Ofsted watch: An ‘outstanding’ start to the new year

An independent provider has been rated ‘outstanding’ in its first ever inspection report, while all the other full reports published over the festive period returned a ‘good’ rating.

A bumper crop of early monitoring visit reports have also been published – one that resulted in a ‘significant progress’ verdict in all areas, while at the opposite end of the spectrum three providers were found to be making ‘insufficient progress’ in at least one area.

BRS Education Limited was rated grade one overall and in four out of six headlines fields in a report published December 31 and based on an inspection in late November.

Leaders at the provider, which offers residential short courses for 16 to 19 learners, traineeships and apprenticeships in equestrian subjects, were praised for their “highly effective partnerships” with the horseracing industry which ensured that “most learners and apprentices” secured successful careers following their courses.

“Learners, trainees and apprentices are motivated and inspired by highly experienced and qualified staff who are credible experts from within the industry,” the report said.

“Excellent theory teaching, linked expertly to practical activities” ensured that learners and apprentices “quickly acquire extremely high levels of practical skills”, inspectors noted.

Two other independent providers received grade two ratings following their first inspections, in reports published during this period.

Specialist Trade Courses Ltd’s report was published on December 20, and based on an inspection in mid-November, while Umbrella Training and Employment Solutions Limited’s report was published on January 3 and was based on an inspection in late November.

Leaders and managers at Specialist Trade Courses, which offers health and social care apprenticeships and loans-funded courses in beauty therapy and personal training, have “successfully created a culture in which they and the staff have high aspirations for their learners”, the report said.

Apprentices at Umbrella Training “benefit from a good standard of teaching, training and learning from experienced learning development managers, who have extensive experience in the hospitality industries” and are “highly motivated”, according to inspectors.

Two providers saw their grades go up from ‘requires improvement’ to ‘good’ over this period: adult and community learning provider Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council, and independent specialist college Henshaws College.

Leaders at both Bolton council and Bolton College – which delivers all the provision on behalf of the council – were praised for having “highly effective action to improve the provision”, in a report published December 21 and based on an inspection in mid-November.

“Council and college leaders design courses successfully to meet the needs of people living in the borough of Bolton, including the most disadvantaged residents,” the report said, while “tutors plan activities that engage and enthuse learners”.

All staff at Henshaws College “work together to instil a culture of inclusiveness”, according to its report published December 21 and based on an inspection in mid-November.

Leaders at the college, which offers education and training for learners with high needs, “have developed a good range of learning programmes that meet students’ needs and aspirations well”, inspectors found.

Heading in the opposite direction, two providers slipped from grade one to grade two in this period: The Working Men’s College and Cirencester College.

Leaders at The Working Men’s College “made good use of the funding available for adult learning” to “target effectively those learners with limited or no formal learning”, according to the report published December 21 and based on an inspection in mid-November.

But they “do not have sufficiently detailed information on learners’ next steps on completing their programmes, either within the college or elsewhere, or on how their current learning influences those choices,” inspectors found.

Governors, leaders and managers at Cirencester College, a sixth form college, “ensure that the curriculum meets students’ individual needs and prepares them well for their next steps”, the report, published 19 December and based on an inspection in late November, said.

However, “too few” learners on some courses “complete their programmes successfully”, while the numbers of learners planning to go into employment or an apprenticeships that had a work placement with an external employer was similarly low.

A further two providers held onto their ‘good’ ratings following full inspections in this period: 16 to 19 academy St Vincent College, and independent specialist provider Farleigh Further Education College – Frome.

Leaders and managers at St Vincent College, which was previously rated ‘good’ as a sixth form college before it converted to become an academy “have created an ambitious culture for their staff, students and local community”, according to its report published December 21 and based on an inspection in late November.

Students at Farleigh “receive excellent, sensitive support from managers, tutors and support staff in classes, on work experience and in their places of residence”, according to its report, also published December 21 and based on an inspection in late November.

Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust was found to be making ‘significant progress’ in all three themes under review, in an apprenticeship early monitoring visit report published December 27 based on a visit in late November.

Leaders and managers were praised for their “well planned” strategy, which was “highly successful” at filling skills gaps and had enabled apprentices to progress to higher-level roles.

Three providers were found to be making ‘insufficient progress’ in at least one area: Vortex Training Solutions, Ultima Skills Limited and Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust.

The verdicts mean all three can expect to be barred from recruiting new apprentices, according to Education and Skills Funding Agency rules.

A further eight early monitoring visit reports have been published in this period, with all achieving ‘reasonable progress’ verdicts. Three other providers currently rated ‘requires improvement’ were also subject to monitoring visits.

GFE CollegesInspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
Leeds College of Building21/11/201819/12/2018M3
The Working Men’s College13/11/201821/12/201821


Sixth Form Colleges (inc 16-19 academies)InspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
Cirencester College20/11/201819/12/201821
St Vincent College21/11/201821/12/201822


Independent Learning ProvidersInspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
JFC Training College Ltd14/11/201819/12/2018M3
Specialist Trade Courses Ltd13/11/201820/12/20182
CSR Scientific Training Limited 28/11/201819/12/2018MM
Utility and Construction Training Limited21/11/201819/12/2018MM
C&J Clark International Limited14/11/201817/12/2018MM
Vista Training Solutions Limited21/11/201817/12/2018MM
Workforce Training and Development14/11/201818/12/2018MM
British Printing Industries Federation Ltd20/11/201802/01/2019M3
BRS Education Limited20/11/201831/12/20181
Umbrella Training and Employment Solutions Limited26/11/201803/01/20192
Fleetmaster Training Limited14/11/201824/12/2018MM
Vortex Training Solutions Ltd27/11/201821/12/2018MM
Ultima Skills Ltd28/11/201827/12/2018MM


Adult and Community LearningInspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council13/11/201821/12/201823


Employer providersInspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust19/11/201818/12/2018MM
The Headmasters Partnership Limited21/11/201824/12/2018M3
The Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust21/11/201827/12/2018MM
Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust21/11/201804/01/2019MM
Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust27/11/201804/01/2019MM


Other (including UTCs)InspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
Henshaws College21/11/201821/12/201823
Farleigh Further Education College – Frome27/11/201821/12/201822

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