From education to employment

Every week FE News will bring a summary of the recent OFSTED work-based learning inspections.

This week: the Army leads the pack while one prison demonstrates how not to run a learning programme.

TNG Network

Overall effectiveness: Grade 3 (Satisfactory)

Capacity to improve: Grade 3

Achievement and standards: Grade 3

Quality of provision: Grade 3

Leadership and management: Grade 3

Equality of opportunity: Grade 3

Based in Enfield, TNG Ltd (TNG) received satisfactory marks across the board during its latest inspection.

Operating in areas of east London and the Midlands where there are high numbers of people from minority groups, TNG holds contracts across the Northwest of England, the Midlands, London and the Southeast.

The company provides apprenticeship and advanced apprenticeships training, Train to Gain and programme-led apprenticeship programmes in health public services and care, apprenticeships in business administration and customer service, and Entry to Employment (E2E).

Ofsted’s inspection found that although many actions have been taken during the year, TNG has made slow progress in improving since its previous inspection.

Ofsted noted that overall apprenticeship success rates have continued to improve over the last three years but are still poor. Apprenticeship success rates in 2005-06 were 28%. Provisional in-year data for 2006-07 indicates some improvement.

Success rates for Train to Gain programmes, which represent 70% of the company’s learners, are good. Rates improved from 76% in 2005-06 to 91% in 2006-07. Timely success rates are satisfactory, rising from 46% in 2005- 06 to 74% in 2006-07.

Ofsted concluded that while TNG has had good success rates on Train to Gain and makes very effective use of employers” on-the-job training, that the company needs to focus on quality improvement and its success rates for apprenticeships.

HMP Rye Hill

Overall Effectiveness: Grade 4 (Inadequate)

Capacity to improve: Grade 4

Achievement and standards: Grade 4

Employability training: Grade 4

Literacy, numeracy and ESOL: Grade 4

Personal development and social integration: Grade 3 (Satisfactory)

Quality of provision: Grade 4

Employability training: Grade 4

Literacy, numeracy and ESOL: Grade 4

Personal development and social integration: Grade 3

Leadership and management: Grade 4

Equality of opportunity: Grade 4

HMP Rye Hill, a private contracted Category B training prison situated on the border of Northamptonshire and Warwickshire received the worst marks of the week, marked as inadequate by Ofsted.

Education at HMP Rye Hill is provided by City College Manchester (CCM) through a private contracting arrangement and includes provision for information, advice and guidance, and initial literacy and numeracy testing. CCM also has responsibility for initiating the individual learning plans at induction.

Ofsted found that the learning and skills provision is in a poor position to make improvements. Development planning for improvement is ineffective, as is the self-assessment process. Very few of the failings identified in previous inspection reports have been remedied. The prisons approach to quality improvement is ineffective.

While there are a good range of opportunities for the development of personal and social skills, the prison’s Skills for life strategy and its learning strategies are poor. The prison offers no qualifications and many prisoners find they cannot continue training at Rye Hill begun at other facilities.

Information, advice and guidance for resettlement and support for employment are very weak. Learners are not provided with a pre-release course and there are no links with external support or jobsearch agencies. Learning plans are sparse with little information about learners” progress.

Chilwell Army Learning Centre

Overall effectiveness: Grade 2 (Good)

Capacity to improve: Grade 2

Achievement and standards: Grade 2

Quality of provision: Grade 2

Leadership and management: Grade 2

Equality of opportunity: Grade 2

Chilwell Army Learning Centre (ALC) is one of the four ALCs that are part of the Army Education Centre. It operates within the Chilwell station in Eastern England.

The best inspection of the week, Ofsted noted that success rates are outstanding in business and management for a small number of learners. These are 100% against the national average of 40%. Success rates for literacy and numeracy were also good. These are 10% above the national and for the Army average rates. A significant number of learners have achieved more than two qualifications.

Though largely positive, Ofsted pointed out that for some learners; ALCs initial assessment is not thorough enough to develop an effective learning plan. Staff do not fully explore the full range of needs. Some learners have other support needs such as dyslexia or poor literacy and numeracy which are not identified early enough

Ofsted’s report concluded: “The vast majority of the learners have a poor record of achievement at schools but they make good progress to gain qualifications. In the process they improve their skills to meet the Army’s strategic objectives as well as enhance their job prospects when they eventually leave the Army. Several of the learners have gone onto higher education or business management courses.”

Matthew Sharp

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