Ofsted watch: Nearly a clean sweep of positive results for FE providers throughout May

Almost nine in ten full Ofsted inspection reports for FE providers returned either ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ grades in May.

And all but one of the 13 monitoring reports published this month produced ‘reasonable’ or ‘significant’ progress ratings.

The education watchdog originally paused the publication of all further education and skills reports on the 20 March due to the ongoing pandemic.

They had planned to release them only when teaching returns to normal, but later decided to publish them sooner if requested by individual providers. The first of the pre-Covid reports were published on 5 May.

Since then, 17 full inspection reports have been released in which two ‘outstanding’ and 13 ‘good’ grades have been handed out. The remaining two were ‘requires improvement’ grades. In addition, nine short reports have been published where providers have retained a grade two.

Chichester College Group received grade ones across the board from inspectors who lauded leaders and managers for successfully developing a strong “collaborative culture between the campuses, particularly within teaching, training and learning”.

Similarly, Ron Dearing UTC was judged ‘outstanding’ in a report that did not include one line of criticism as it was dubbed a “guiding light in the education sector”.

Five FE providers were graded ‘good’ after previously receiving ‘requires improvement’, three of which were adult and community learning providers.

This also included Lancaster and Morecambe College after Ofsted found that leaders have “created a clear vision for the college” by “reshaping many elements of the curriculum offer”.

Essex-based independent learning provider Central Training Academy Limited also improved from a grade three to a two. It was praised for preparing learners for employment “very effectively,” and taking their existing skills and knowledge into account.

Prospects Training International Limited, which trades as Geason Training, received one of only two ‘requires improvement’ ratings this month in its first inspection.

The provider was previously found to be making ‘insufficient progress’ in two out of three themes in its early monitoring visit, which led to the government paused its ability to recruit learners. A grade three means this suspension can now be lifted.

While Prospect’s newly appointed leadership team recognised that the curriculum was “not fit for purpose” and has overhauled its content, the inspectorate said “there is still much to do to strengthen the provision further”.

UTC Swindon also received a grade three from Ofsted which reported that the quality of education is “not yet good enough”.

It found that outcomes at the end of sixth form have been low in recent years, with current pupils doing much better but “still not achieving as highly as they should”.

The most critical report to be published in May was for independent specialist college Fir Tree Fishery CIC. Inspectors found the new provider making ‘insufficient progress’ across the board in an early monitoring visit which has led to the government pausing the college’s ability to recruit learners.

The education watchdog claimed leaders and managers have “not developed a coherent, well-designed curriculum that meets the needs and interests of learners”.

In contrast, two independent learning providers, Fitch Learning Ltd and Itec Training Solutions Ltd, were found to be making ‘significant progress’ across the board after their early monitoring visits.

Lambeth College also received two ‘significant progress’ grades in a monitoring visit following a grade three report while Richard Taunton Sixth Form College was graded ‘reasonable progress’ in every assessed area in its own monitoring visit after a ‘requires improvement’ rating.

Ofsted, which has suspended all routine inspections until further notice, previously told FE Week it was sitting on 50 FE and skills reports that had been completed before the Covid-19 outbreak.

Thirty-nine of these, from inspections that took place prior to lockdown, have been published this month in total.

Independent Learning Providers Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Alchemist Consultants Limited 12/03/2020 26/05/2020 M N/A
Apprentice Team Ltd 13/03/2020 05/05/2020 2 M
Azesta Limited 06/03/2020 06/05/2020 2 M
Bridge Training Limited 26/02/2020 06/05/2020 2 2
Central Training Academy Limited 13/03/2020 12/05/2020 2 3
CSR Scientific Training Limited 28/02/2020 05/05/2020 2 M
Dick White Academy 12/03/2020 05/05/2020 M N/A
Fitch Learning Ltd 05/03/2020 06/05/2020 M N/A
GK Training Services Limited 27/02/2020 12/05/2020 2 2
Ioda Limited 12/03/2020 11/05/2020 M N/A
Itec Training Solutions Ltd 12/03/2020 20/05/2020 M N/A
Let Me Play Limited 12/03/2020 15/03/2020 2 M
London Vesta College Limited 28/02/2020 06/05/2020 2 2
Park Education & Training Limited 27/02/2020 21/05/2020 M N/A
Pier Technology Limited 12/03/2020 07/05/2020 M N/A
Prospects Training International Limited 13/03/2020 28/05/2020 3 N/A
TDR Training Limited 05/03/2020 27/05/2020 2 2
The National Logistics Academy Ltd 13/03/2020 12/05/2020 2 M


Sixth Form Colleges (inc 16-19 academies) Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Richard Taunton Sixth Form College 27/02/2020 11/05/2020 M 3


Adult and Community Learning Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Central Bedfordshire Council 11/03/2020 11/05/2020 2 2
Swindon Borough Council 13/03/2020 26/05/2020 2 3
The Learning and Enterprise College Bexley 06/03/2020 18/05/2020 2 3
Training 2000 Limited 06/03/2020 13/05/2020 2 3
Tyne North Training Limited 11/03/2020 06/05/2020 2 2


Other (including UTCs) Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Leeds Arts University 27/02/2020 20/05/2020 2 2
University of Northampton 26/02/2020 05/05/2020 M N/A
University of Plymouth 05/03/2020 07/05/2020 M N/A
UTC Swindon 04/03/2020 12/05/2020 3 N/A
Mulberry UTC 11/03/2020 28/05/2020 2 N/A
Ron Dearing UTC 12/03/2020 21/05/2020 1 N/A


Specialist colleges Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Catcote Futures 12/03/2020 28/05/2020 M N/A
Fir Tree Fishery CIC 26/02/2020 18/05/2020 M N/A
Linkage Community Trust 18/03/2020 06/05/2020 2 2
Hedleys College 03/03/2020 27/05/2020 2 2


General FE colleges Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Chichester College Group 06/03/2020 12/05/2020 1 1
City College Plymouth 12/03/2020 12/05/2020 2 2
Lambeth College 12/03/2020 26/05/2020 M 3
Lancaster and Morecambe College 06/03/2020 14/05/2020 2 3
Southport College 14/02/2020 14/05/2020 2 M

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