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In the News

Ofsted watch: Two grade crash to inadequate for independent training providers

Two of the three independent training provider full inspection reports published this week have resulted in a two grade crash to inadequate. And two other providers have lost their outstanding rating in another less-than-positive week for the FE and skills sector. Just one of the 11 full reports published between January 14 and 20, based on inspections carried out late 2016, resulted in a higher grade – while five stayed the same and five went down at least one grade. But after last week’s bad start, general FE colleges have had a breather as no inspection reports have been published this week. Ineffective safeguarding and poor achievement rates were among the issues that led to Bradford-based Bowling College plummeting from grade two to four in a report published today. Meanwhile, poor teaching, learning and assessment were among the concerns leading to Sheffield-based SYTG’s two grade tumble to inadequate in a report published January 19. City Lit, a community-based learning provider in central London, swapped its grade one – which it had held since 2011 – for a grade two overall in a report published January 19. And employer provider British Telecommunications also lost the grade one it had held since...

College forced to stop recruiting apprentices

A college hit with an ‘inadequate’ Ofsted rating won’t appeal against the resulting ban from running apprenticeships, but says it will continue recruiting learners right up to the last minute. The Skills Funding Agency started allowing bodies to apply to join the new register of apprenticeship training providers last October, but those with the lowest Ofsted rating for apprenticeships were banned from applying. This means that Epping Forest College, which was rated ‘inadequate’ across the board, including for its apprenticeships, in a report published on January 6, will be unable to run them from May. But unlike Bolton College, which appealed last autumn after receiving its own ‘inadequate’ rating for apprenticeships, EFC won’t be appealing. We are going to do whatever we can to address the inadequacies with apprenticeships identified The college’s recently appointed principal Saboohi Famili told FE Week: “We are not going to appeal. We are going to do whatever we can to address the inadequacies with apprenticeships identified, and aim to start running them again after we are next inspected – and the grade will hopefully improve.” Asked if the college planned to keep on recruiting new apprentices until the cut-off date on May 1, she confirmed:...

Priestley Sixth Form College leading race to academise

The first sixth form college set to convert to academy status has announced it aims to make the change this spring – and will save itself more than £250,000 a year in VAT. Priestley Sixth Form College says it has had strong local support for the decision, and has set the provisional conversion date for April 1. In its initial consolation, which ran in October and November last year, over 80 per cent of 79 respondents supported the dissolution of Priestley SFC before it transforms into an academy. Now the college has issued a new letter to parents and other stakeholders, calling for feedback on the next stage – converting and joining a new multi-academy trust called Challenge Academy. If its potential member schools all agree, the new MAT will also be something of an anomaly amongst other established trusts, as it plans to include a faith school, following the results of a fresh local consultation. Becoming a MAT will enable us to be more effective and cost effective, allowing us to invest more in teaching and learning for young people Sir Thomas Boteler Church of England High seems set to accompany Priestley College in joining the trust, alongside Penketh...

Winners from the National Apprenticeship Awards 2016 announced

Britain celebrated the best of its vocational education on Friday night, when the country’s top three apprentices and its six best employers were crowned the winners of the National Apprenticeship Awards. London’s Grosvenor House hosted a ceremony with the theme ‘Nation of Champions’, which showcased the success stories of individuals and employers. The victorious apprentices went through a tough process to make the finals, in which they had to demonstrate how they have benefited from their apprenticeship and detail their contribution to their employers’ business objectives. Charlotte Blowers, from oil and gas firm Exceed, won ‘intermediate apprentice of the year’, while Adam Sharp from nuclear decommissioning company Sellafield Ltd picked up the award for ‘advanced apprentice of the year’. Holly Broadhurst, who works for manufacturer J C Bamford Excavators Ltd, was named ‘higher or degree apprentice of the year’.  After these individual triumphs, six employers were then recognised for their commitment to apprenticeships at the 13th annual awards ceremony, which was once again run by the National Apprenticeship Service.  ‘Small employer of the year’ went to Ebsford Environmental Ltd, the ‘medium employer’ award was taken home by Troup Bywaters + Anders, and Mercedes-Benz UK won ‘best large employer’.  ‘Macro employer of the year’ was won by Mitie Group Plc, Craggs Energy Ltd was named as ‘best newcomer SME’, and the award for ‘newcomer large employer’ was snaffled by Bond Dickinson LLP. ...