Ofsted watch: ‘Requires improvement’ for K College successor

A provider that took on much of the former K College provision, following its demise, has been rated as ‘requires improvement’ – in a mixed week for the FE and skills sector.

Inspectors praised leaders at West Kent and Ashford College for being “determined in tackling the inadequacies that prevailed in the previous inspection”, in a report published March 31 and based on an inspection at the end of February that still identified much room for improvement.

It took on approximately four fifths of former K College provision in 2014, following the demise of that provider. Its previous inspection report dates from that incarnation (K College).

K College, which was formed through a merger between South Kent College and West Kent College in 2010, fell apart in 2014 after racking up huge debts. It was also rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted in November 2013.

Leaders “have introduced a culture of high aspirations and accountability, and improved performance management, which has started to raise the quality of teaching, learning and assessment” but were warned that “these improvements have not yet improved the overall quality sufficiently”.

Lincoln UTC received a grade three in a report published March 27, following its first inspection in February.

But while the 14 to 19 institution was rated as ‘requires improvement’ overall, its sixth form was found to be ‘good’.

Inspectors noted: “Good teaching and strong support from their teachers mean that students achieve well and successfully move on to the next stage of their life.”

As previously reported by FE Week, loans-only provider The Beauty Academy received an inadequate rating following its first inspection in February, in a report published March 30.

Directors at the Cambridge-based provider were found to “have insufficient understanding of the requirements of delivering government-funded learning provision.”

Canterbury College and New College Stamford both went up a grade from requires improvement to good, in reports published this week.

“Highly capable” leaders at Canterbury College “directed by an inspirational principal” were found by inspectors to “have had a rapid and significantly positive impact”, in a report published March 28 and based on an inspection on February 28.

But while there had been “significant improvements to the overall quality of provision” not all areas were “reliably good”, with adult learning provision singled out as requiring improvement.

Staff at New College Stamford had been “imbued” with “a sense of optimism and purpose” leading to “rapid improvements in all provision types” thanks to the “culture of high expectation” established by senior leaders, inspectors found.

Their report, published March 27 and based on an inspection at the end of February, noted that “most learners and apprentices successfully achieve their qualifications” but that the “quality of A-level programmes is not yet good enough”.

Norwich City College retained its grade two in a report published March 31 following a full inspection carried out in early February.

While the “majority of learners” made “good progress”, provision for learners with high needs was found to be outstanding, with the result that a “very high proportion excel, and complete and achieve their qualifications”.

Retaining a grade two this week following full inspections were Long Road Sixth Form College and independent training provider Sutton and District Training Limited.

Inspectors found that teaching, learning assessment in “the large majority of subject” was to a “good standard” at Long Road SFC, in a report published March 31 but based on an inspection carried out in late January.

But while “almost all students progress on to a positive destination”, the proportion of learners on AS or A-level maths who were successful was found to be “too low”.

“Passionate” senior leaders at Sutton and District Training Limited were praised for their “tireless” work in “supporting young people to achieve their aspirations”, in a report published March 27 and based on an inspection carried out in February.

The proportion of learners achieving their qualifications was found to be “higher than in similar providers” but progress on GCSE English and maths was found to be “slow”.

Only one FE and skills provider saw their grade go down this week – London-based Capital Engineering Group Holdings Ltd, which went down from two to three in a report published March 24 but based on an inspection in early January.

Leaders were criticised for not managing subcontractors “effectively to ensure that a consistently high standard of learning is being provided”.

While “too few” adult learners achieved their qualifications on time, “a high proportion” of apprentices did so.

Six short inspections were published this week, with Myerscough College, TRN (Train) Limited, Poultec Training Limited, Devon County Council Adult and Community Learning and Coventry City Council all retaining their grade two ratings.

And a report into a monitoring visit to Cambridge UTC, published March 29, found that it was moving towards being taken out of special measures.

General FE collegesInspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
West Kent and Ashford College28/02/1731/03/1734
Norwich City College07/02/1731/03/1722
Canterbury College28/02/1728/03/1723
New College Stamford28/02/1727/03/1723
Sixth form collegesInspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
Long Road Sixth Form College24/01/1731/03/1722
Independent training providersInspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
The Beauty Academy27/02/1730/03/174n/a
Capital Engineering Group Holdings Ltd10/01/1724/03/1732
Sutton and District Training Limited21/02/1727/03/1722
Other (including UTC)InspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
Lincoln UTC21/02/1727/03/173n/a
Cambridge UTC02/03/1729/03/17MM


Short inspectionsInspectedPublished
Myerscough College01/03/1730/03/17
TRN (Train) Limited21/02/1731/03/17
Poultec Training Limited17/01/1729/03/17
Devon County Council Adult and Community Learning28/02/1730/03/17
Coventry City Council08/03/1730/03/17



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