Ofsted has raised concerns over issues of neglect, hygiene standards and a curriculum that is “uninspiring” and “unambitious” at a college for students with special education needs or disabilities (SEND) in Wigan.
My Life Learning was handed an ‘inadequate’ rating by the inspection watchdog in a report published today following a visit in early May.
The college, which is a part of the My Life charity, caters for learners aged 16 to 25 with SEND, including severe learning difficulties, autism, speech and communication needs and emotional difficulties.
Inspectors said learners “did not benefit from a curriculum that prepares them for their next steps,” and “are not provided with opportunities for work-experience placements that relate to their future ambitions”.
The report continued that the curriculum is “unambitious” and doesn’t consider the different abilities of learners, while the quality of education was branded “uninspiring”.
Elsewhere, the report said: “Learners making sandwiches to sell to college staff do not follow appropriate food hygiene standards.”
In addition, safeguarding arrangements were described as “not effective”, as potential issues around neglect were not identified.
Safeguarding concerns were raised at a previous monitoring visit in July 2021, with a November follow-up saying reasonable progress had been made.
Ofsted tasked the college to “as a matter of urgency, put in place effective safeguarding arrangements, including prompt identification, referral and monitoring of safeguarding concerns, and the implementation of robust risk assessments”.
The report said there are 26 learners at the Greater Manchester college, studying horticulture, animal care and equine in one of three groups.
The establishment said it “wholly accepts” the findings.
A statement from My Life Learning said: “We were asked by Wigan Council to set up My Life Learning in 2018 and have gradually built the provision to provide crucial independent specialist further education for 26 learners in our beautiful 84-acre site in Standish.
“When we received an Ofsted new provider monitoring report last year, we acted upon the recommendations and put in place a new leadership team, brought in experts in specialist further education to refine our curriculum, and made further teaching appointments.
“We’ve also taken the opportunity over the last 12 months to consult with families in terms of what they wanted to see from My Life Learning. Overwhelmingly, they asked for individualised pathways for the young people they care for and to that end our curriculum now reflects that desire.”
The college said it was pleased Ofsted recognised learners enjoyed college and felt supported, and added that governors were now “suitably experienced in the further education and SEND sectors”.
The spokesperson added: “We’re confident that we’ve involved all stakeholders in our mission to improve My Life Learning, and that changes to offer an ambitious, aspirational and challenging curriculum will be both obvious and immediate.
Cath Pealing, assistant director of education at Wigan Council, the local SEND authority, said: “We are aware of the inspection outcome of this provider and are working with them to look at how they can make improvements.
“We will review the current placements of our young people attending and will support them with the most appropriate plan moving forward.”