Ofsted watch: Provider on apprenticeships register rated ‘inadequate’

A provider on the new apprenticeships register has been hit with an inadequate overall grade, in the only full inspection report to have been published this week.

But Norfolk Training Services Limited, which we reported had been added to the register in April, was given a grade three for its apprenticeships provision – meaning its place on the register of apprenticeships training providers is secure.

In a report published May 15, but based on an inspection in February, inspectors criticised leaders at the independent training provider for their “ineffective” efforts to “improve the weaknesses identified at the previous inspection” in February 2015, which resulted in a grade three rating overall.

“Leaders and managers do not identify most weaknesses accurately or plan to rectify them swiftly,” the report noted.

“Too few” learners “complete their qualifications” or “make good progress in their learning”, inspectors found.

“Much teaching” was deemed “inadequate”, with “too many tutors” lacking “skills in the craft of teaching to enable learners and apprentices to make rapid progress”.

But the report noted that a “majority” of apprentices “develop good work-related vocational skills”.

Norfolk Training Services was one of three main providers quietly added to the apprenticeships register in an unannounced update in April, a month after the list was first published.

FE Week reported that the decision to overturn the rejection related to the way the register’s Ofsted grade rules were being interpreted.

These state that a provider with a grade four for overall effectiveness can only apply to be on the register if they’ve been inspected since September 2015 and have at least a grade three for apprenticeships.

Meanwhile, Telford College of Arts and Technology was found to be making progress in almost all areas, in a second monitoring visit following its inadequate grade in June 2016.

The report, published May 17 and based on a visit on April 27, found the 19,500-learner college had made ‘reasonable progress’ in four areas, ‘significant progress’ in two areas – but ‘insignificant progress’ in one.

Three providers held onto their ‘good’ ratings this week following short inspections.

These were independent learning provider PGL Training (Plumbing) Limited, adult and community learning provider West Berkshire Training Consortium and employer provider Mercedes-Benz UK Limited.


GFE Colleges Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Telford College of Arts and Technology 26/04/2017 17/05/2017 Monitoring


Independent Learning Providers Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Norfolk Training Services Limited 14/02/2017 15/05/2017 4 3


Short inspections (remains grade 2) Inspected Published
PGL Training (Plumbing) Limited 20/04/2017 17/05/2017
West Berkshire Training Consortium  27/04/2017 17/05/2017
Mercedes-Benz UK Limited 26/04/2017 15/05/2017

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