Zenos Ltd, Aynho, near Banbury


Summary of grades awarded:

Effectiveness of provision Outstanding: Grade 1

Capacity to improve Outstanding: Grade 1

Achievement and standards Outstanding: Grade 1

Quality of provision Outstanding: Grade 1

Leadership and management Outstanding: Grade 1

Equality of opportunity Contributory grade: Good: Grade 2

Sector subject area:

ICT for practitioners Outstanding: Grade 1


Founded in 2001, Zenos Ltd is a private company that provides IT systems support training to more than 1000 learners each year. Provision, in the form of advanced apprenticeships and Train to Gain programmes, takes place at 12 centres (academies) around the country. During the inspection there were 313 centre-based learners, 391 employed learners and 18 on the Train to Gain programme.

Ofsted graded nearly all the areas of the inspection as outstanding and found no significant areas for improvement. Achievement and standards were outstanding with high success rates across all the programmes. The report stated: “Learners progress exceptionally rapidly. In six months, they gain the advanced apprenticeship and at least two additional vendor qualifications.” The development of learner’s employability skills was also seen as a key strength.

The quality of provision was outstanding. Inspectors said that lessons were thoroughly prepared and well managed and, “[made] good use of a stimulating range of well paced activities.” They felt that the planning, monitoring and assessment of training were all particularly effective, allowing learners to receive prompt, accurate feedback. Other key strengths included an ability to meet the needs of learners and employers; excellent opportunities made available to under 18s, and good support for learners.

Ofsted awarded an outstanding grade to leadership and management saying, “Zenos has clear strategic vision and a mission to achieve excellence which all staff fully support.” The company were praised for their strong partnerships and good internal communications. Arrangements for equality of opportunity, health and safety, and safeguarding were all considered good enough to meet requirements.


Robert Wiseman Dairies PLC, Glasgow


Summary of grades awarded:

Effectiveness of provision Good: Grade 2

Capacity to improve Outstanding: Grade 1

Achievement and standards Good: Grade 2

Quality of provision Good: Grade 2

Leadership and management Good: Grade 2

Equality of opportunity Contributory grade: Satisfactory: Grade 3

Sector subject areas:

Engineering and manufacturing technologies Good: Grade 2


Robert Wiseman Dairies PLC (RWD) is currently the second largest liquid milk production company operating from 23 main sites throughout the UK. There are currently 16 learners enrolled on driving goods vehicles apprenticeships, five learners on a young drivers scheme and 45 learners on Train to Gain programmes.

Ofsted said that effectiveness of provision was good and that RWD had demonstrated an outstanding capacity to improve because, “Managers and staff are clear on how they will continue to improve quality.” Success rates on Train to Gain programmes were outstanding, standing at 92% in 2007/08. Apprenticeships were also noted for having very high success rates. Both these achievements were listed as strengths.

Inspectors reported: “The driver training programme for large goods vehicle licences is very good,” and, “[it] is well-structured and organised, and effectively develops learners’ skills.” They were critical of the review process, suggesting that targets were not always sufficiently specific and measurable. Some learners were unclear as to obtaining literacy and numeracy support, and this was another area for improvement. Individual support, from mentors, was deemed very effective.

Leadership and management received a good grade, and Ofsted said the company had taken “appropriate action” to improve success rates and provision. Performance management, strategic planning and communication were all listed as key strengths. Ofsted’s main criticism in this section was that certain safeguarding policies were not yet in place. Equality of opportunity was found to be satisfactory.


Sheila Giles Associate, Northolt


Summary of grades awarded:

Effectiveness of provision Good: Grade 2

Capacity to improve Good: Grade 2

Achievement and standards Good: Grade 2

Quality of provision Good: Grade 2

Leadership and management Good: Grade 2

Equality of opportunity Contributory grade: Good: Grade 2

Sector subject area:

Business, administration & law Good: Grade 2


Sheila Giles Associates (SGA) is a private company in the west London area that provides apprenticeship programmes in business administration for two companies in the airline industry. At the time of inspection there were 12 learners; eight apprentices and four advanced apprentices. SGA also carries out commercial training, but this was not inspected at this time.

The effectiveness of provision at SGA was judged to be good and Ofsted thought that the company had shown improvement. Achievement and standards were good and, “overall success rates for apprenticeships in 2006/07 [were] high and significantly above national averages.” This was recognised as a key strength in the self-assessment and Ofsted’s report. Learners were seen to be making good progress and their development of good work skills was listed as another strength.

Inspectors said: “Good on- and off-the-job training provides learners with the opportunity to develop the range of skills required to achieve their qualifications and to work competently in a business environment.” The report noted that, while the use of individual learning plans had improved since the previous inspection, the recording of some important aspects of learners’ training was insufficiently accurate. Support and guidance for learners was very effective.

Leadership and management were good. An insufficient number and range of placements was Ofsted’s main criticism in this section, though SGA had recognised this area for improvement. Quality assurance arrangements were satisfactory while operational management arrangements, promotion of equality and internal communication were all considered good. Strong links with employers also made the key strengths list.


Start Training Limited, Manchester


Summary of grades awarded:

Effectiveness of provision Good: Grade 2

Capacity to improve Satisfactory: Grade 3

Achievement and standards Good: Grade 2

Quality of provision Good: Grade 2

Leadership and management Good: Grade 2

Equality of opportunity Contributory grade: Satisfactory: Grade 3

Sector subject areas:

Health, public service and care Good: Grade 2

Business, administration and law Good: Grade 2


Start Training Limited (Start) was established in 1983 and operates from a centre in Swinton, Manchester offering apprenticeships and Train to Gain programmes in administration, ICT, customer services, management, dental nursing, literacy and numeracy. There are currently 229 learners undertaking apprenticeships, 60 learners taking Train to Gain NVQ level 2 and level 3 programmes, and six learners following Learning Agreement Pilot programmes. Start also provides privately funded NVQ information technology training to a further 53 learners.

Ofsted thought the effectiveness of provision at Start was good. Achievement and standards were good with apprenticeship success rates showing consistent improvement over a three year period. Advanced apprenticeship success rates were noted for being higher than the national average, and Train to Gain overall success rates, “have been consistently high for the last two years.” Timely success rates on dental programmes were listed as an area for improvement.

Teaching and learning were graded as good. Most sessions were thought to be well structured, though occupational theory sessions were said to be insufficiently planned to motivate learners. Otherwise, inspectors noted that, “learners benefit from good, meaningful and supportive training planned by employers in the workplace.” Support from employers and assessment practices were considered good.

Ofsted graded leadership and management as good and said the company had, “a clear understanding of local and regional priorities and strategically aligns itself with partners to effectively extend provision and benefit learners.” They suggested that under-developed quality improvement strategies could be improved, but listed good partnerships and effective performance monitoring as strengths. Equality of opportunity was graded satisfactory.

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