So it’s probably time to address the Ofsted report we swept aside last year. Some of you may have seen it, some of you may not. Those of you who have seen it will know exactly what we’re talking about here. On the surface, it doesn’t look great. But when you take a more thorough look into their findings, you actually find that it’s extremely positive. Allow us to explain…
Ofsted Learner View Results
Now, whilst Ofsted’s “official” report graded us at ‘Requires Improvement’ level, our learners that responded to Ofsted’s survey had a very different opinion to express. Quite the opposite in fact. The Learner View Results are nowhere near as easy to access as the Ofsted Report itself for whatever reason… but regardless, we were really happy with the results. We did publish the Learner Review findings at the time but we’d hate for you to have missed out. So, here they are again!
That’s right – even though Ofsted says we ‘require improvement’, 100% of our learners would recommend us to a friend!
Why Do We ‘Require Improvement’?
Despite what our learners have to say about us, Ofsted did unfortunately report us as ‘Requires Improvement’. Now, there are some points on the Key Findings of the Ofsted report that we would like to address;
Who likes deadlines anyway?
“The proportion of learners who achieve their main learning aims and complete them within the planned timescale is low”
First of all, one of the most common reasons why learners choose Brooks and Kirk for their assessor training is because we don’t impose start and end dates. Our learners love the flexibility of the way our courses run, and how they can come and go from doing their work as they please. We don’t agree with unnecessary time constraints. There are a lot of instances where applying time constraints to a course can unfairly restrict people from furthering their education. Therefore, there isn’t a ‘planned timescale’ for learners to achieve their main learning aims within. Hence, the ‘requires improvement’ grade here.
The only time we were ever forced to impose a deadline was when we discontinued the offering of Advanced Learning Loans. So, learners that had funded their courses using the learner loan facility, were told they must complete by a certain date; this was no choice of our own and affected learners understood this. Since then, we absolutely intend to stay free of deadlines and as flexible as possible.
Proactive Support instead of Reactive
“Until recently, assessors have not focused sufficiently on ensuring that learners make good progress towards their main qualification aim”;
“Assessors do not set clear targets for learners’ personal and vocational skills development”;
“Managers do not make sufficient analysis and use of available data to identify trends in performance by all groups of learners and plan improvements to the provision”.
All of the above comments have the same reasoning behind them; they all relate to our time constraints and the way in which we offered support.
Obviously, it’s hard to measure the achievement rates for roll-on roll-off courses. This means that providing our learners don’t withdraw themselves, they will always complete their course. But Ofsted needed to see strict start dates, end dates and completion rates. This simply wasn’t possible – and so, ‘Required Improvement’.
Before taking on a new member of staff, we always encouraged our learners to take advantage of the unlimited tutor support that we offer. We appreciated however, that some learners were nervous about making the first call. So, we grew the Brooks and Kirk team.
Although we had already changed the way we offered support prior to the inspection, this wasn’t taken into account. The Faculty Administrator had only been with us a few months at that time. Unfortunately, this wasn’t long enough for Ofsted to measure the value of her role within Brooks and Kirk. It really is as simple as that.
Our Faculty Administrator, Sharon ensures that each individual learner’s progress is tracked on a regular basis. She loves to talk. In fact, we can’t keep her off the phones! So motivating learners is one of her strong points. This also provides her with the opportunity to identify any areas for which learners may require support in. If you’re a current learner, then I’m sure you will have had the pleasure of chatting with Sharon already.
Finally, it’s also worth noting; many of our learners are completing the CAVA to start a new career. More often than not, they are also working through their qualification whilst in full-time employment. Therefore, they start with the understanding that they have as long as they want to complete the course and do not want to be pestered about logging in and doing some work.
Meanwhile, on the strengths side of the Ofsted report, we actually received some wonderful comments from them…
“Managers offer a good range of qualifications to all learners that meet local, regional and national needs and attract adults into learning”.
“Learners enjoy their courses and benefit from participation in learning, such as progress into employment or promotion”.
“Many learners achieve valuable additional qualifications to enhance their career prospects”.
“Training for staff is well planned. Assessors receive good training and support to improve their practice”.
So it’s not ALL bad, ay?
Our Learner’s Comments
There was another section on the Learner View Report that we didn’t mention earlier. This section was where learners could leave anonymous comments on Brooks and Kirk overall. There were sooooo many comments, but we’ve handpicked a few for you to have a look at. Here’s what some of them said:
All staff that I have dealt with have been extremely helpful, respectful, efficient and professional.
Although they ‘teach’ online (which was what I wanted as this gives me the flexibility to study whenever I choose) I still felt they gave the ‘personal’ touch often lacking on online courses. I also felt they cared about my progress and was even phoned on a few occasions when it seemed I was unclear about some of the feedback I received from them.
Convenient as I was able to work when I could. I then got feedback quickly and could act on this. It was clear what I had to do from my assignments and I had hints of places to look for the answers if I was unsure.
Enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff who are able to reply to any query quickly. I liked the fact that my assessed work was always returned with constructive feedback which was worded in a positive way and always directed me to resources which enabled me to develop my research skills to further my development. I was always encouraged to challenge my own learning which was highly beneficial to me.
Flexibility to complete the course whilst working full time.
It fits around my personal circumstances, I receive alerts through my email (phone) and can access it anywhere I need where internet is accessible.
It’s very flexible, and encourages you to set your own pace, which removes unnecessary stress.
The understanding of learners circumstances that might hinder their studies and the support the assessors give is unbelievable.
It doesn’t sound like a learning provider that ‘Requires Improvement’ if you ask us.
Anyhow, even if Ofsted weren’t big on the compliments, our Learners certainly were. And that’s what counts the most. If you want, you can take a look at the whole Learner View Results document and see all of the comments for yourself!