Ofsted watch: Two providers straight in with ‘good’ in uneventful week for FE

One specialist college and a private provider received a grade two rating in their first ever Ofsted inspections, in what was otherwise an average week in the FE sector.

The only critical report came in for an NHS trust, after inspectors found it was making ‘insufficient progress’ in an early monitoring visit of its apprenticeship provision.

Starting with the good news, Qts-Global Limited, a North Yorkshire-based independent learning provider with 253 apprentices, was rated grade two across the board in its first ever inspection.

The education watchdog found leaders and managers plan programmes “very effectively” to meet the needs of employers and learners and “monitor all aspects of programmes closely and intervene swiftly if they have any concerns”.

Ofsted also found they provide “high-quality” resources for learning and recruit staff who have high levels of knowledge, expertise and credibility in their subjects.

“Learners produce work of a high standard that, in many cases, exceeds qualification requirements,” the report said. They also develop their confidence and their personal and employability skills effectively to prepare them for their next steps.

Wilson Stuart University College Birmingham Partnership Trust, a specialist college that provides education and training for young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities, also received a grade two thanks to its “very clear strategy and purpose”.

Ofsted found the college’s trustees ensure that managers provide challenging opportunities for students, who in turn “rise to the challenge”.

Senior leaders were recognised for creating a “welcoming and inclusive culture”, while students develop “excellent vocational skills”, make good progress from work placements to employment, and develop good practical, personal, English and mathematical skills.

On a more negative note, Kings College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust was found to have made ‘insufficient progress’ in two of its three provisions during its first monitoring visit since it started delivering apprenticeships in 2017.

Ofsted accused the provider of having “insufficient understanding of how to deliver successful apprenticeships” and its management of being “disjointed and ineffective”.

Of the 23 apprentices enrolled at the provider, more than half have withdrawn prematurely or have paused their programme after receiving insufficient accurate information and guidance before the start of their programme.

Still, apprentices “appreciate” the support and guidance they receive from assessors and feel they acquire useful new skills.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, another employer provider, was found to have made ‘reasonable progress’ across the board in its first Ofsted visit. The provider currently has 180 apprentices, who are provided with an apprenticeship curriculum that helps leaders and managers meet the need for skilled healthcare assistants and administrative staff across the trust.

Elsewhere, specialist college Birtenshaw was found making ‘reasonable progress’ in a monitoring visit following a grade three rating given by the inspectorate in March last year.

Ofsted said the provider’s leaders, managers and teachers have revised their approach to how they identify learners’ starting points substantially and have improved their approach to target-setting and monitoring since the previous visit.

The Electronics Group Limited and Back 2 Work Complete Training Limited were also found to have made ‘reasonable progress’ in their first monitoring visit since they started delivering apprenticeships.

Ofsted said the Electronics Group “use their experience as a subcontractor of Semta well to deliver directly funded frameworks that meet the principles and requirements of apprenticeship provision”.

Back 2 Work was commended for having made a “carefully considered and rational decision” to discontinue to offer business administration apprenticeships and to specialise in digital marketing apprenticeships to satisfy employers’ requirements.

Contracting Services (Education and Skills) Limited received mixed feedback from inspectors, with one ‘reasonable progress’ rating, one ‘significant’ and one ‘insufficient’.

Directors were found to have established a clear mission to provide apprenticeships to a small number of regional levy-paying employers, but have also failed to put in place an appropriately qualified safeguarding lead.

Finally, Catalyst Learning and Development Limited received a follow-up visit after being rated ‘insufficient’ in three areas in February.

In this most recent visit, Ofsted said the provider has made ‘reasonable’ progress and “worked hard” to develop a positive safeguarding culture.

Independent Specialist CollegeInspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
Wilson Stuart University College Birmingham Partnership Trust27/03/201907/05/20192N/A


Independent Learning ProvidersInspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
Qts-Global Ltd26/03/201909/05/20192N/A
Back 2 Work Complete Training Limited24/03/201910/05/2019MN/A
Catalyst Learning and Development Limited16/04/201908/05/2019MM
Contracting Services (Education and Skills) Limited28/03/201909/05/2019MN/A
The Electronics Group Limited10/04/201910/05/2019MN/A


Employer providersInspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
Northumbria Healthcare Nhs Foundation Trust27/03/201907/05/2019MN/A
King’s College Hospital Nhs Foundation Trust27/03/201907/05/2019MN/A


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