Ofsted Report

Forward2Employment Ltd – Monitoring visit report

Unique reference number: 147315

Name of lead inspector: Emma Leavey, Her Majesty’s Inspector

Inspection date(s): 13 and 14 July 2022

Type of provider: Independent specialist college

Address: The Historic Dockyard, Chatham, ME4 4TZ

Monitoring visit: main findings

Context and focus of visit

From autumn 2019, Ofsted undertook to carry out monitoring visits to independent specialist colleges newly Education and Skills Funding Agency-funded from August 2018 onwards. This monitoring visit was undertaken as part of those arrangements and as outlined in the ‘Further education and skills inspection handbook’, especially the sections entitled ‘Monitoring visits’ and ‘Monitoring visits to providers that are newly directly publicly funded’. The focus of these visits is on the themes set out below.

Established in 2019, Forward2Employment (F2E) is an independent specialist college. It is linked to a multi-academy trust, Fortis Trust. F2E provides supported internships for young people aged 16 to 24, which includes qualifications in work skills, English and mathematics and a programme to develop life skills. At the time of the visit, there were 17 learners enrolled on the internships. Learners have moderate learning difficulties and/or disabilities such as autism spectrum condition and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Learners spend four days per week at the workplace and attend the college one day per week.

Themes

How much progress have leaders and managers made in designing and delivering relevant learning programmes that are clearly defined and tailored to suit the individual needs of learners? Reasonable progress

Leaders have worked closely with the local authority to develop a broad and developmental curriculum that prepares learners for paid employment and independence in adulthood. Leaders work well with learners, their previous educational settings, and parents/carers, ensuring that the supported internship programme meets their needs.

Leaders have partnerships with a wide range of employers, so that learners have opportunities to gain work experience in roles that meet their interests and aspirations. Leaders and staff support employers well to understand the needs of learners and how to support them while at work. Employers and job coaches meet regularly to review learners’ progress. They use this information to plan and provide meaningful ongoing learning and work-related activities.

Leaders have developed suitable arrangements for governance. Although these arrangements are in the early stages, leaders benefit from discussions and actions agreed that directly impact on the quality of the provision. For example, leaders have agreed to engage with a wider range of employers, so that learners have opportunities to develop their skills in more varied industries. However, it is too early to see the long-term impact of these arrangements on the quality of education.

Leaders recognise that their current quality assurance and improvement procedures have been very focused on the impact of the curriculum, based on learners’ outcomes in qualifications and their success in gaining paid employment. Although leaders use this information to plan ongoing learning activities, they do not systematically identify strengths and weaknesses regularly. As a result, improvement actions are not specific enough or achieved within a reasonable time frame.

 

How much progress have leaders and managers made to ensure that learners benefit from high- quality learning programmes that develop independence, communication and skills and help them to achieve their personal and/or work- related goals? Reasonable

Teachers and job coaches are highly experienced and sufficiently qualified to support learners with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). Leaders provide useful training for staff, which enhances their skills, such as work coach and curriculum specific training. All staff benefit from training breaking instructions down into manageable pieces to help learners access work and learning.

Teachers and job coaches deliver the curriculum in an effective order, so that learners are ready for their work placements. For example, learners benefit from activities at the beginning of the internship which prepare them for work, such as health and safety, travel training and learning professional behaviours. Throughout the time at the college, learners benefit from a fulsome careers information, advice and guidance curriculum to help them to consider their opportunities, raise their aspirations and prepare them for their next steps. For example, learners are supported to write job applications, practise interview techniques, recognise how to present themselves appropriately and look for possible opportunities. Consequently, many learners have recently been successful in applying for paid employment.

Staff use assessment effectively to identify learners’ progress at work and in their qualifications. They provide useful verbal and written feedback to help learners to improve their work. As a result, learners make swift progress, achieve their qualifications and most gain paid employment. Staff and employers continually review learners’ progress and plan ongoing activities to develop their skills further. However, staff do not track the small steps that learners need to take to achieve their long-term learning goals effectively. For example, learners’ progress is assessed on their achievement of goals, such as ‘prepare for a work placement’. They do not identify the steps learners will need to achieve or track the small steps towards achieving these goals.

 

How much progress have leaders and managers made in ensuring that effective safeguarding arrangements are in place? Reasonable progress

Leaders have ensured that the safeguarding team are suitably qualified and experienced to keep learners safe. They have established appropriate and clear policies and processes, which staff follow. The team work collaboratively with the local authority to understand the general threats within the area and communicate these to staff. They ensure that all staff are suitably trained.

Leaders use effective processes to ensure that learners are safe while at work, such as ensuring that employers have appropriate risk assessments and health and safety policies in place. However, they do not check that all employers understand their roles in keeping learners safe. Employers’ knowledge of the risks to learners’ safety and the signs of any issues is inconsistent.

Learners feel safe while in learning and at work. They know how to keep safe online and when using social media. Learners know to report any concerns about their safety to their employer, parent and/or carer or job coach.

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