropriately qualified tutors also use their skills and experience to develop the skills of learners, who improve their confidence and gain useful networking opportunities.

North of Tyne Combined Authority said it will continue to monitor the provider and are working with them while First Face to Face implements their “robust” action plan.

Latest education roles from

Youth Worker

Youth Worker

Merton College

Meet and Greet Assistant

Meet and Greet Assistant

Barnet and Southgate College

Lecturer – Electrical Installation

Lecturer – Electrical Installation

Merton College

Business Development Consultant

Business Development Consultant

Barnsley College

Lunchtime Supervisor

Lunchtime Supervisor

Lightwoods Primary Academy

Apprentice Development Leader

Apprentice Development Leader

GP Strategies

Sponsored posts

Sponsored post

Why we’re backing our UK skills ‘Olympians’ (and why you should too)

This August, teams from over 200 nations will gather to compete in the sticky heat of the Paris summer...

Advertorial
Sponsored post

Is your organisation prepared for a major incident?

We live in an unpredictable world where an unforeseen incident or environmental event could disrupt a Further Education (FE)...

Advertorial
Sponsored post

A new chapter in education protection!

Gallagher is a specialist in the Further Education sector, working with over 75% of Further Education colleges in the...

Advertorial
Sponsored post

Pearson is planting the seed for sustainability talent with new HTQ

Sustainability is rapidly becoming a key organisational goal for many businesses looking to make a difference in society, the...

Advertorial

More from this theme

AEB, Devolution

Combined authority ‘rewinds’ adult education budget tender after complaints

West Yorkshire Combined Authority said it had faced ‘substantial challenges’ to its contract awarding decisions

Josh Mellor
AEB, Devolution

London’s mayor pairs skills with business in new appointment

Howard Dawber will take over from Jules Pipe, who has overseen skills for eight years

Josh Mellor
Devolution, election

Mayoral pledges: Burnham plans ‘halls of apprentice’ for Greater Manchester

We take a look at what England's newly elected mayors have promised to deliver for regional skills training

Josh Mellor
Adult education, Devolution, Politics

Local elections: What mayoral hopefuls have to say on skills

Elections are set to take place on May 2

Josh Mellor

Your thoughts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *