Ofsted watch: Outstanding rating highlight of positive week for FE

The new year’s first outstanding Ofsted verdict for an FE provider was handed out this week, with two independent learning providers also retaining their ‘good’ grades.

Birkenhead Sixth Form College was given the highest possible rating across the board from the education watchdog, in a glowing report published Monday (January 30).

It was just the second provider of its kind to have been rated grade one, since the introduction of the common inspection framework in September 2015.

Inspectors, who visited in December, praised leaders at Birkenhead for their “unrelenting focus in developing high expectations” of staff and students – with the latter becoming “young adults with a thirst for learning” as a result.

The 1,400-learner SFC’s performance on English and maths was found to be “exceptionally strong”, with “a very high proportion” of learners enrolled on GCSEs in these subjects “improving the grade they gained at school”.

Meanwhile, independent learning provider Business Management Resources (UK) Ltd kept its grade two following a full inspection early in January, but published Wednesday (February 1).

Inspectors found that “a high proportion” of apprentices at the Telford-based provider achieved their qualifications on time, with many of those sustaining employment or achieving promotion as a result.

“Apprentices benefit from high expectations and are motivated well to achieve,” the report noted.

Another independent provider, The Motor Insurance Repair Research Centre, also retained its ‘good’ grade, following a short inspection carried out in early January and published today.

No general FE college inspection reports came out this week, although the outcome of a monitoring visit to Stockport College – the first since its grade four in November – was published today.

It recognised that the leadership team had produced a post inspection action plan which relates “directly to the main areas of recommendation identified in the inspection report”.

However, it was still found that managers do not prioritise key action points “according to their urgency”, while improvement is needed to the accuracy and use of the college’s system for monitoring learners progress.

No adult and community learning, employer provider or other FE and skills provider inspection reports were published this week.


Sixth Form Colleges Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Birkenhead SFC 07/12/2016 30/01/2017 1 2


Independent Learning Providers Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Business Management Resources (UK) Ltd 10/01/2017 01/02/2017 2 2


Short inspections (remains grade 2) Inspected Published
The Motor Insurance Repair Research Centre 11/01/2017 03/01/2017

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