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 ProvidersInspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
Alchemist Consultants Limited12/03/202026/05/2020MN/A
Apprentice Team Ltd13/03/202005/05/20202M
Azesta Limited06/03/202006/05/20202M
Bridge Training Limited26/02/202006/05/202022
Central Training Academy Limited13/03/202012/05/202023
CSR Scientific Training Limited28/02/202005/05/20202M
Dick White Academy12/03/202005/05/2020MN/A
Fitch Learning Ltd05/03/202006/05/2020MN/A
GK Training Services Limited27/02/202012/05/202022
Ioda Limited12/03/202011/05/2020MN/A
Itec Training Solutions Ltd12/03/202020/05/2020MN/A
Let Me Play Limited12/03/202015/03/20202M
London Vesta College Limited28/02/202006/05/202022
Park Education & Training Limited27/02/202021/05/2020MN/A
Pier Technology Limited12/03/202007/05/2020MN/A
Prospects Training International Limited13/03/202028/05/20203N/A
TDR Training Limited05/03/202027/05/202022
The National Logistics Academy Ltd13/03/202012/05/20202M


Sixth Form Colleges (inc 16-19 academies)InspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
Richard Taunton Sixth Form College27/02/202011/05/2020M3


Adult and Community LearningInspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
Central Bedfordshire Council11/03/202011/05/202022
Swindon Borough Council13/03/202026/05/202023
The Learning and Enterprise College Bexley06/03/202018/05/202023
Training 2000 Limited06/03/202013/05/202023
Tyne North Training Limited11/03/202006/05/202022


Other (including UTCs)InspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
Leeds Arts University27/02/202020/05/202022
University of Northampton26/02/202005/05/2020MN/A
University of Plymouth05/03/202007/05/2020MN/A
UTC Swindon04/03/202012/05/20203N/A
Mulberry UTC11/03/202028/05/20202N/A
Ron Dearing UTC12/03/202021/05/20201N/A


Specialist collegesInspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
Catcote Futures12/03/202028/05/2020MN/A
Fir Tree Fishery CIC26/02/202018/05/2020MN/A
Linkage Community Trust18/03/202006/05/202022
Hedleys College03/03/202027/05/202022


General FE collegesInspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
Chichester College Group06/03/202012/05/202011
City College Plymouth12/03/202012/05/202022
Lambeth College12/03/202026/05/2020M3
Lancaster and Morecambe College06/03/202014/05/202023
Southport College14/02/202014/05/20202M

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