Ofsted Watch: Tough week for providers inspected for first time

It has been a difficult week for first-time private providers, as one was rated ‘requires improvement’ and another was handed the dreaded grade four.

Millennium Academy, based in Barking, was deemed ‘inadequate’ across the board.

This was its first ever inspection and despite Ofsted only judging the provider’s adult learning provision, Millennium now faces being taken off of the register of apprenticeships training providers and have its funding terminated.

The provider trains adults in subjects including electrical installation, plumbing, gas, health and social care.

Inspectors said leaders do not evaluate the quality of provision “accurately or identify suitable actions for improvement”.

They added that managers do not promote safeguarding effectively; “teachers do not ensure safe working practices in workshops, and learners’ insights into safeguarding and the ‘Prevent’ duty are poor”.

Teachers do not ensure safe working practices in workshops

However, FE Week understands the leaders of the provider are not happy with the way the inspection was carried out and is challenging the findings.

It wasn’t a good start to inspection life for Learn Plus Us either.

This independent provider, which offers apprenticeships and courses for adult learners in childcare, education, and health and social care in Barnet, was rated ‘requires improvement’ across the board.

Ofsted said the proportion of adult learners who achieve qualifications in childcare and health and social care is “too low”.

“Too few learners stay to the end of their course, and not enough students from minority ethnic backgrounds, or male students, achieve their qualifications,” inspectors added.

Leaders were criticised for not putting in place “adequate governance arrangements” in order to provide “sufficient challenge and independent scrutiny of their actions to raise standards and performance”.

However, they were applauded for creating a “supportive culture”.

Meanwhile, another University Technical College has been rated ‘inadequate’, taking the total number in the category to six.

Following an inspection in mid-February, the South Wiltshire UTC was told its leadership and management, quality of teaching, learning and assessment, outcomes for pupils and 16 to 19 study programmes were inadequate. You can read our full story on this report here.

There was also no cause for celebration at the cash-strapped Cadbury Sixth Form College, as it was given a grade three for the second time in a row.

An FE commissioner report published in March reported a “series of financial items” that “could result in the college being at immediate risk”.

In terms of academic performance, Ofsted said that between 2014/15 and 2016/17, “too few” students at Cadbury achieved their qualifications.

Inspectors said teachers do not “consistently provide sufficient academic challenge” and the learning activities are “too simple and uninspiring”. As a result, students’ work “does not reflect their potential”.

There was a mix of good and bad news for general FE colleges.

Learning activities are too simple and uninspiring

Easton & Otley College received a fairly critical second monitoring visit following its grade four report published last July.

Inspectors said “insufficient progress” was being made in safeguarding, in the college’s efforts to improve the quality of teaching, learning and assessment, and the actions being taken to ensure that learners’ attendance, punctuality and behaviour are “good”.

The only “significant progress” being made is in ensuring that learners for whom the college receives high-needs funding receive “high-quality teaching, learning and assessment”.

It was ‘good’ news however for Kirklees College as it was awarded a grade two in a short inspection.

The college hit the headlines last week after staff began balloting on strike action over the possibility of over 50 job cuts – owing to current financial trouble.

Inspectors acknowledged that, although the college had financial difficulties, this had not had a negative impact on the quality of education and training or the range of programmes available.

Lastly, it was also ‘good’ news for two adult and community learning providers.

Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council climbed up from a grade three to a two, with inspectors praising governors and senior leaders for “successfully” rectifying all the “weaknesses identified at the previous inspection” – such as relationships with external partners and the content on courses.

Redcar & Cleveland Adult Learning Service was also given a grade two in a short inspection report.


GFE Colleges Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Easton & Otley College 05/03/2018 18/04/2018 M M


Sixth Form Colleges Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Cadbury Sixth Form College 05/03/2018 16/04/2018 3 3


Independent Learning Providers Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Millennium Academy 06/03/2018 17/04/2018 4 N/A
Learn Plus Us 06/03/2018 16/04/2018 3 N/A


Adult and Community Learning Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council 06/03/2018 17/04/2018 2 3


Other (including UTCs) Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
South Wiltshire UTC 21/02/2018 18/04/2018 4 N/A


Short inspections (remains grade 2) Inspected Published
Redcar & Cleveland Adult Learning Service 13/03/2018 20/04/2018
Kirklees College 07/03/2018 17/04/2018


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