Ofsted watch: Unimpressive week for new private providers

Five early monitoring reports for independent providers returned ‘insufficient’ ratings this week, with Ofsted finding some have not recruited with “integrity” and another had learners unaware they’re on an apprenticeship.

It was also bad news for a local authority which was downgraded to ‘inadequate’. There was, however, promising results for colleges.

The grade four came in for Stoke-on-Trent Unitary Authority, which has over 2,000 students.

The majority of adult learners and students aged 16 to 19 “do not make strong progress from their starting points” and “too few adult learners successfully move on into the next stage of their education, training, or employment when they complete their programmes”.

The local authority was however praised for its apprenticeship delivery, which was judged as ‘good’.

Elsewhere, Apprentice Assessments Ltd was hit with two ‘insufficient progress’ ratings in its first monitoring visit since it started offering its own apprenticeships in August 2017. It had 90 apprentices at the time of Ofsted’s visit.

Inspectors found that managers have “not ensured that apprenticeship provision was meeting the requirements of the funding body and the principles of apprenticeships”.

In February 2019, two senior managers resigned from their posts at AAL and a new managing director was appointed in April. They have since made “substantial investment” in resources to improve training.

Another new apprenticeship provider found making ‘insufficient progress’ this week was Ashley Hunter Ltd. It started delivering its own apprenticeships in January 2018 but before that it delivered them as a subcontractor.

It has nearly 150 apprentices on its books for the care sector, but inspectors found leaders and managers “do not ensure that apprenticeship programmes are planned appropriately to meet the principles and requirements of an apprenticeship”.

Leaders and managers have, however, “very recently” introduced additional checks, systems and processes to “rectify identified weaknesses in the quality of education and training”.

Fresh Training Services (UK) Ltd came in for heavy criticism in its first monitoring visit, which found the independent provider making ‘insufficient progress’ in two areas judged.

It has 25 apprentices, but Ofsted said leaders and manager do not recruit them with “integrity”.

“They do not ensure that prospective apprentices are employed appropriately to enable them to complete an apprenticeship,” inspectors continued.

Merseyside Accredited Community Training and Assessment Centre also received two ‘insufficient progress’ ratings in its first monitoring report.

Leaders and managers “do not have a coherent curriculum plan” for its 70 adult learners, Ofsted said, and students “do not receive sufficient information, advice and guidance before they enrol on a course”.

Prospect Training (Yorkshire) Limited was also slammed by the inspectorate, this time for not making learners and their employers aware they’re actually on an apprenticeship programme.

A better performing private provider this week was All Trades Training Limited, which improved from ‘requires improvement’ to ‘good’.

Leaders, managers and learning coaches work “highly effectively” with employers to provide good-quality learning for its 69 apprentices.

Tendring District Council (Career Track) also did well and was found making ‘significant progress’ in two areas of its first monitoring visit.

Leaders and managers make “very good use of their experience and knowledge” to design “highly effective training programmes which effectively meet apprentices’ individual needs”.

Carole Plummer also received two ‘significant progress’ ratings. Ofsted said highly qualified and experienced staff provide a “rich variety of training to ensure that almost all apprentices gain considerable new knowledge, skills and behaviours that tangibly add value to their employer’s business”.

Four private providers – Blue Apple Training Ltd, Culture, Learning And Libraries (Midlands), Poplar Housing And Regeneration Community Association Limited and Marson Garages (Wolstanton) Limited – as well as one NHS trust – Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust – were found making ‘reasonable progress’ across the board in their first ever monitoring visits.

Marson Garages (Wolstanton) Limited was found making ‘reasonable progress’ across the board in its first monitoring visit since being rated ‘requires improvement’ in October 2018.

The Real Apprenticeship Company Limited scored its second grade three in a row.

It was better news for Morley College, which trains over 11,000 learners. It retained its ‘good’ rating, and scored ‘outstanding’ for personal development, behaviour and welfare.

“Governors, leaders and managers have high aspirations to meet the needs of adult students in the local area and across London,” Ofsted found.

There was also cause for celebration at New City College, which has over 13,000 students.

It was formed by a merger of four predecessor colleges: Tower Hamlets College merged with Hackney Community College in August 2016, Redbridge College joined the group in April 2017, and Epping Forest College was the last to join in August 2018.

Ofsted found the mega-college is making ‘reasonable progress’ in two fields judged in a monitoring visit – for apprenticeships and other areas of teaching – but ‘significant progress’ in governance.

Stella Mann College, a private college that trains students for employment in the musical theatre and dance industries, was also celebrating after Ofsted upped its grade from three to two.

Students “effectively develop the knowledge, skills and understanding they need to work successfully in the performing arts industry” and they “benefit from working with a wide range of industry specialists, guest teachers and advisers who bring and share a wealth of experience”.

GFE Colleges Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Morley College 18/06/2019 15/07/2019 2 2
New City College Corporation 27/06/2019 17/07/2019 M N/A


Independent Learning Providers Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Ashley Hunter Ltd 13/06/2019 15/07/2019 M N/A
Blue Apple Training Ltd 19/06/2019 17/07/2019 M N/A
Apprentice Assessments Limited 14/05/2019 17/07/2019 M N/A
Culture, Learning And Libraries (Midlands) 20/06/2019 18/07/2019 M N/A
Fresh Training Services (Uk) Limited 12/06/2019 18/07/2019 M N/A
MACTAC 18/06/2019 18/07/2019 M N/A
Poplar Housing And Regeneration Community Association Limited 27/06/2019 18/07/2019 M N/A
Prospect Training (Yorkshire) Limited 05/06/2019 18/07/2019 M N/A
Tendring District Council (Career Track) 26/06/2019 18/07/2019 M N/A
All Trades Training Limited 04/06/2019 19/07/2019 2 3
Carole Plummer 13/06/2019 19/07/2019 M N/A
Marson Garages (Wolstanton) Limited 27/06/2019 19/07/2019 M 3
Riverside Training (Spalding) Ltd 22/06/2019 19/07/2019 M N/A
The Real Apprenticeship Company Limited 18/06/2019 19/07/2019 3 3


Adult and Community Learning Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
STOKE-ON-TRENT UNITARY AUTHORITY 11/06/2019 15/07/2019 4 3


Other (including UTCs) Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust 19/06/2019 18/07/2019 M N/A
Stella Mann College 20/06/2019 18/07/2019 2 3

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