Two NHS trusts have been put in intensive care this week, following poor Ofsted reports – one a monitoring visit, the other a full inspection.

Elsewhere, a trio of providers have maintained their grade three ratings for at least the second inspection in a row.

Walsall NHS Trust was rated ‘inadequate’ across the board for its apprenticeship provision, down from its previous grade three, in a damning report published January 18 and based on an inspection in mid-December.

Trust leaders and board members were criticised for failing to “hold managers of the apprenticeship programme effectively to account for the quality of provision”, while managers had “not sufficiently tackled the areas for improvement identified at the previous inspection”.

Assessors were “not aware that the vast majority of apprentices are not making the expected progress on their programme” and “do not ensure that apprentices understand how to organise their work for endpoint assessment”.

Improvements have already started to be put in place

Safeguarding was deemed “ineffective”, with concerns raised by apprentices and staff “not dealt with safely”, the report said.

Catherine Griffiths, director of people and culture at the trust said the report “makes uncomfortable reading for all of us and leaves us in no doubt that our apprentices have not been given the support and safeguarding they deserve”.

“Improvements have already started to be put in place including the trust sourcing an external provider for off-the-job training,” she said.

University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust was found to be making ‘insufficient progress’ in two out of three themes under review, in an early monitoring visit report published on January 18, and based on a visit in early December.

The trust’s provision “is not leading to substantial gains in knowledge, skill and understanding for many of its apprentices”, the report said.

“Ineffective strategic leadership, weak systems to secure trust-wide delivery and an absence of a clear understanding of what constitutes an effective apprenticeship training programme have combined to expose serious weaknesses in the apprenticeship programme of the trust.”

“Too many” healthcare apprentices “do not receive sufficient off-the-job learning activities” because “too many assessors, mentors, tutors and managers do not fully understand the requirements and full entitlement of an apprenticeship training programme”.

Matt Joint, director of people at the trust said it was “taking steps to make improvements in the areas which have been highlighted”.

Itchen College received its second ‘requires improvement’ rating in a row this week, while the Virtual College gained its third – and, as previously reported by FE Week, Kensington and Chelsea College racked up its fifth grade three in a row.

“Too many” A-level learners “leave their course early” while many are on “courses that have underperformed for too long” at Itchen, according to a report into the sixth form college published January 18 and based on an inspection in early December.

“Not enough students make the progress of which they are capable”, the report said – with “not enough” teachers taking “students’ prior achievement and potential” into account “so that they can excel”.

Programmes at The Virtual College, an online learning provider based in Ilkley, “focus too heavily on the completion of tasks rather than on the development of appropriate skills and behaviours”, according to a report published January 14 and based on an inspection in late November.

“Managers’ self-assessment is overly optimistic and fails to identify the key weaknesses in the provision,” inspectors found.

Their monitoring of subcontractors, who deliver around a third of the college’s provision, “has not led to rapid improvements in apprentices’ progress or their completion within planned timescales”.

Two providers saw their grades improve from ‘requires improvement’ to ‘good’ this week: Wakefield College, and Jancett Childcare and Jace Training Limited.

Leaders at Wakefield College “successfully promote an inclusive ethos throughout the college”, and have “taken effective steps to improve the quality of teaching, learning and assessment”, according to a report published January 17 and based on an inspection in early December.

Students “thrive in a supportive, welcoming atmosphere” and “benefit from well-resourced learning environments that help them to increase their self-esteem and develop their knowledge and skills well”, the report said.

In a report published January 14, and based on an inspection in late November, inspector praised leaders, managers and staff at Jancett Childcare and Jace Training Limited for “supporting young people and adult learners, many of whom start courses with low prior attainment, to achieve well, develop their self-confidence and their ability to gain employment”.

Students “thrive in a supportive, welcoming atmosphere”

Two providers slipped in the opposite direction this week: Northumberland College fell from grade two to three, and, as previously reported by FE Week, independent provider DV8 dropped from three to four.

Governors at Northumberland College had, “until very recently” failed to “identify and stop the decline in the quality of the college’s provision and the deterioration in its financial position”.

“Too many students on study programmes and apprentices do not attend their lessons often enough, particularly in English and mathematics”, the report said.

A further eight apprenticeships early monitoring visit reports have been published this week.

One, for SCL Education and Training, resulted in ‘significant progress’ verdicts in two out of three areas under review.

Six were found to be making ‘reasonable progress’ in all three areas: Aspire Sporting Academy, Aspire Development (UK) Ltd, Randstad Solutions, CIPFA Business Limited, Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust and Care Training Solutions.

The eighth was found to be making ‘insufficient progress’ in safeguarding: TMS Learning and Skills Support.

Four providers currently rated grade three had monitoring visit reports published this week: City College Nottingham, West Thames College, The Sixth Form College, Solihull, and Norman Mackie & Associates.

GFE CollegesInspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
City College Nottingham12/12/201817/01/2019M3
Kensington and Chelsea College20/11/201815/01/201933
West Thames College28/11/201811/01/2019M3
Wakefield College04/12/201817/01/201923
Northumberland College27/11/201814/01/201932


Sixth Form Colleges (inc 16-19 academies)InspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
The Sixth Form College, Solihull12/12/201816/01/2019M3
Itchen College04/12/201818/01/201933


Independent Learning ProvidersInspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
DV8 Training (Brighton)20/11/201816/01/201943
SCL Education and Training12/12/201817/01/2019MM
T.M.S. Learning and Skills Support Ltd28/11/201816/01/2019MM
University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust05/12/201818/01/2019MM
Aspire Sporting Academy10/12/201817/01/2019MM
Aspire Development (UK) Ltd28/11/201811/01/2019MM
Randstad Solutions06/12/201817/01/2019MM
CIPFA Business Limited12/12/201817/01/2019MM
Jancett Childcare and Jace Training Limited27/11/201814/01/201923
Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals National Health Service Trust13/12/201818/01/2019MM
The Virtual College27/11/201814/01/201933
Walsall NHS Trust11/12/201818/01/201943
Norman Mackie & Associates28/11/201811/01/2019M3
Care Training Solutions14/12/201811/01/2019MM

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