FE Week – Ofsted watch: Two providers drop from ‘good’ to ‘inadequate’
A council and a specialist college have received the worst possible rating from Ofsted, in a week where three early monitoring reports at new providers recorded ‘insufficient progress’ scores.
North Lincolnshire Council and Cambian Lufton College in Somerset saw their ratings drop by two grades from ‘good’.
The inspectorate found a set of poor teaching and learning outcomes at North Lincolnshire Council, and claimed that its community learning programme includes ‘‘too many courses that learners attend purely for recreational purposes”.
The report highlighted falling completion rates, high levels of truancy and community learning courses which were not adding to leaners’ existing skills and knowledge.
Managers’ data analysis of where the service needs to be improved was said to be poor, and governors were said to have insufficient power to challenge management decisions.
Safeguarding at the council was said to be effective.
Cambian Lufton College in Somerset was also downgraded to ‘inadequate’ over “significant” safeguarding concerns, as FE Week reported on Wednesday.
Two new private providers – Shl Training Solutions Ltd and Rita’s Training Services Ltd – were both criticised for allegedly failing to meet the basic requirements of an apprenticeship, in their first monitoring visits since they won direct contracts with the ESFA.
Ofsted claimed that this was the case at both providers because they allocated insufficient time for off-the-job training.
Other elements of provision at Rita’s Training Services Ltd, which was deemed to have made ‘insufficient progress’ in two of the three criteria in its report, were broadly praised by the inspections body.
Ofsted engaged in further criticism of Shl Training Solutions Ltd, which was deemed to have made ‘insufficient progress’ across all areas. The body said apprentices at that provider who “have been in the same employment for many years repeat much of what they know and can do already”.
Safeguarding practices were also criticised. The provider was said to have a “comprehensive range” of safeguarding policies but implementation was often insufficiently tracked.
Hertfordshire Catering Ltd, an employer provider, was also found making ‘insufficient progress’ in two areas of its early monitoring report.
Ofsted drew attention to the fact that no learners completed their courses on time, and said that the basic requirements of an apprenticeship were not being fulfilled.
Apprentices were found not to be developing new skills and it was claimed that many learners have a “higher level of competency in cookery and hospitality than they require to complete their apprenticeship”.
Ofsted said the provider did not properly assess learners’ basic skills at the start of their programme, apprentices did not know enough about their programme and directors were given insufficient information to challenge management decisions.
Private provider Omega Training Services Ltd was deemed to be ‘requires improvement’ for the second time in a row in two years.
Almost half of learners were not completing their courses on time and staff were deemed to be poorly trained. Ofsted said the provider displayed a good understanding of where it needs to improve.
There was better news for Lincolnshire County Council, which retained a ‘good’ rating for the third time in a row, and for private provider dip (Batley) Ltd, which was deemed to be making ‘significant progress’ in two areas of its early monitoring report.
Ofsted praised Lincolnshire Council for providing disadvantaged young people with “excellent opportunities to attend learning venues close to their homes”, with learners making good progress in an environment which set the bar high for all learners regardless of their starting point.
It said that commissioning procedures were “robust” although good practice was not always shared between teams and too few learners were achieving good outcomes in English and maths.
Provision at dip (Batley) Ltd was praised, after Ofsted found the provider’s leaders have a “very clear and well-established curriculum strategy”.
“They provide courses for unemployed people in the local area to support them to develop the skills they need to gain employment,” inspectors added.
Elsewhere, six providers were deemed to be making ‘reasonable progress’ across all areas of their early monitoring reports; Careshield Ltd, Gecko Programmes Ltd, SPS Training Solutions, Aspire to Learn Limited, The Football League (Community) Limited and Lul Noninee Bcv Ltd.