Ofsted watch: Radio company that runs Kiss FM among 7 ‘good’ reports

A high-profile radio company that runs UK stations such as Kiss FM and Magic was among seven FE providers to receive ‘good’ ratings from Ofsted this week.

But poor reports came in for four new independent learning providers, which all received ‘insufficient progress’ grades in early monitoring visits.

Most of Bauer Radio Limited’s 220 apprentices are studying level 3 standards in roles such as in junior content producer, junior journalist and broadcast production assistant.

Inspectors said many of its tutors and development coaches had worked on high-profile magazines, television programmes and radio programmes, and use their experience and in-depth knowledge to “inspire” apprentices.

Leaders and managers were also praised for establishing a “creative and innovative” curriculum.

Two general FE colleges were awarded grade twos in their first full inspections following mergers.

Most students at South Thames Colleges Group achieve their qualifications and go on to further study or employment while most of its apprentices remain in employment on completion of their programme, according to the inspectorate.

It also found that governors and leaders were “effective in securing a clear strategic direction” for the group, which resulted in each college maintaining good local connections and continuing to serve its communities “well”.

The education watchdog reported that students at East Coast College enjoy “a specialist and up-to-date” curriculum developed in partnership with local employers, and that leaders used public funding “effectively” to support disadvantaged adults in the community.

Since their merger, leaders and governors at East Coast have developed “robust systems to drive improvement”, they “watch improvements in the quality of learning carefully” and “take swift action should any dips in performance occur”.

East Norfolk Sixth Form College and Ealing London Borough Council both retained their ‘good’ ratings in short inspections.

Elsewhere, two independent learning providers were awarded grade twos in their first inspections.

The education watchdog found apprentices at Deere Apprenticeships Ltd developed new knowledge and skills that employers value while those at Moor Training Limited progress into well-paid careers in the plumbing, heating and gas industry.

But four private providers also received two out of three ‘insufficient progress’ grades in their early monitoring visits this week.

Ofsted said JD Academy Limited, which works with its own employees at its head office and in retail stores across the UK, had not ensured that all apprentices benefit from well-planned and sufficient training away from their job.

CS Training UK Limited was criticised as “too few” apprentices will achieve their apprenticeship on time.

In addition, leaders and managers at Dianthas Ltd were reported to “not fulfil all the apprenticeship principles and requirements” and many apprentices from Willing and Able Limited did “not know how much progress they have made, and too many make slow progress,” according to inspectors.

There were also six ‘requires improvements’ ratings handed out to FE providers this week, four of which went to independent learning providers.

Nottinghamshire Training Group dropped from a grade two as leaders’ and managers’ actions to improve standards “have not had enough impact,” and as a result, the quality of education is “very mixed”.

St Helens Chamber Limited was also downgraded from ‘good,’ with Ofsted noting that training advisers found it difficult to make the transition from apprenticeship frameworks to standards-based apprenticeships.

Furthermore, assessors at Cogent Skills Training Limited were criticised for not challenging apprentices enough to achieve their potential while leaders’ management of subcontractors was “not good enough”.

Ofsted said that although leaders and managers at Partnership Training Limited had taken “effective steps to improve the curriculum for apprentices, there is still much work to do”.

General FE college Cambridge Regional College was also hit with a grade three.

Its quality of provision for adult students was found to be “too inconsistent,” “too few” apprentices gained their qualifications and many also took “too long” to complete them.

Adult and community learning provider Building Crafts College ‘requires improvement’ as well, after previously being considered ‘good’, with managers being criticised for not ensuring that training is of “consistently good quality”.

However, independent specialist college, Exeter Royal Academy for Deaf Education, was awarded ‘reasonable progress’ across the board in a monitoring visit following a ‘requires improvement’ rating.

Hull College received two out of two ‘reasonable progress’ grades in its second monitoring visit after a grade three.

Similarly, Development Processes Group PLC was deemed to have made ‘reasonable progress’ in a second successive monitoring visit, after receiving ‘insufficient progress’ in all themes in the last.

Learning for Excellence Ltd was awarded ‘significant progress’ in each area as most apprentices made “rapid progress” in developing new knowledge, skills and behaviours.

The remaining independent learning providers to be assessed this week received ‘reasonable progress’ across the board in their early monitoring visits.

These were: Nationwide Energy Training Services Ltd, First Intuition Maidstone Limited, Keith Stevenson and Associates Limited and University Academy Holbeach.


Independent Learning ProvidersInspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
Bauer Radio Limited21/02/202010/03/20202M
Cogent Skills Training Limited07/02/202013/03/20203M
CS Training UK Limited21/02/202012/03/2020MN/A
Deere Apprenticeships Ltd31/01/202010/03/20202M
Development Processes Group PLC02/03/202012/03/2020MM
Dianthas Ltd26/02/202013/03/2020MN/A
First Intuition Maidstone Limited27/02/202012/03/2020MN/A
JD Academy Limited06/02/202009/03/2020MN/A
Keith Stevenson and Associates Limited27/02/202011/03/2020MN/A
Learning for Excellence Ltd12/02/202009/03/2020MN/A
Moor Training Limited20/02/202012/03/20202M
Nationwide Energy Training Services Ltd26/02/202009/03/2020MN/A
Nottinghamshire Training Group27/02/202010/03/202032
Partnership Training Limited21/02/202010/03/20203M
St Helens Chamber Limited18/02/202011/03/202032
University Academy Holbeach27/02/202009/03/2020MN/A
Willing and Able Limited13/02/202009/03/2020MN/A


Sixth Form Colleges (inc 16-19 academies)InspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
East Norfolk Sixth Form College27/02/202013/03/202022


Adult and Community LearningInspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
Building Crafts College31/01/202010/03/202032
Ealing London Borough Council11/02/202010/03/202022


Specialist collegesInspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
Exeter Royal Academy for Deaf Education13/02/202009/03/2020M3


General FE collegesInspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
Cambridge Regional College07/02/202012/03/20203N/A
East Coast College14/02/202012/03/20202N/A
Hull College28/02/202011/03/2020MM (3)
South Thames Colleges Group07/02/202013/03/20202M

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One comment

  1. Ian Clinton

    With the world wide health crisis gripping us, is is right that Ofsted
    continues to inspect? Inspectors travel widely and stay in a variety
    of hotels etc, mixing with numerous other people.
    Surely, Inspectors rather like MP’s are now a high risk group?
    Is it not time to put the health of students and their lecturers etc first,
    rather than fussing about teaching observations and other minor
    and far from essential activities. Since Ofsted’s matra includes
    ‘Improving Lives’, is it now time to put that into practice, until
    at least Sept 20?