Ofsted watch: College bounces back from inadequate to good

A college that has bounced back from a grade four to a grade two is leading the charge on a week that has been good almost across the board.

Stanmore College was applauded for its “rapid and significant improvement” since it received the lowest possible grade in September 2015, in a report published March 6 but based on an inspection at the end of January.

The 3,000-learner institution was rated good in all areas, with inspectors noting that the proportion of learners achieving their qualifications “has risen and is high”, while learners and apprentices were “making good progress”.

Teachers were praised for their “skills, which are now good, to support their learners effectively and raise their expectations” and to “be successful”.

East Kent College retained its overall grade two rating – but with outstanding aspects – following a full inspection in late January, in a report also published March 6.

The college’s “outstanding leadership strategies” met the “economic and social needs of students across the region” as well as “employers’ skills needs”, the report found.

Its work experience provision was also deemed “outstanding”, while the “almost all students enjoy very good levels of progression”.

Brockenhurst College had less reason to celebrate its grade two this week, as it lost the outstanding rating it had held for nearly nine years.

Leaders were commended for their “decisive and swift action” which mean that “in-year progress and achievement has improved considerably” following a fall in performance in 2015/16, in a report published March 6 but based on an inspection at the end of January.

A “high proportion” of learners “make good progress and achieve” thanks to “good teaching”, but “not enough apprentices” achieved their qualifications on time.

Independent training provider Skills Training UK Limited also retained its good rating, in a report published March 8 but based on an inspection in mid-February.

Leaders at the Wembley-based provider were found to have a “strong commitment” to learners with “low educational attainment and from areas of deprivation”.

Trainees progress successfully into “sustained employment, further training and apprenticeships”, while apprentices “develop high levels of practical skills and behaviours”, inspectors noted.

The Leigh University Technical College, in Dartford, received a grade two overall in its first ever inspection.

The report, published March 7 but based on an inspection in early February, noted that the 14 to 19 institution’s sixth form students “typically achieve well”, and “at a high level in technical qualifications and core mathematics” in 2016.

Two adult and community learning providers, Leeds City Council and the Council of the Isles of Scilly, also retained their grade two ratings following short inspections.

That means the only FE and skills provider not to have received a grade two this week was independent training provider Brooks and Kirk Ltd.

The Boston-based provider received a grade three overall following its first ever inspection, carried out mid-February, in a report published March 6.

The proportion of learners completing their qualifications on time was found to be “too low”, while senior managers were criticised for not ensuring that “staff improve their practice sufficiently to secure high achievement rates and good progress by all learners”.

But inspectors also noted that “learners enjoy their courses”, with benefits from participation including “progress into employment or promotion”.


GFE Colleges Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Brockenhurst College 31/01/2017 06/03/2017 2 1
Stanmore College 31/01/2017 06/03/2017 2 4
East Kent College 24/01/2017 06/03/2017 2 2


Independent Learning Providers Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Skills Training UK Ltd 14/02/2017 08/03/2017 2 2
Brooks and Kirk Ltd 15/02/2017 06/03/2017 3


Other (including UTCs) Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
The Leigh UTC 01/02/2017 07/03/2017 2


Short inspections (remains grade 2) Inspected Published
Leeds City Council 08/02/2017 08/03/2017
Council of the Isles of Scilly 15/02/2017 07/03/2017

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