Ten FE providers were awarded grade twos from Ofsted in a good week for the sector.

However, the college for HS2 and an independent learner provider were both hit with ‘inadequate’ ratings.

IT Skills Management Company Limited was one of the independent learner providers to receive a grade two after its first inspection by the education watchdog.

It has a partnership with Microsoft through which it delivers its apprenticeships within the digital sector using a variety of online teaching tools blended with more traditional delivery methods.

Inspectors found the 290 apprentices on roll “rapidly develop new skills and knowledge” and “benefit from the relationship the provider builds with their employer”.

The report also praised leaders and managers for developing a “well designed” curriculum.

SIGTA Ltd, which comprises a range of engineering companies in the south east, was also rated ‘good’ in its first inspection.

Training officer’s frequent training, as well as review, sessions, were praised by their 59 apprentices.

Most were found to have developed knowledge and skills they needed to be “effective and successful” employees.

In addition, Tower College of Further and Higher Education London Limited Learners was declared as a grade two.

All of its 500 learners are employed adults who attend lessons twice a week. The inspectorate reported that they enjoy how teachers bring lessons to life by drawing on their experience in the care sector.

The vocational and technical projects that 152 apprentices complete as part of their course at another ‘good’ independent learning provider, Valkyrie Support Services Ltd, “enable them to develop new practical and theoretical skills that are of immediate relevance to the workplace”.

Moreover, VQ Solutions Ltd improved from ‘requires improvement’ to ‘good’ this week.

Inspectors reported leaders had “a clear purpose” to deliver apprenticeships that meet specialist employer needs in the IT, telecoms and data cable industry, which were said to be “critical to national IT infrastructure”.

They also found employers were impressed by the 93 apprentices’ willingness to innovate and to take on increased responsibility early in their apprenticeship.

Independent learning providers Resources (NE) Limited and the Skills Partnership Limited both retained their ‘good’ grades.

Bilborough College also kept its grade two, where students’ behaviour and conduct was “exemplary,” topics were introduced in a “logical sequence” and teachers had “good” subject expertise.

Both the adult and community learning providers to be assessed this week were handed ‘good’ ratings.

Middlesbrough Council retained the grade in a short inspection where the “ambitious” curriculum for learners and apprentices, many of whom are unemployed or have challenging personal circumstances, was praised by inspectors.

Richmond and Hillcroft Adult and Community College was declared ‘good’ in its first inspection. Ofsted said “learners benefit from good quality teaching and support from tutors which enable them to achieve qualifications and go on to their next steps”.

In contrast, independent learning provider Gordon Franks Training Limited and independent specialist college LifeBridge ASEND were both rated ‘requires improvement’.

Furthermore, the National College for Advanced Transport and Infrastructure (see full story here) and independent learner provider the Business Portfolio (UK) Limited were both declared ‘inadequate’.

Business Portfolio (UK) Limited was previously found to be making ‘reasonable progress’ in a second monitoring visit after receiving ‘insufficient progress’ across the board in its first.

The education watchdog found that apprentices “do not develop substantial new knowledge, skills and behaviours,” and also felt “frustrated” about poor communication between the provider and their employer.

Selection Training Limited also gained one ‘insufficient progress’ grade in a second follow-up monitoring visit following three in its first.

Leaders were criticised for not ensuring that tutors had completed “effective training” on their responsibilities under the ‘Prevent’ duty or in safeguarding adults.

Employer provider Greenwich Leisure Limited was found to have made ‘insufficient progress’ in one of out of four assessed themes in a monitoring visit after receiving a ‘requires improvement’ rating.

Genius Software Solutions Limited received ‘reasonable progress’ ratings in a second monitoring visit, after being awarded ‘insufficient progress’ across the board in the first.

But the Romsey School was found to be making ‘significant progress’ in two out of three assessed themes in an early monitoring visit.

The remaining independent learning providers received ‘reasonable progress’ across the board.

These were: Cips Corporate Services Limited, Hart Learning and Development Limited and The Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers (Solace Group) Ltd.

Independent Learning ProvidersInspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
Cips Corporate Services Limited05/02/202026/02/2020MN/A
Genius Software Solutions Limited12/02/202027/02/2020MM
Gordon Franks Training Limited07/02/202028/02/202032
Hart Learning and Development Limited23/01/202024/02/2020MN/A
Resources (NE) Limited07/02/202028/02/202022
Selection Training Limited30/01/202027/02/2020MM
SIGTA Ltd06/02/202028/02/20202M
The Business Portfolio (UK) Limited23/01/202024/02/20204M
The IT Skills Management Company Limited14/02/202025/02/20202M
The Romsey School12/02/202027/02/2020MN/A
The Skills Partnership Limited13/02/202025/02/202022
The Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers (Solace Group) Ltd23/01/202027/02/2020MN/A
Tower College Of Further And Higher Education London Limited06/02/202028/02/20202M
Valkyrie Support Services Ltd31/01/202024/02/20202M
VQ Solutions Ltd07/02/202025/02/202023


Sixth Form Colleges (inc 16-19 academies)InspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
Bilborough College29/01/202026/02/202022


Adult and Community LearningInspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
Middlesbrough Council12/02/202028/02/202022
Richmond and Hillcroft Adult and Community College17/01/202027/02/20202N/A


Employer providersInspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
Greenwich Leisure Limited28/01/202027/02/2020M3


Specialist collegesInspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
LifeBridge ASEND23/01/202026/02/202033


General FE collegesInspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
The National College for Advanced Transport and Infrastructure08/11/201924/02/20204N/A

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