A sixth form college that hadn’t received an inspection for 10 years sank from ‘outstanding’ to ‘requires improvement’ – in a mixed week for FE Ofsted reports.

Governors at Holy Cross College, in Manchester, were criticised for their failure to recognise the “significance of the decline in standards” at the SFC.

The new report, published on March 15, said “sufficient challenge” has not been provided to senior leaders, who themselves have not “identified the weaknesses in underperforming subjects accurately and have been too slow to implement effective improvement strategies”.

Its previous ‘outstanding’ Ofsted report followed a February 2007 inspection.

The 2,000-learner institution received grade threes this time round, in all but one area – person development, behaviour and welfare.

It was also a bad week for university technical colleges, after Swindon UTC was branded ‘inadequate’ in its first ever Ofsted report, published March 10.

The government’s watchdog hit the UTC with grade fours in almost every category, including effectiveness of leadership and management, quality of teaching, learning and assessment, outcomes for pupils, and 16 to 19 study programmes.

Criticisms included “inadequate achievement of pupils in Years 10 and 11 in mathematics”, leaders making “insufficient use of the wide range of engineering-based industrial partners”, and the failure of senior leaders and governors to deal with “significant weaknesses in the quality of teaching, learning and assessment in order to raise pupils’ achievement”.

The grade four means that more than half of the 20 UTCs visited by Ofsted have now been rated ‘inadequate’ or ‘requires improvement’.

It was however good news for employer and independent learning provider Busy Bees Nurseries Limited, which jumped from ‘good’ to ‘outstanding’ across the board in a report published on March 16.

Inspectors said that since its previous inspection, in October 2012, leaders and managers at Busy Bees have “significantly improved” the quality of teaching, learning and assessment and outcomes during a “very significant growth in learner numbers”.

The provider now has over 1,250 learners compared with just 293 five years ago.

It was less good news for Nottingham City Transport Ltd, another employer provider, who received a grade three in its first inspection.

One way for the provider to improve is by getting managers to ensure all staff provide “suitable support to apprentices to develop their literacy and numeracy skills more effectively”, according to inspectors.

Meanwhile, The College of West Anglia fell from ‘good’ to ‘requires improvement’ in a report published March 14.

The college received grade threes in all areas except for apprenticeships, where they scored a grade one.

Two other colleges – Kensington and Chelsea College and Birmingham Metropolitan College – kept their grade three ratings from previous inspections.

Bolton College on the other hand stepped up from a grade three to a grade two.

Inspectors said leaders, governors and managers have “worked hard” since the last inspection in 2010 to “improve successfully the outcomes for learners and the quality of the provision”.

Amersham and Wycombe College had its second monitoring visit since an ‘inadequate’ rating in July 2016 and was found to be making ”significant progress”.

Lastly, Broadland District Council, an adult and community learning provider in Norwich, went from a grade three to a grade two in a report published March 15.

Inspectors said staff provide “good-quality information, advice and guidance, which ensures that apprentices receive the right support to help them make informed decisions about their next steps”.


GFE Colleges Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Kensington and Chelsea College 31/01/2017 13/03/2017 3 3
Birmingham Metropolitan College 14/02/2017 16/03/2017 3 3
The College of West Anglia 11/01/2017 14/03/2017 3 2
Bolton College 07/02/2017 15/03/2017 2 3
Amersham and Wycombe College 22/02/2017 16/03/2017 M M


Sixth Form Colleges Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Holy Cross College 31/01/2017 15/03/2017 3 1


Adult and Community Learning Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Broadland District Council 24/01/2017 14/03/2017 2 3


Employer providers Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Busy Bees Nurseries Limited 01/02/2017 16/03/2017 1 2
Nottingham City Transport Ltd 14/02/2017 13/03/2017 3 0


Other (including UTCs) Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
UTC Swindon 25/01/2017 10/03/2017 4 0

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