Ofsted watch: Colleges see top results from last drop of Ofsted reports until 2021

General FE colleges received a string of positive results, including a grade one, in June from the last drop of Ofsted reports before inspections resume in 2021.

However, the watchdog doled out a number of negative results to other providers, which included pushing two providers from grade two to grade four.

Seventeen reports were published throughout June, which featured the last inspection visits to take place before the watchdog paused all inspection activity in March due to the covid-19 pandemic. It was announced yesterday routine Ofsted visits will not resume until January 2021.

Riverside College Halton climbed from ‘good’ to ‘outstanding’ in their report, with inspectors commenting on the “exemplary” behaviour of learners in a “calm, orderly, aspirational and safe learning environment”.

The college was also complimented for its “well-qualified” teachers who benefit from “high-quality” professional development: for example, catering teachers are trained in chocolatiering and cake modelling.

Havant and South Downs College received a grade two in its first inspection since it was formed from merging the South Downs and Havant colleges.

The college was judged as ‘outstanding’ for its adult learning to 1,400 learners, who benefit from “flexible” learning to fit their working lives.

Despite dropping from a grade one, Walsall College was still considered to be ‘good’ following its latest visit, and is still ‘outstanding’ in its provision to 160 learners with high needs.

This was because leaders “very effectively” use high needs funding to plan a programme to prepare learners for further training, employment and life after college.

Goon news in the specialist sector as Livability Nash College, which provides to 45 learners with severe to profound special educational needs and disabilities, moved from grade four to three.

The students were reported as enjoying lessons in sensory communication, horse riding, cooking, music and exercise.

But independent provider Liga (UK) crashed from grade two to four after Ofsted found trainer-assessors do not hold “appropriate” vocational qualifications or experience.

Managers and leaders do not use apprentices’ prior learning, so too many start training with a level of prior attainment that is “the same or higher than the apprenticeship they enrol on”.

The grade four means Liga (UK) will likely be banned from the government’s apprenticeship provider register.

Fellow private provider Develop-U made ‘insufficient progress’ in two areas of a monitoring visit held after it received a grade three in a full inspection.

Inspectors reported tutors and coach assessors do not make enough use of information they have on 47 apprentices to plan a programme to meet their individual needs.

360 Recruitment received two ‘insufficient progress’ ratings in an early monitoring visit, after it was found 12 of its 17 apprentices employed by an external company have to work on a production line instead of attending planned training.

Burleigh College, an independent provider to unemployed adults, was told it ‘requires improvement’ at its first full inspection. Although a high proportion of its learners are successful in gaining employment, leaders have not planned a curriculum well enough to develop learners’ skills outside the qualification.

Employer provider Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust made ‘insufficient progress’ in two areas of an early monitoring visit. Staff, the report reads, do not have “sufficient” knowledge and skills to implement an “ambitious” curriculum.

The University of Suffolk, which delivered to 145 apprentices from four NHS trusts, was handed a grade three in its first inspection after inspectors found learners with additional learning needs do not receive adaptive software until some months into their studies.

Meanwhile Richmond-upon-Thames Borough Council went from a grade two to a four as inspectors said although the leadership of its apprenticeship programme was “sound”, the leadership of adult and community learning, “in stark contrast”, was “inadequate”.

Derbyshire Adult Community Education Service also dropped from a grade two, to a grade three. Leaders were reported as not having a “clear oversight” of provision as management information systems were “cumbersome or out-of-date”.

City Gateway, in London, did not improve on a grade three it received at a previous inspection.

Weymouth College and Leyton Sixth Form College both maintained a grade two following a short inspection.

Blue Arrow Limited and the University of Reading both scored three ‘reasonable progress’ ratings in a monitoring visit.


[CORRECTION: The original version of this article stated that ‘Derby Adult Community Education Service’ dropped from a grade 2 to a 3. It was in fact ‘Derbyshire Adult Community Education Service’ which dropped from a grade 2 to a 3.]


GFE Colleges Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Havant and South Downs College 13/03/2020 24/06/2020 2 N/A
Riverside College Halton 11/03/2020 10/06/2020 1 2
Walsall College 06/03/2020 24/06/2020 2 1
Weymouth College 05/03/2020 03/06/2020 2 2


Independent Learning Providers Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
360 Recruitment Limited 12/03/2020 24/06/2020 M N/A
Burleigh College 05/03/2020 24/06/2020 3 N/A
Develop-U 27/02/2020 24/06/2020 M 3
Liga (UK) LTD 20/02/2020 24/06/2020 4 2


Sixth Form Colleges (inc 16-19 academies) Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Leyton Sixth Form College 04/03/2020 30/06/2020 2 2


Adult and Community Learning Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
City Gateway 27/02/2020 24/06/2020 3 3
Derbyshire Adult Community Education Service 06/03/2020 24/06/2020 3 2
Richmond Upon Thames Borough Council 25/02/2020 24/06/2020 4 2


Employer providers Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Blue Arrow Limited 26/02/2020 24/06/2020 M 3
Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust 05/03/2020 24/06/2020 M N/A


Other (including UTCs) Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
University of Reading 12/03/2020 29/06/2020 M N/A
University of Suffolk 05/03/2020 24/06/2020 3 N/A


Specialist colleges Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Livability Nash College 06/03/2020 11/06/2020 3 4

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  1. Debbie

    A correction is needed here. Derby Adult Learning Service did not get a grade 3 – it was Derbyshire Adult Community Education Service who dropped to a 3. Derby Adult Learning Service was in the middle of inspection when lockdown happened – Derby’s inspection hasn’t concluded yet.