Ofsted watch: 4 ‘insufficient progress’ verdicts in mixed week for FE

A software firm and three providers working in the care sector have been heavily criticised by Ofsted, in a mixed week for FE providers.

Genius Software Solutions Limited was one of two new private providers to be awarded three out of three ‘insufficient progress’ grades in early monitoring reports.

The education watchdog found its apprenticeships “are of little benefit to too many apprentices and do not develop or extend their knowledge, skills or behaviours” and “too many apprentices do not make rapid enough progress”.

Inspectors added that apprentices who need to achieve English or mathematics qualifications do not receive enough structured support to develop their skills and are not well prepared for exams.

Leaders and managers were also deemed to “have not put in place effective arrangements to improve quality”.

Genius Software Solutions delivers apprenticeships across England and Scotland but only the 109 apprentices on programmes in England were in scope for the visit.

Phoenix4Training LLP was the other provider found making ‘insufficient progress’ across the board.

The company, which was established by two partners in 2007, offers a range of commercial training and funded training to the health and social care and rail sectors.

At the time of the monitoring visit, it delivered training to 59 apprentices.

Ofsted said leaders have “insufficient oversight” over the quality of the programme and apprentices’ progress.

The report also stated “leaders and managers have insufficient understanding of the expectations and requirements of an apprenticeship programme”.

According to inspectors, “too few apprentices develop new vocational knowledge, skills and behaviours as a result of their apprenticeship” and assessments were “insufficient”.

Another two independent learning providers – Principal Skills Limited and Care Assessment Training Services Ltd – received two ‘insufficient progress’ grades in their early monitoring reports.

Principal Skills Limited had just 11 apprentices on programmes at levels 2, 3 and 5. It delivers its provision in care homes and in engineering and construction settings.

The education watchdog reported leaders and managers have “not ensured that their provision meets the requirements and principles of an apprenticeship” or that “employers fulfil their obligations to their apprentices”.

While steps have been put in place to address the finding that around half of the apprentices on standards-based apprenticeships are significantly past their intended completion date, inspectors said it is “too early” to identify the impact of their actions.

Ofsted found “many” employers working with Care Assessment Training Services Ltd sector did not know their staff were on apprenticeships (click here for full story).

Providers that are deemed to have made ‘insufficient progress’ in early monitoring reports are suspended from recruiting apprentices until their Ofsted grade improves, under government rules.

Elsewhere this week, independent learning provider Youth Force Limited was graded ‘good’ in its first full inspection. Inspectors who visited the Sussex-based provider found that apprentices “are enthusiastic to learn”.

They also “enjoy developing new knowledge and skills” and are “increasingly confident to apply their new learning at work”.

Employer provider Rentokil Initial (1896) Limited was also graded ‘good’ in a full inspection. The global company trains over 350 of its own apprentices who “enjoy their learning and show high levels of professionalism at work and in training”.

Ofsted added that the apprentices “benefit from a carefully planned curriculum that enables them to build their knowledge and perfect their skills”.

The JGA Group maintained its grade two in a short inspection, with inspectors noting that learners “particularly appreciate being taught by experts who help to bring their subjects to life and make them relevant in the workplace”.

Another grade two went to HTP Apprenticeship College Ltd, but it wasn’t all celebrations as it had actually dropped from a grade one following an 11-year respite.

Meanwhile, the University of Hertfordshire was praised for making ‘significant progress’ in its apprenticeship provision in all three assessed themes in an early monitoring visit.

Leaders have a “clear strategy” to provide “highly effective” programmes that “meet the requirements of an apprenticeship”, inspectors said.

And two providers – Paddington Development Trust and the Virtual College – were found making ‘reasonable progress’ in all assessed themes in monitoring visits following ‘requires improvement’ grades in full inspections earlier in the year.

The remaining independent learning providers assessed by the inspectorate this week received ‘reasonable progress’ across the board following their monitoring visits.

These were: Captiva Learning Ltd, Bottle Green Training Limited, Happy Computers, Mercia College Limited and Trainplus Ltd.


Independent Learning ProvidersInspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
Captiva Learning Ltd14/11/201905/12/2019MN/A
Care Assessment Training Services Ltd24/10/201902/12/2019MN/A
Genius Software Solutions Limited24/10/201902/12/2019MN/A
Happy Computers13/11/201904/12/2019M2
HTP Apprenticeship College Ltd15/11/201902/12/201921
Mercia College Limited13/11/201904/12/2019MN/A
Paddington Development Trust06/11/201903/12/2019M3
Phoenix4Training LLP07/11/201904/12/2019MN/A
The JGA Group31/10/201904/12/201922
Virtual College21/11/201903/12/2019M3
Trainplus Ltd14/11/201905/12/2019MN/A
Youth Force Limited15/11/201905/12/20192M
Bottle Green Training Limited14/11/201906/12/2019MN/A
Principal Skills Limited14/11/201906/12/2019MN/A


Employer providersInspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
Rentokil Initial (1896) Limited15/11/201902/12/20192M


Other (including UTCs)InspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
University of Hertfordshire24/10/201904/12/2019MN/A

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One comment

  1. Does anyone know the answer to this?

    How does a grade 4 provider actually turn the situation around? Currently, grade 4 = no RoATP – and no monitoring visit means no way to prove you have improved. Therefore, grade 4 is terminal!

    Am I right? Or are there ways through?