Ofsted watch: Troubled college and Williamson’s alma mater among swathe of positive results

A college in financial trouble and the education secretary’s old sixth form are among a host of positive Ofsted results for FE providers.

The week was somewhat overshadowed, however, after independent provider EQV (UK) was handed a grade four because apprentices and their bosses did not know they were on an apprenticeship programme.

Brooklands College will find solace in maintaining its grade two after plunging into financial difficulties as the government demanded it return £20 million following a subcontracting scandal.

Inspectors have reported that the current leaders and governors “now have a realistic grasp of the college’s financial position”.

Staff encourage and guide the nearly 2,500 learners towards high aspirations; such as engineering students pursuing a career in motor racing.

Also keeping hold of its grade two is Scarborough Sixth Form College, where education secretary Gavin Williamson completed his A-levels.

A high proportion of the college’s 950 learners achieve high grades, thanks to effective and helpful teaching, through which learners develop knowledge and skills well.

Independent provider Group Horizon had a promising week, scoring a grade two from its first full inspection of its provision to 45 apprentices and 111 adults.

By working effectively with organisations like the combined authority and employers, Group Horizon design programmes that support apprentices and learners to develop skills to meet regional needs.

Salford City College, Locomotivation Ltd, Long Road Sixth Form College and Fairfield Farm College also maintained a grade two this week.

After receiving a grade three in November 2018, FE college Colchester Institute has regained some standing by making ‘significant progress’ in two areas of a follow-up monitoring visit.

Its governors come in for particular praise, with inspectors writing they and leaders, “responded swiftly and effectively to the findings from the previous inspection” and effective structures have improved the quality of education for its over 5,000 learners.

Phoenix Training Services (Midlands), meanwhile, has made ‘insufficient progress’ in two areas of a monitoring visit after receiving a grade three last February.

Following that full inspection, Phoenix was bought by recruitment firm Challenge-trg and was successful in bidding for a slice of the West Midlands Combined Authority’s £125.6 million adult education budget.

But inspectors have found its 39 adult learners are on programmes not designed to meet their needs and “the curriculum remains too narrow and focused exclusively on achieving the vocational or employability short qualification,” which make up most of the provision.

Employer provider Veolia Environment Development Centre, a branch of waste management company Veolia UK, slipped to ‘requires improvement’ after a grade two inspection two years ago.

It was found that the curriculum is not “consistently challenging” for all 187 apprentices and they are not well prepared enough for their end-point assessment.

University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust has been hit with a grade three in every area of its full inspection, but inspectors wrote “leaders and managers have made effective improvements to governance and strategic management” since making ‘insufficient progress’ in a monitoring visit.

The independent provider’s 129 apprentices have the opportunity to learn new skills from “highly experienced and professional” ward staff and managers.

Aspect Training, for not making “sufficient progress in improving the quality of education” since a grade three inspection, was declared to be making ‘insufficient progress’ in two areas.

But the independent provider has introduced a “useful” learner monitoring system being used effectively to spot any learners falling behind.

Complete Training and Assessment, with its 73 apprentices, was marked as making ‘insufficient progress’ in two areas of an early monitoring visit because its leaders and managers of the independent provider did not ensure the principles of an apprenticeship are met.

They have not prepared adequately, in the inspectors’ eyes, for the transition to standards from frameworks, which are due to be switched off this year.

Bishop Auckland College, Bespoke Consultancy and Education Limited, New London Educational Trust, Paragon Training Academy, Highfields Community Association and Newfriars College all made reasonable progress in every area of monitoring visits.

GFE Colleges Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Bishop Auckland College 18/12/2019 15/01/2020 M 3
Brooklands College 10/12/2019 16/01/2020 2 2
Colchester Institute 11/12/2019 17/01/2020 M 3
Salford City College 04/12/2019 16/01/2020 2 2


Independent Learning Providers Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Aspect Training Limited 18/12/2019 13/01/2020 M 3
Bespoke Consultancy and Education Limited 19/12/2019 15/01/2020 M N/A
Complete Training & Assessment Limited 12/12/2019 15/01/2020 M N/A
EQV (UK) Ltd 10/12/2019 16/01/2020 4 M
Group Horizon Limited 10/12/2019 15/01/2020 2 M
Locomotivation Ltd 10/12/2019 13/01/2020 2 2
New London Educational Trust 05/12/2019 15/01/2020 M 3
Paragon Training Academy 06/12/2019 15/01/2020 M N/A
Phoenix Training Services (Midlands) Limited 17/12/2019 16/01/2020 M 3
University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust 17/12/2019 15/01/2020 3 M
Veolia Environment Development Centre Limited 13/12/2019 15/01/2020 3 2
Highfields Community Association 11/12/2019 14/01/2020 M M


Sixth Form Colleges (inc 16-19 academies) Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Long Road Sixth Form College 12/12/2020 14/01/2020 2 2
Scarborough Sixth Form College 06/12/2019 15/01/2020 2 2


Specialist colleges Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Fairfield Farm College (Farmfield Farm Trust) 10/12/2019 15/01/2020 2 2
Newfriars College 12/12/2019 16/01/2020 M N/A

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