Ofsted watch: Private providers shine while colleges falter

Private providers fared best out of the whole FE sector this week as three achieved ‘good’ ratings.

There wasn’t any cause for celebration for colleges however, as two of them – Stoke-on-Trent and Moulton – were handed critical ‘requires improvement’ and ‘inadequate’ ratings respectively.

Starting with the private providers: CSM Consulting Limited rose from ‘requires improvement’ to ‘good’ and Eden College of Human Resource Development and Management Studies Limited achieved a grade two in its first ever visit from the inspectorate.

CSM mainly provides apprenticeship training in the south west, Yorkshire and London for teaching assistants in school, health and social care, and business administration and team leading.

Ofsted said a “large majority” of apprentices gain their qualifications as a result of good teaching, learning and assessment.

“Apprentices improve their confidence and workplace skills as a result of effective coaching and good support for their learning by assessors,” inspectors added, and also noted that apprentices’ attitudes to their work in schools, offices or healthcare settings are “very professional”.

Eden College, based in Essex, provides training for adults with advanced learner loans, mainly in business administration, childcare, health and social care, hairdressing and beauty.

“Working in close partnership with employers and local communities, managers have developed a very relevant programme to widen the participation of adult learners and to meet the particular needs of those already employed,” Ofsted said.

“Managers and staff create an inclusive, safe and welcoming environment for learners, where they behave well, and in which they and staff treat one another with care and respect.”

The inspectorate added that learners’ achievement of their qualifications is “high, with good pass and retention rates”.

One other private provider, Apprenticeships & Training Services Consortium Limited, based in London, was subject to a short inspection where it maintained its grade two.

Another independent learning provider’s report, for London College of Apprenticeship Training, was the second of a new wave of Ofsted early-monitoring visits keeping a close eye on newcomers to directly funded apprenticeship provision, and it returned with largely positive findings.

The report rates it as making significant progress in one area and reasonable progress in two.

Meanwhile, cash-strapped Stoke-on-Trent College received its second grade three report since being downgraded from ‘good’ in 2016.

“Governors and senior leaders were slow to make the improvements recommended in the previous inspection report,” Ofsted said.

“This coincided with a period of significant turbulence in leadership and governance.”

Too few teachers provide learners with “sufficiently helpful feedback or challenging targets” to help them improve their work further, inspectors added.

However, Ofsted did point out that the recent appointments of an “experienced principal”, senior post holders and governors have “stabilised and strengthened the capacity of leadership within the college to improve the quality of provision and experience of learners”.

Moulton College, which has campus’ across Northamptonshire, was slammed with an ‘inadequate’ report for delivering “unsafe” training in “highly dangerous vocational areas” such as construction and equine studies (read the full story on the report here).

“Inspectors identified a number of serious breaches to health and safety regulations and a number of instances where practice was unsafe or sloppy,” Ofsted said.

“Not all managers with responsibility for health and safety have undertaken appropriate training.”

The only other report to be published this week was a short inspection for Enham Trust, an adult and community learning provider based in Hampshire, which maintained a grade two.


GFE CollegesInspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
Stoke-on-Trent College27/02/201805/04/201833
Moulton College27/02/201803/04/201843


Independent Learning ProvidersInspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
CSM Consulting Limited07/03/201805/04/201823
Eden College of Human Resource Development and Management Studies Limited30/01/201803/04/20182
London College of Apprenticeship Training Limited27/02/201805/04/2018MM


Short inspections (remains grade 2)InspectedPublished
Enham Trust06/03/201805/04/2018
Apprenticeships & Training Services Consortium Limited27/02/201806/04/2018

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