Ofsted watch: An ‘outstanding’ week for FE and skills

It’s been an ‘outstanding’ week for the FE and skills sector, as a specialist college has received the highest possible rating across the board.

And an independent training provider has gone straight in with a grade two on its first ever inspection.

Hartpury College was rated grade one overall and in all areas inspected in a report published June 1 and based on an inspection in early May.

Leaders at the land-based and sports college were praised for creating a “highly supportive, respectful and collaborative culture” which enabled learners to “thrive, raise their ambitions and gain vastly in confidence”.

“Excellent relationships” between the college and “a wide range of equine, agricultural, animal management and sports industries ensure that learners develop specialist skills rapidly”, inspectors found.

All learners “participate in excellent and highly relevant external work placements”, and “receive high-quality teaching, learning and assessment”, the report said.

A “very high proportion” of learners “achieve their qualification, including good grades in GCSE English and mathematics”, while the “large majority” went on to “university or employment related to their courses”.

Russell Marchant, Hartpury’s principal, said the Ofsted verdict was a “tremendous achievement and recognition of our focus on students and all of the hard work staff and students have put in since the last inspection three years ago”.

Meanwhile, Professional Training Solutions Limited received a grade two overall and in all areas inspected in a report published May 30 and based on an inspection in late April.

Leaders at the provider, which delivers apprenticeships and adult learning programmes, were praised for having “rapidly established” it as a “good-quality independent learning provider, building on their experience of being a subcontractor”.

Trainers and assessors were found to have “detailed knowledge of their subjects” and to “plan a wide range of interesting teaching and learning activities”, which helped to “motivate learners and apprentices” and to enable them to “make good progress”.

The provider’s “excellent relationships” with employers and partners ensured that “learning programmes closely meet the needs of employers, apprentices and adult learners”.

However, trainers “do not always ensure that all adult learners in group training sessions make the progress they should”, the report noted.

Five providers have had monitoring visit reports published this week.

As previously reported by FE Week, two of these, for Learndirect Apprenticeships Ltd and Mears Learning Ltd, were the result of an early monitoring visits to new apprenticeships providers.

Learndirect Apprenticeships was found to be making ‘reasonable progress’ in all three themes under review, while Mears Learning was found to be making ‘insufficient progress’ in one area and ‘reasonable progress’ in the remaining two.

The remaining three monitoring visit reports were the result of follow-up visits to providers that had previously been rated inadequate.

Easton and Otley College was found to be making ‘significant progress’ in two areas and ‘reasonable progress’ in four areas, in the third monitoring visit report published since it was given a grade four in July 2017.

Redcar and Cleveland College was found to be making ‘significant progress’ in four areas and ‘reasonable progress’ in two areas, in its second monitoring visit report published since it was given a grade four in November.

Sunderland City Metropolitan Borough Council had its first monitoring visit report published since it was rated inadequate in January, setting out the areas identified for improvement.

And Rutland County Council held onto its grade two rating in a short inspection report, published this week.

GFE CollegesInspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
Redcar and Cleveland College19/04/201801/06/2018MM
Hartpury College01/05/201801/06/201812
Easton and Otley College03/05/201830/05/2018MM


Independent Learning ProvidersInspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
Learndirect Apprenticeships Ltd25/04/201831/05/2018MM
Mears Learning Limited11/04/201830/05/2018MM
Professional Training Solutions Ltd24/04/201830/05/20182


Adult and Community LearningInspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
Sunderland City Metropolitan Borough Council23/04/201831/05/2018MM


Short inspections (remains grade 2)InspectedPublished
Rutland County Council23/04/201825/05/2018

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