Ofsted watch: No overall-improvement recognised in tough week for FE

A major adult and community learning provider has fallen to ‘inadequate’, in a week of reports on FE and skills providers that either returned the same or a lesser overall grade.

Essex County Council was found to have serious problems with the teaching of English and maths, as well as having insufficient safeguarding arrangements in a report published Monday (February 6) but based on an inspection carried out in December.

The 12,000-learner provider had been rated as ‘requires improvement’ following its previous inspection in 2014 – down from an earlier outstanding grade in 2009.

The inadequate-overall report noted that council leaders had “taken the decision to end the provider’s provision of 16 to 19 study programmes” as a result of poor performance.

A report on inspectors’ first monitoring visit to The Wiltshire Council following its inadequate rating in December was also published this week.

It noted that the council has decided to end its apprenticeship provision from March, but had not yet developed a strategic plan for its adult learning programmes.

Meanwhile, SEEVIC College been awarded a grade three for the third inspection in a row, in a report published Thursday (February 9) and based on a December visit.

Leaders at the 3,200-learner general FE college were criticised for having “not tackled effectively the most significant areas for improvement identified at the previous two inspections”.

Inspectors found that achievement rates on “too many courses” had declined, and that “too few” apprentices or learners from disadvantaged backgrounds achieved their qualifications.

But the report also noted that a “very high” proportion of learners achieved grade A* to C in GCSE English.

The only independent learning provider inspection report to have been published this week resulted in a one grade drop.

Stockport-based XTP International Limited was given grade threes across the board in a report published Thursday (February 9) but based on an inspection carried out in January.

It found that “the quality of the provision has declined” since the previous inspection in early 2014, as leaders had not “tackled the weaknesses identified” during that visit quickly enough.

Low achievement rates were among the issues highlighted, along with a lack of “sufficiently high-quality training that develops apprentices’ skills and knowledge”.

No inspection reports for sixth form colleges, employer providers or other FE and skills providers were published this week.

GFE Colleges Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
SEEVIC 06/12/2016 09/02/2017 3 3


Independent Learning Providers Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
XTP International Limited 10/01/2017 09/02/2017 3 2


Adult and Community Learning Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Essex County Council 06/12/2016 06/02/2017 4 3
The Wiltshire Council 12/01/2017 06/02/2017 Monitoring visit

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