From education to employment

Ofsted round-up – This week: Van Hee Transport and Addison Lee inspections

Van Hee Transport Limited, Gateshead


Summary of grades awarded:

Effectiveness of provision Satisfactory: Grade3

Capacity to improve Good: Grade 2

Achievement and standards Good: Grade2

Quality of provision Satisfactory: Grade 3

Leadership and management Satisfactory: Grade 3

Equality of opportunity Contributory grade: Satisfactory: Grade 3

Sector subject areas:

Transportation operations and maintenance Good: Grade 2

Customer service Satisfactory: Grade 3


Van Hee Transport Limited (VHTL) started in 1964 as a company specialising in transportation and warehousing services based in Felling, Gateshead. The company has offered training within the transport sector since 1985 and began offering government-funded training in 1989. In 2006, the company made a strategic decision to concentrate on its training function and reduced the operational transport and warehousing operation to a minimum. VHTL currently contracts with the Tyne and Wear Learning Skills Council (LSC) for Train to Gain, adult apprenticeships and some learndirect provision.

Ofsted found the overall effectiveness of VHTL’s provision to be satisfactory, with a good capacity to improve. Train to Gain success rates have significantly improved to 97% across the organisation during a period of substantial growth in learner numbers and the main area of learning has improved from satisfactory to good provision. Ofsted noted that VHTL has taken good steps to promote improvement since the previous inspection in 2003. It has either addressed or improved most of the weaknesses identified at the previous inspection and consolidated most of the strengths.

The self-assessment process satisfactorily promotes continuous improvement. VHTL suitably consults staff during the preparation of the report and also employers and learners through the use of targeted questionnaires at key stages in the learning process. The self-assessment report is broadly evaluative and critical. However, judgements within the report are not always supported by evidence and the report did not identify all the areas for improvement. Key strengths include high success rates, good development of workplace skills, very effective management of change and good partnership arrangements.

Achievements and standards are rated as good. The self-assessment report identified this. Overall success rates on Train to Gain programmes are consistently high, improving from 91% in 2006/07 to 97% in 2008/09. Timely success rates are also high at 92% in 2008/09. Progression into employment is good for unemployed learners. Most apprentices currently on the programme are making satisfactory progress but it is too early to judge achievements.


Addison Lee PLC, London


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:

Motor vehicle Good: Grade 2


Addison Lee PLC is one of Europe’s largest private hire companies. It has a training department (the college), funded by the London Central LSC, and provides training for employed and self-employed drivers who wish to take a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) at Level 2 in road passenger vehicle driving (RPVD). The college has been funded by the LSC through a Train to Gain contract since February 2008. To date, 699 learners have undertaken to programme with 73 currently in learning.

Ofsted found the effectiveness of the provision to be good. Addison Lee PLC has shown a good capacity to improve and the very high success rates of the first few months of operation in 2007/08 have been maintained in the first full year of 2008/09. Learners produce high standards of work and develop good knowledge and skills. Inspectors noted that staff use learners’ feedback well to improve the provision.

The self-assessment process involves staff, usefully captures the learners’ journey, and leads to a broadly accurate but overly descriptive self-assessment report. The recent and effective quality improvement practice is also in the process of being documented into college procedures. Key strengths include very high success rates, good development of learners’ knowledge and skills, good teaching and learning, highly effective support to enable learners to complete the programme successfully and good strategic leadership.

Achievements and standards are good with overall success rates being very high. In 2007/08, the overall success rate was 99.3%, compared with the national average of 71.7%. In 2008/09, 594 learners successfully completed the programme, with an overall success rate of 99.4%. Attendance is also very high. All learners were found to achieve high standards regardless of their background.

Natalie Hailes


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