Ofsted watch: Private provider celebrates grade one

A private provider has been rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted.

But there was no cause for celebration at the country’s biggest college group as it was downgraded from ‘good’ to ‘requires improvement’.

Weir Training Limited, based in Surrey, was rated grade one across the board as it progressed from its previous ‘good’ ranking.

Inspectors lauded directors and managers for “successfully establishing a culture where they and their staff are passionate advocates for high-quality apprenticeships and for the success of their apprentices”.

They found that governance is “excellent” because of “good strategic direction and overview and the rigorous monitoring of performance by directors”.

Apprentices “value their programmes highly, make excellent progress and achieve consistently high standards”, while “very skilled” training specialists provide “highly effective training, delivered in successful partnership with employers and which they relate to apprentices’ and employers’ priorities”.

The provider currently has 340 learners on a mix of frameworks and standards at different levels, in areas such as retail and commercial enterprise, business, administration and law, and in information communication technology.

“Training specialists use employers’ business objectives to set challenging and relevant projects for apprentices, which successfully extend their learning, develop skills, and enhance job progression,” Ofsted said.

A jubilant Julie Ridley, one of Weir’s directors, said: “We have always strived to build a reputation as a Quality Provider, achieving these grades is the realisation of that dream. We are so proud of our staff, the grades are a testament to their great work and them all as individuals. We are very lucky to have such a strong team.”

Meanwhile, NCG and its private training provider, Intraining, were both downgraded to ‘requires improvement’ in separate inspections.

Inspectors observed that the group’s “leaders’ and managers’ actions do not bring about rapid enough improvement to rectify weaknesses in, for example, learners’ attendance, the quality of training on apprenticeships and the quality of teaching, learning and assessment on too much of the study programme provision”.

Achievement rates were also of high concern.

“Leaders and managers have not been successful enough in rectifying many of the weaknesses in learners’ outcomes. Too many learners are not achieving their potential, particularly in English and mathematics.”

NCG’s chief executive, Joe Docherty, has since claimed that the current inspection framework is “no longer fit for purpose when inspecting college groups”.

Three “new” apprenticeships providers have fared better, according to monitoring visit reports published this week.

Cqm Training And Consultancy Limited, based in Derbyshire, was praised the most after being found to be making ‘significant progress’ in ensuring that apprentices benefit from “high-quality training that leads to positive outcomes”, while achieving ‘reasonable’ ratings in the other two areas.

“Business change facilitators provide apprentices with clear and detailed explanations of the requirements of their programmes,” Ofsted said.

“As a result, apprentices understand the commitment that they need to make, the training that they will undertake and the assessments that they will complete.

“Apprentices know how much progress that they have made and can explain what they still need to complete.”

Group Horizon Limited, based in Gateshead, was deemed to be making ‘reasonable progress’ in all three fields judged.

“The standard of apprenticeship programmes is high,” inspectors said. “Leaders and managers ensure that employers and apprentices are fully aware of all the requirements of an apprenticeship. They work effectively to ensure that employers understand fully the on- and off-the-job training requirements of standards-based apprenticeships.”

And Ginger Nut Media Limited, based in Colchester, was also making ‘reasonable progress’ in all three areas.

“Directors are following an extremely well-thought-out strategy for developing the apprenticeship offer,” Ofsted said. “They have focused well on ensuring that the provision grows at a manageable pace by staying within their capacity to deliver the programmes.”

Lastly, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council retained its ‘good’ rating following a short inspection.


GFE CollegesInspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade


Independent Learning ProvidersInspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
Ginger Nut Media Limited25/05/201822/06/2018MM
Weir Training Limited16/05/201821/06/201812
Group Horizon Limited23/05/201819/06/2018MM
Cqm Training And Consultancy Limited09/05/201819/06/2018MM


Short inspections (remains grade 2)InspectedPublished
Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council09/05/201818/06/2018


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