Ofsted watch: Private provider straight in at grade four

A private provider has earned the ignominious honour this week of being rated ‘inadequate’ at its first ever inspection.

And two “new” apprenticeships providers have fared little better, with both found to be making “insufficient progress” in at least one area, according in monitoring visit reports published this week.

The Terri Brooke School of Nails and Beauty was given grade four across the board in a report published June 15 and based on an inspection carried out in mid-May.

The school offers loan-funded courses in hairdressing and beauty therapy at levels three and four, which inspectors found “do not meet hairdressing and beauty therapy employers’ needs and are at too high a level for most learners”.

“Too few” learners achieve their qualifications and leaders “do not accurately identify” this fact, nor that “teaching, learning and assessment are poor”.

Safeguarding processes were found to be “weak” and to “place learners at risk of harm”.

“Staff have not had adequate training in safeguarding and do not fully understand their responsibilities,” the report said.

Employer-provider Peacocks Stores Limited was found to be making ‘insufficient progress’ in two of the three areas under review, in a monitoring visit report published June 15 and based on a visit in early May.

Leaders at the provider, which trains its own apprentices in retail standards from level two to four, were found to be “too slow to respond to significant weaknesses” in both planning and delivery of apprentice’ training.

Managers were “too slow” to put in place end point assessment arrangements for some apprentices.

“Arrangements to monitor the quality of the teaching, learning and assessment provided” by “subcontractor partners” were also lacking.

Furthermore, “too many store managers and apprentices do not fully understand the requirements of the apprenticeship programmes,” the report said.

Watertrain, a private provider in Warrington, has been making “insufficient progress” in two of the three headline fields in a report published June 13 and based on an inspection in mid-April.

As previously reported by FE Week, the provider, which has delivered apprenticeships as a subcontractor for 10 years, is disputing the findings of the report.

It’s been ‘good’ news for other independent training providers this week, with all other published reports returning grade twos.

The Skills Network Limited was rated ‘good’ across the board in a report published June 11 and based on an inspection in early May.

“Most learners” at the provider, which offers loan-funded distance-learning courses for adults, “develop new skills and knowledge that enhance their current work roles and future employability”, thanks to “highly experienced” tutors.

“Directors, leaders and managers have very high expectations of staff, who as a result deliver effective teaching, learning and assessment,” the report said.

Hill Holt Wood boosted its grade from ‘requires improvement’ to ‘good’ in a report published June 14 and based on an inspection in early May.

Trustees at the provider, which offers a range of courses for people with disabilities, or social or learning needs, are “passionate about the value of education in combating disadvantage and raising the aspirations of young people at risk from social exclusion”.

Staff create a “safe, nurturing environment” for learners that enables them to “make significant gains in their personal development, work-readiness and capacity to improve their life chances”, the report said.

As previously reported by FE Week, Redbridge Institute of Adult Education became the first local authority provider to be rated ‘outstanding’ since 2015 this week.

Its report, published June 12 and based on an inspection in early May, returned grade ones across the board.

Colleges fared less well this week, with two published reports delivering grade three verdicts.

Leaders and staff at Oaklands College “do not have high enough expectations of their learners”, according to a report published June 11 and based on an inspection in late April.

Governors at the college, which was previously rated ‘good’, lacked a “robust enough understanding of the quality of provision” which meant they “provide too little challenge of leaders”.

Furthermore, “leaders do not use their performance management processes well enough to identify underperformance swiftly and tackle it”.

Senior leaders at South Staffordshire College were criticised for failing to rectify the “weaknesses identified at the previous inspection”, in a report published June 13 and based on an inspection in mid-May.

The quality of teaching, learning and assessment “have not improved” since the last inspection, which also resulted in a ‘requires improvement’ rating.

Attendance at the college remains “too low”, particularly in English and maths, while the proportion of learners completing a work placement is “too low”.

Three further providers held onto their grade two ratings following short inspections this week: Bedfordshire and Luton Education Business Partnership, John Leggott Sixth Form College, and Yorkshire Training Partnership Ltd.

GFE CollegesInspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
Oaklands College24/04/201811/06/201832
South Staffordshire College15/05/201813/06/201833


Independent Learning ProvidersInspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
Hill Holt Wood15/05/201814/06/201823
The Terri Brooke School of Nails and Beauty15/05/201815/06/20184
The Skills Network Limited01/05/201811/06/20182
Watertrain Ltd18/04/201813/06/2018MM


Adult and Community LearningInspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
Redbridge Institute of Adult Education01/05/201812/06/201812


Employer providersInspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
Peacocks Stores Ltd09/05/201815/06/2018MM


Short inspections (remains grade 2)InspectedPublished
Bedfordshire and Luton Education Business Partnership01/05/201815/06/2018
John Leggott Sixth Form College08/05/201814/06/2018
Yorkshire Training Partnership Ltd15/05/201814/06/2018

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