Ofsted watch: Ex-pro footballer’s provider scores highly in positive week for providers

A provider co-founded by former Crystal Palace football striker Dougie Freedman has been rated ‘outstanding’ in some areas, in a week where nearly all providers scored well with Ofsted.

Freedman’s Focus Fitness UK received a grade two overall in its first report from the watchdog, which rated the independent provider ‘outstanding’ for personal development and outcomes for its 55 learners.

Ofsted said senior leaders have a “strong purpose and high expectations for their health and fitness training provision” and almost all learners achieve their qualifications and most gain employment.

Tutors were praised for using their “extensive” industry experience in their practical teaching.

Co-founder Gavin Heeroo thanked all of their “hard-working staff” for their “professionalism and commitment to ensure our stable and continued growth in the sector”.

He set up the provider nearly 10 years ago with Freedman, who is now the sporting director at Crystal Palace and had spells as a player at Queens Park Rangers, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Nottingham Forest, Leeds United and Southend United, plus two caps for the Scottish national team.

Eglantine Catering Limited also had a good week, scoring three ‘reasonable progress’ ratings from an early monitoring visit of its provision to 15 apprentices.

Intertrain UK received the same result, and inspectors found its 10 apprentices gain new skills, knowledge and behaviours and the level 2 rail engineering operative course it offers is valued by employers as a means of filling the skills gap.

Optimum Skills, which has eight adult learners in addition to its 98 apprentices, was found to have made ‘reasonable progress’ in four areas of a monitoring visit.

Remploy Ltd, which has 133 apprentices and 12 learners, earned the same outcome as Optimum, as the independent training provider has what inspectors call a “very clear rationale for the company’s adult learning programmes”.

“This centres largely on their commitment to improving learners’ employment prospects and improving their health and well-being,” the report reads.

A report based wholly on adult learning provision to ten learners was published about Street League this week.

It revealed the provider had made ‘reasonable progress’ in all areas, and the watchdog commented on how leaders target their adult education budget very effectively on those learners who are least likely to participate in education and training.

‘Reasonable progress’ was also made in all areas by Triage Central, which has 26 apprentices and 80 adult learners.

Employers working with the provider provide useful job shadowing sessions for apprentices so they can acquire the knowledge, skills and behaviours for their jobs or for future promotion, so almost all apprentices complete their work on time.

Vision Training (North East) was found to have made ‘reasonable progress’ in three areas of a monitoring visit of its provision to 102 apprentices.

Inspectors wrote: “Leaders are implementing a well-considered strategy to specialise in providing apprenticeship training in adult social care,” an area in which leaders have significant experience.

Employer provider Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust made ‘reasonable progress’ in all areas.

It provides level 3 healthcare support and adult care programmes to 28 apprentices and level 5 healthcare practice for England (Assistant Practitioner) standards to eight.

Managers and staff are ambitious for those apprentices and leaders recognise the further development of new and existing staff is “essential” to the trust’s development, according to the report.

Fellow employer Medivet recovered from being found to have made ‘insufficient progress’ in their safeguarding measures back in May, to climb to a ‘reasonable progress’ rating in that category this week.

Senior leaders responded “swiftly” to the findings from Ofsted’s previous visit, inspectors wrote, and ensured all staff are trained and can demonstrate competence in safeguarding.

Focus Training’s otherwise ‘reasonable progress’ in a report published this week was blotted by one ‘insufficient progress’ finding in developing and implementing an effective strategy to ensure all tutors support learners to develop their English and maths skills.

This was because leaders and managers had only recently begun to develop and implement the strategy, so not all tutors were supporting learners well enough to develop those skills.

Specialist college Liberty Training had the worst week of all, however, as Ofsted slapped it with a grade three for its provision to 70 learners with mental health needs, disabilities or learning difficulties.

Its directors, Ofsted found, “do not have sufficient knowledge of the quality of all aspects of the programmes” as they do not monitor provision thoroughly enough.

And too few of the minority of learners who study functional skills in English and maths at levels 1 and 2 gain the qualification.

Independent Learning Providers Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Eglantine Catering Limited 15/08/2019 04/09/2019 M N/A
Focus Fitness UK Limited 08/08/2019 05/09/2019 2 N/A
Focus Training Limited 25/07/2019 03/09/2019 M 3
Intertrain UK Ltd 01/08/2019 02/09/2019 M N/A
Optimum Skills Limited 15/08/2019 02/09/2019 M N/A
Remploy Ltd (listed as Maximus Training) 25/07/2019 02/09/2019 M N/A
Street League 24/07/2019 03/09/2019 M N/A
Triage Central Limited 08/08/2019 02/09/2019 M N/A
Vision Training (North East) Limited 23/08/2019 05/09/2019 M N/A


Employer providers Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust 31/07/2019 06/09/2019 M N/A
Medivet 14/08/2019 06/09/2019 M M


Specialist colleges Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Liberty Training 02/08/2019 05/09/2019 3 N/A

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