From education to employment

Ofsted round-up

This week: Good grades for Pearson Education

Pearson PLC, Harlow
Summary of grades awarded:
Effectiveness of provision       Good: Grade 2
Capacity to improve               Good: Grade 2
Achievement and standards    Outstanding: Grade 1
Quality of provision                Good: Grade 2
Leadership and management Good: Grade 2
Equality of opportunity           Contributory grade: Good: Grade 2
Sector subject areas:
Retail and commercial enterprise       Good: Grade 2
Customer service                                Good: Grade 2
Pearson PLC (Pearson) is part of the multi-national Pearson Education group, which employs over 10,000 people in 40 countries. The company delivers work-based learning to employees within the group at two training facilities; Pearson VUE in Salford and the Pearson distribution centre in Rugby. There are currently 75 learners  on government funded programmes, 45 apprentices at Pearson VUE and 30 apprentices at Pearson distribution.
Pearson, which has no inspection history, was found to have good effectiveness of provision and a good capacity to improve. Ofsted agreed with the self-assessment that achievement and standards was a key strength for the provider. The report noted that in 2006/07 the, “overall success rate was 93% and the timely success rate was
86%.” The, “good acquisition of skills and knowledge,” was also listed as a strength.
Teaching and learning were good and assessment was described as satisfactory. Inspectors did criticise training sessions for lacking different teaching methods to suit the needs of different learners. This was the only area for improvement they highlighted. The advice, guidance and support available to learners were deemed very good.
Several strengths were identified relating to leadership and management. These included good strategic direction, an effective partnership with the subcontractor (Elmfield training company), and very effective quality improvement arrangements. The strategies used to promote equality were also seen to be good.
Training and Recruitment Partnership, Morden
Summary of grades awarded:
Effectiveness of provision       Satisfactory: Grade 3
Capacity to improve               Satisfactory: Grade 3
Achievement and standards    Satisfactory: Grade 3
Quality of provision                Satisfactory: Grade 3
Leadership and management Satisfactory: Grade 3
Equality of opportunity           Contributory grade: Satisfactory: Grade 3
Sector subject area:
Construction, planning and the built environment     Inadequate: Grade 4
Business, administration and law                               Good: Grade 2
Training & Recruitment Partnership Ltd (TRP) was formed in 1998, taking over from a previous training consortium. The company is funded by London South LSC to provide apprenticeships, advanced apprenticeships, NVQs and Train to Gain courses to learners from south London and south-east England. At the time of inspection, there were 29 learners in construction, 37 in engineering, 34 in business administration and 24 in care subject areas. The company uses 11 local FE colleges to provide training.
Ofsted thought that the overall effectiveness of provision at TRP was satisfactory. Achievement and standards were graded as satisfactory, but the report did state that: “Overall success rates are good.” The “very good” success rates for business administration and engineering meant they were highlighted as a key strength, as was the development of workplace skills. The report also noted that learners on Train to Gain programmes were making very good progress.
Inspectors said that teaching and learning was, “effective, and learners satisfactorily gain their technical certificates and key skills.” However, they suggested that provision in construction should be an area for improvement because training at college was, “not linked well to on-the-job assessments.” Initial assessment of learners was satisfactory, and most assessment was generally planned effectively.
Leadership and management were judged to be satisfactory. Ofsted wanted the company to improve learners’ understanding of equality of opportunity; to make better use of data to improve provision, and ensure that quality improvement arrangement were complete. They also noted that good staff development and effective links with employers were strengths for the provider.
Capel Manor College, Enfield
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           Satisfactory: Contributory Grade 3
Capel Manor College is a specialist land-based college. The main campus is set in an estate and gardens (open to the public) in the London Borough of Enfield. Provision also takes place at five other centres across London. The college offers apprenticeships, HNDs and foundation degrees in areas including horticulture, landscaping, garden design, floristry, flower arranging, balloon display, countryside studies, arboriculture, animal care and saddlery. In 2006/07, there were 1,076 full-time students, of whom 76% were adult learners.
Ofsted said overall effectiveness at Capel Manor was good and the capacity to improve was satisfactory. They graded achievement and standards as good adding that success rates for adult learners had been a particular strength, and most courses had shown an upward trend. However, Ofsted also noted a key improvement would be to raise the success rates for students aged 16 to 18 at level 3, which, “remain stubbornly below [the] national average.” Attendance and punctuality were good, and retention was found to have improved.
Teaching and learning are good and inspectors reported that teachers were, “particularly successful at linking practical and theory teaching,” and took care to, “ensure that students [were] not taught conflicting techniques by different teachers.” The inspectors wanted to see better use of information learning technology (ILT) and more use of key skills in lessons. They praised garden design and floristry for having “particularly good” teaching and excellent resources.
Leadership and management were judged to be good. Ofsted listed strong strategic direction, committed governors and good educational and social inclusion among the college’s key strengths. They felt the college should look to make improvements regarding the precision of self-assessment, action planning and target-setting.
The College of Richard Collyer, Horsham
Summary of grades awarded:
Effectiveness of provision       Outstanding: Grade 1
Capacity to improve               Outstanding: Grade 1
Achievement and standards    Good: Grade 2
Quality of provision                Outstanding: Grade 1
Leadership and management Outstanding: Grade 1
Equality of opportunity           Good: contributory grade 2
The College of Richard Collyer is a sixth form college for students aged between 16 and 18 studying AS and A level subjects, though a small number of vocational qualifications at levels 2 and 3 are also offered. There are approximately 1,400 full-time students. The college is a partner in a Centre of Vocational Excellence (CoVE) in sport.
The college received a mostly outstanding report from Ofsted. Achievement and standards were graded as good with “very high success rates” on advanced courses highlighted as a key strength. Inspectors thought there was still some room for improvement because student’s performance in a few subjects had been “disappointing”. The standard of work for most subjects was described as good.
Teaching and learning was classed as outstanding and listed as a strength, along with pastoral support and enrichment activities for students. Inspectors said: “Teachers are both passionate and knowledgeable about their subjects, and transmit their enthusiasm effectively to students.” They noted that many lessons included a range of learning activities, good resources, and made good use of ILT. The lesson observation scheme and staff development were seen to be effective.
Ofsted graded leadership and management as outstanding. They were particularly pleased with the college’s “rigorous” self-assessment and said work with employers and local partner schools was very good. Ofsted suggested the college should try to improve the progress students made in relation to their prior attainment. Otherwise, they reported accommodation, financial management and promotion of equality as very good.
Paul Malbon

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