From education to employment

Ofsted round-up – This week: A review of providers from across the country

Talent Training, Newcastle


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 Satisfactory: Grade 3

Leadership and management Good: Grade 2

Equality of opportunity Contributory grade: Satisfactory: Grade 3

Sector subject areas:

Engineering and manufacturing technologies Good: Grade 2

Retail and commercial enterprise Satisfactory: Grade 3

Preparation for life and work Satisfactory: Grade 3

Business, administration and law Good: Grade 2


Limited liability partnership based in Newcastle upon Tyne, Talent Training LLP has been in existence since April 2007. Formerly a company that was founded in 2001, it holds a contract with the Tyne and Wear LSC to provide National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) in the workplace through Train to Gain programmes. Talent Training offers NVQ training throughout England and in some parts of Scotland as part of an agreed contract based in England. Currently 2,745 learners are on Train to Gain programmes.

Ofsted has found that the overall effectiveness of the provision is good and that achievement and standards are also good. Talent Training has been found to have a good capacity to improve as directors and senior managers provide a good strategic direction that is helping to develop and improve the provision effectively. Employers were found to value the tangible benefits training has brought to their organisations, including improved productivity.

Ofsted has found that the company has accurately identified that in some sector subject areas the quality procedures have yet to be established to improve performance and better achieve the company’s strategic vision and objectives. The self-assessment report and subsequent updated position statement are critical, evaluative and broadly accurate. Key strengths include, high overall success rates, good development of learners’ workplace skills and confidence, very flexible arrangement for assessment, well planned and responsive provision to meet employers’ needs, good strategic planning to manage company growth, strong and dynamic leadership and very effective work with employers to bring about business improvement.

Achievement and standards are good with overall success rates in 2007/08 being high at 87% and the timely success rate is satisfactory at 68%. Skills for Life and business improvement techniques programmes were only introduced in 2008/09 and it is too early to evaluate success rates. Ofsted has found that learners’ gains in knowledge, understanding and confidence are good.


Interactive Development Education Ltd, Newcastle


Summary of grades awarded:

Effectiveness of provision Satisfactory: Grade3

Capacity to improve Satisfactory: Grade3

Achievement and standards Satisfactory: Grade3

Quality of provision Satisfactory: Grade3

Leadership and management Good: Grade2

Equality of opportunity Contributory grade: Satisfactory: Grade 3

Sector subject area:

Health and social care Satisfactory: Grade 3


Interactive Development (ID) is a not-for-profit company delivering training in Newcastle and the surrounding areas, in health and social care, Skills for Life and preparation for life and work. Two directors own and run ID and the organisation has two operating divisions: Training and development for health and social care workers, and education services for learners following foundation programmes. ID holds a Train to Gain contract with Tyne and Wear LSC and a subcontract with Allied Health Care.

Ofsted has found that the quality of provision is satisfactory and that assessments of practice are good and planning for assessments is flexible. ID is particularly effective in meeting learners’ and employers’ needs, as information, advice and guidance for learners are good. Ofsted has found that strategic leadership of the company is strong, with a clear vision to meet the needs of local employers. ID has been found to have good capacity to improve with the directors and staff having a strong commitment to ensure the continuous improvement of the quality of the provision. Good use is made of regular audits to identify improvements and actions to resolve issues are swift.

ID’s self-assessment process was found to be relatively inclusive, using feedback from learners and employers. Realistic and appropriate strengths and areas for improvement are identified in the development plan, which is a reasonably accurate picture of the organisation. However, Ofsted has found that the overall self-assessment report lacks focus and does not link well to the key questions in the common inspection framework. Key strengths include high success rates on level 3 programmes, Skills for Life and the subcontracted provision, particularly effective links with external providers, strong focus on information, advice and guidance, strong strategic leadership.

Achievement and standards are satisfactory, something that was not identified in the self-assessment report. On the directly contracted provision, success rates for level 3 health and social care were high. In 2007/08 and the first seven months of 2008/09, they were 100%. At level 2, success rates are satisfactory. In 2007/08 they were 68%, improving to 82% in the first seven months of 2008/09. Success rates on the subcontracted provision and Skills for Life programmes are high, at 97% and 100% in the first six months of delivery.


Learning Links (Southern) Limited, Portsmouth


Summary of grades awarded:

Effectiveness of provision Satisfactory: Grade 3

Capacity to improve Good: Grade 2

Achievement and standards Satisfactory: Grade 3

Quality of provision: Good: Grade 2

Leadership and management Satisfactory: Grade 3

Equality of opportunity Contributory grade: Satisfactory: Grade 3

Sector subject areas:

Health, public services and care Satisfactory: Grade 3

Preparation for life and work Good: Grade 2


Learning Links (Southern)Limited (Learning Links) is a registered education charity based in Portsmouth and involved in a wide range of projects and initiatives in Portsmouth, Hampshire, The Isle of White and parts of Sussex. The organisation formed in 1997 and was originally known as Portsea Community Training Initiative. Learning Links contracts with Hampshire and Isle of White Learning and Skills Council (LSC) to provide Train to Gain programmes in advice and guidance and community development and Skills for Life.

Ofsted found that leadership and management are satisfactory with clear strategies established and particularly effective working relationships exist with partner organisations. Systems for managing different programmes are developing, however, the analysis and use of data is currently inadequate. Ofsted has found that Learning Links has demonstrated that is has good capacity to improve and has made good progress in developing and improving programmes to meet local needs during a period of significant growth and restructure. Projects and contracts are well managed and targets are achieved, often in challenging timescales.

The self-assessment process was found to be good as the process has recently been improved and is now more inclusive and systematic. A new quality improvement plan has been produced and the self-assessment report is accurate and identifies most of the key strengths and areas for improvement found by inspectors. Key strengths include good development of personal skills and confidence, very effective and targeted development of projects and courses to meet individual and community needs, good support and guidance to progress learners, strong strategic direction and planning and very good partnership arrangements.

Ofsted has found that success rates on Train to Gain programmes are low at 42% for the first five months of 2008/09. No learners achieved their qualification in the time originally planned. This was recognised by learning Links and appropriate action has been taken to rectify the problems encountered with the first groups of learners.

Natalie Hailes

Related Articles