Ofsted watch: Long-running commercial provider hit with grade 4 in poor week for FE

It has been a poor week for FE, with one independent provider being declared ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted and seven receiving at least one ‘insufficient progress’ rating in monitoring reports.

WDR Limited, a commercial training organisation that has been operating for 49 years, was given a grade four after a full inspection.

The provider, which had been found to be making ‘insufficient progress’ in all three areas in its early monitoring visit before receiving ‘reasonable progress’ in a subsequent one, had 29 apprentices at the time of this inspection.

Inspectors found most apprentices on the level 3 team leader and the level 4 data analysis standards “do not develop the knowledge, skills and behaviours needed to progress in their careers”.

The report also said that most coaches were “unable” to provide the technical support many apprentices needed and “high-quality” careers advice and guidance was also not offered.

While leaders “acted decisively to establish a governance committee” and met to improve safeguarding and the improve quality of education after the previous visits, the education watchdog claimed it is “too early” to judge the effectiveness of the actions.

Two other independent learning providers got three insufficient progress grades in their early monitoring visits this week.

Aspects Care Limited (ACL) and Keystone Training Ltd now face being prevented from taking on new apprenticeship starts under ESFA rules.

ACL currently has 81 apprentices who are on adult and health care worker programmes but the inspectorate found they have a “poor learning experience” and “have difficulty in attending their training sessions due to their workload”.

However, the report also said “a small minority of assessors are flexible and persistent in accommodating apprentices who have disengaged from their programme”.

Consultancy company Keystone Training Ltd had 114 apprentices but the Ofsted report said leaders “have not implemented a programme that satisfies the principles and requirements of apprenticeships” or “developed an effective culture of safeguarding”.

Moreover, independent learning provider Rapid Improvement Limited was found to be making “insufficient progress” in two out of three assessed themes while Amdas Consultancy Limited also received one “insufficient progress” grade in its second monitoring visit.

Two independent learning providers, Interlearn Limited and Watertrain Limited, were awarded one “insufficient progress” grade in monitoring visits after previously being found to ‘require improvement’ in full inspections.

Livability Nash College, an independent specialist college, got two ‘insufficient progress’ grades in a monitoring visit, after a previous monitoring visit and receiving a grade four in January.

However, in more positive news for the FE sector, two independent learning providers received two ‘significant progress’ grades out of three from Ofsted this week.

Capella Associates Ltd received the judgement after an early monitoring visit while LD Training Services Limited made the improvements in a monitoring visit after a grade three at the start of the year.

In addition, Ofsted found SCCU Ltd to be ‘good’ in its first full inspection. Inspectors said apprentices receive “good teaching from experienced and caring staff, which motivates them to achieve”.

Bexhill College, a Sixth Form College, maintained its grade two, as did general FE college Petroc. Its report reserved praise for its therapy dog, Harry.

The inspectorate found Barnet and Southgate College, another general FE college, to have made ‘significant progress’ in two areas out of three assessed areas in a monitoring visit after a previous grade three in a full inspection in January. It received ‘reasonable progress’ in the other theme.

St George’s Hospital Medical School, a higher education institution which provides apprenticeship programmes at level 5 in nursing associates and healthcare practitioner standards, made ‘significant progress’ in every area following an early monitoring visit.

“Leaders and managers at St George’s have established a strong and successful vision to provide high-quality healthcare education for new entrants to nursing,” Ofsted said.

Every employer provider the education watchdog reported on this week received ‘reasonable progress’ grades across the board in monitoring visits.

One of these, Boots Opticians Professional Services Limited, did so after being found to ‘require improvement’ in a full inspection last year.

The others, who received the grades following an early monitoring report, were: Extel Limited, Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Virgin Active Limited.

Three independent learning providers also received ‘reasonable progress’ across the board.

These were: Excel Training Limited, Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Lighthouse (Training and Development) Ltd.

Independent Learning ProvidersInspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
Amdas Consultancy Limited29/10/201925/11/2019MM
Aspects Care Limited14/11/201929/11/2019MN/A
Capella Associates Ltd05/11/201927/11/2019MN/A
Excel Training Limited15/11/201929/11/2019MN/A
Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust31/10/201927/11/2019MN/A
Interlearn Limited15/11/201928/11/2019M3
Keystone Training Ltd31/10/201928/11/2019MN/A
LD Training Services Limited31/10/201925/11/2019M3
Lighthouse (Training and Development) Ltd24/10/201926/11/2019MN/A
Rapid Improvement Limited07/11/201926/11/2019MN/A
SCCU Ltd15/11/201929/11/20192M
Watertrain Limited30/10/201926/11/2019M3
WDR Limited01/11/201927/11/20194M


Sixth Form Colleges (inc 16-19 academies)InspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
Bexhill College07/11/201925/11/201922


Employer providersInspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
Boots Opticians Professional Services Limited14/11/201928/11/2019M3
Extel Limited07/11/201927/11/2019MN/A
Greater Manchester Combined Authority31/10/201925/11/2019MN/A
Virgin Active Limited31/10/201929/11/2019MN/A


Other (including UTCs)InspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
St George’s Hospital Medical School24/10/201929/11/2019MN/A


Specialist collegesInspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
Livability Nash College06/11/201928/11/2019M4


General FE collegesInspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
Barnet and Southgate College07/11/201927/11/2019M3

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