Why Ofsted Were Wrong About Brooks and Kirk
Way back in 2017, we received a visit from Ofsted. The result of that report was ‘Requires Improvement’. But don’t give up on us: 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. You can see the learner review results for yourself.
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’. 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”
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; 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.
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’.
Our team ensures that each individual learner’s progress is tracked on a regular basis. Motivating learners is one of our strong points. This also provides us with the opportunity to identify any areas for which learners may require support in.
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. They don’t 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”.
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 so 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.”
But wait, there’s more…
“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!
Brooks and Kirk Assessor Training
We’ve also received hundreds of reviews over the years and since the Ofsted report, on Trustpilot, Facebook and Google. Rest assured you will receive top quality, 100% supportive training from Brooks and Kirk.
Steve is a Chartered Manager and a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute.
He provides Educational Consultancy to the 19+ sector as well as being an Assessor, IQA, EPA and Digital Marketing Professional. When not doing any of these he finds time, every now and then, to write blogs and articles.