In a week of two halves, a private training provider plummeted from ‘good’ to ‘inadequate’ in one of Ofsted’s most damning reports ever, while the first FE college to open in over 20 years was finally graded ‘good’.

Platinum Employment Advice & Training Limited received the lowest Ofsted grade across the board, with inspectors finding the Birmingham-based provider to have “no key strengths” in a report published Wednesday (February 15) based on an inspection carried out in January.

The 200-learner provider for 16 to 18 year olds was graded ‘good’ back in 2013 – up from a grade three in 2010.

Inspectors found that safeguarding arrangements to protect learners are “weak and ineffective”, while learners “do not develop essential skills, such as English and maths” and staff demonstrate “low expectations of what learners can achieve”.

Prospects College of Advanced Technology on the other hand received a ‘good’ inspection report which was published on Thursday (February 16) following a 90-day delay of its release.

The Basildon-based college was inspected between November 15 and 18 last year and its performance has been of key interest to the government and wider FE sector, as it was transformed from an independent training provider in to the first new FE college in more than 20 years back in 2014.

The 90-day gap is three times as long as the average 30 days between inspection and report being published.

PROCAT was rated good for effectiveness of leadership and management, quality of teaching, learning and assessment, apprenticeships, personal development, behaviour and welfare, and outcomes for learners.

The only ‘requires improvement’ headline field rating was for 16 to 19 study programmes.

Meanwhile, Mid Cheshire College was found to have made reasonable progress in all areas, in a monitoring visit report published February 14.

It was the third such visit to the general FE college after it was rated inadequate following an inspection in January 2016.

Independent training provider The Apprentice Academy Ltd saw its rating go up from ‘requires improvement’ to ‘good’, in a report published February 14.

Leaders at the Manchester-based provider were judged to be “ambitious and enthusiastic” and to have “provided good strategic direction resulting in good improvements”.

Consequently apprentices “make good progress”, and develop the “employability skills, personal attributes and the attitudes they need in the workplace”.

Adult and community learning provider YMCA Training also went up a grade, from three to two, in a report published today (February 17).

Inspectors praised managers at the Doncaster-based provider for developing “robust ways of improving the quality of the provision and its outcomes” with the result that apprentices are now “making good progress towards achieving their qualifications”.

Meanwhile, YMCA Derbyshire retained the ‘good’ rating it had first been awarded in 2014, in a report published February 16 based on a full inspection carried out in January.

The adult and community learning provider was found to have “good quality teaching, learning and assessment”, with “most learners” making good progress and moving on to further education, training or jobs.

Also holding on to a grade two this week following a short inspection this week were independent training provider Intec Business Colleges Ltd, adult and community learning provider City College Peterborough, and sixth form college Aquinas College.

No employer provider or other FE and skills provider inspection reports were published this week.


GFE Colleges Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Prospects College of Advanced Technology 15/11/2016 16/02/2017 2 0
Mid-Cheshire College of Further Education   24/01/2017 14/02/2017 M M


Independent Learning Providers Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Platinum Employment Advice & Training Limited 17/01/2017 15/02/2017 4 2
The Apprentice Academy Limited 10/01/2017 14/02/2017 2 3


Adult and Community Learning Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
YMCA Training 17/01/2017 17/02/2017 2 3
YMCA Derbyshire 16/01/2017 16/02/2017 2 2


Short inspections (remains grade 2) Inspected Published
Aquinas College 10/01/2017 16/02/2017
Intec Business Colleges Limited 18/01/2017 13/02/2017
City College Peterborough 16/11/2016 16/02/2017

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