Ofsted watch: Four providers improve to ‘good’ in busy week for FE

Four providers – including a major college – have boosted their grades from three to two this week, while seven others either maintained the ‘good’ rating or achieved it in either their first inspection.

Elsewhere it’s been a busy week for monitoring visits, with 16 reports published – 14 for new apprenticeship visits which produced a mixed bag of results.

The Manchester College, part of the LTE Group, was celebrating after improving from ‘requires improvement’ to ‘good’.

Inspectors said that since its previous report back in 2017, leaders and managers have “overseen improvements in the quality of education they provide” and have an “ambitious strategy”.

“Almost all students, including a high proportion of those who have high needs, benefit from effective work-related learning and high-quality work experience activities,” the reported said.

At The Manchester College’s last inspection it was rated ‘inadequate’ for apprenticeships. Since then, the college has dropped that provision.

Inspectors said a “high proportion” of its students, of which there are over 10,000, now achieve their qualifications.

The University of Derby also improved its Ofsted grade from three to two this week.

A “very high proportion of apprentices at levels 4 and 5, who form the majority, successfully complete their apprenticeships” and “progress to employment at the end of their programmes”, inspectors found.

London South Bank University and the Universities of Essex both received grades two in their first ever inspections.

Meanwhile, adult and community learning provider CVQO Ltd also boosted its grade to ‘good’.

CVQO, which has 5,500 learners aged 16 to 18, has taken “decisive and successful action” to deal with weaknesses identified at the previous inspection, including introducing “well-planned staff development” that has led to an improvement in tutors’ skills.

Worcestershire County Council maintained its ‘good’ rating after “significantly” improving the performance management of subcontractors and ”skilfully” planning its teaching, learning and assessment to motivate and engage learners and apprentices.

Among employer providers, Halfords went from grade three to two and British Academy of Jewellery received a grade two during its first-ever inspection.

Blue Arrow Limited was also inspected for the first time but was not as successful, receiving a three rating. Ofsted said “too few” apprentices achieve their apprenticeship within planned timescales and senior executives have been “slow to remedy the poor performance of the division”.

Elsewhere, UTC Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park achieved a ‘good’ rating in its first inspection since opening in 2016, but Scarborough University Technical College didn’t do as well, being graded as ‘requires improvement’.

Over at independent providers, nine early monitoring visits of new apprenticeship providers resulted in ‘reasonable progress’ ratings across the board, while two others were found to be making ‘significant progress’ in at least one theme judged, with one of the providers scoring the top mark across the board.

Temp Dent Dental Agency was the provider that scored this impressive result. Inspectors said the provider, which has around 600 apprentices, has a “well-established” programme of learning that makes “excellent use of technology to enable a large number of apprentices with little or no prior knowledge to train in dental nursing”.

Two other providers, Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and The Business Portfolio received an ‘insufficient’ grade across the board, which FE Week reported on earlier this week.

One other new apprenticeship provider, JT Development Solutions, was rated as ‘insufficient’ in two themes and ‘reasonable’ in one.

Leaders and managers at the provider, which has 125 apprentices, “do not ensure that employers provide apprentices with their entitlement to relevant, high-quality off-the-job training”.

“Although the training activities are relevant to apprentices’ job roles, not all are directly relevant to the apprenticeship standards,” inspectors added.

It was better news for FW Solutions Limited and AmacSports Limited, two independent providers that received a ‘good’ rating in their first ever inspections.

And grade two-rated PeoplePlus, which received a monitoring visit after Ofsted identified a “risk” at the size of its growth over the last year, was found making ‘reasonable progress’ in its provision for nearly 4,000 apprentices.

Lastly, Central Bedfordshire College was found making ‘reasonable progress’ in a monitoring visit carried out after it received a grade three in June last year.


GFE CollegesInspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
Central Bedfordshire College21/02/201914/03/2019M3
LTE Group28/01/201914/03/201923


Independent Learning ProvidersInspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust13/02/201912/03/2019MN/A
AmacSports Limited05/02/201910/03/20192N/A
Solveway Limited07/02/201910/03/2019MN/A
Ultima Skills14/02/201914/03/2019MM
VH Doctors21/02/201914/03/2019MN/A
The Business Portfolio31/01/201914/03/2019MN/A
Three Dimensional Training Limited06/02/201914/03/2019MN/A
F-Tec Forklift Training Engineering Centre13/02/201914/03/2019MN/A
Solvo Vir Limited14/02/201910/03/2019MN/A
Achieving Excellence UK Ltd12/02/201914/03/2019MN/A
JT Development Solutions07/02/201914/03/2019MN/A
NC Training Ltd08/02/201914/03/2019MM
Rove Limited12/02/201914/03/2019MN/A
Well Associates Limited12/02/201914/03/2019MN/A
FW Solutions Limited06/02/201914/03/20192N/A
PeoplePlus Group Limited19/02/201914/03/2019M2
Tempdent Dental Agency Limited07/02/201915/03/2019M2


Other (including UTCs)InspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
London South Bank University12/02/201914/03/20182N/A
University of Derby08/02/201913/03/201923
University of Essex06/02/201914/03/20192N/A
Scarborough University Technical College22/01/201911/03/20193N/A
UTC Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park20/01/201914/03/20192N/A


Adult and Community LearningInspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
Worcestershire County Council12/02/201913/03/201922
CVQO Ltd05/02/201910/03/201923


Employer providersInspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
Blue Arrow Limited12/02/201914/03/20193N/A
British Academy of Jewellery29/01/201914/03/20192N/A

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