Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Big plans, bright future

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Cabinet Decision: 4th September 2014
Title of Item/Report
Tees Achieve Ofsted Report and Future Plans
Record of the Decision
Consideration was given to a report that summarised the findings of the Ofsted inspection of Tees Achieve, which was the Stockton Borough Council Service that delivered learning and skills, and also provided an indication of plans for the future direction of travel for Tees Achieve.

Stockton Borough Council Service Tees Achieve provided a range of learning and skills opportunities including apprenticeships, traineeships and study programmes for young people, classroom based learning for adults aged 19+ and community learning. Courses offered included accredited programmes, leading to improved employability prospects and part-time non-accredited courses which had a positive impact on personal and social development as well as potential enterprise opportunities for some learners.

Tees Achieve were previously inspected in May 2012 and were graded 3 (Satisfactory) overall. Following the introduction of a revised Ofsted Common Inspection Framework in September 2012 the satisfactory outcome was removed and grade 3 was now ‘in need of improvement’. All satisfactory providers were scheduled for a further inspection during the 2013/14 academic year.

Tees Achieve were most recently inspected by Ofsted in June 2014. The inspection covered three broad categories:-

• Outcomes for learners - graded 2 (Good)
• Quality of teaching, learning and assessment - graded 2 (Good)
• Effectiveness of leadership and management - grade 2 (Good)
The grades combined give the overall effectiveness score, which was also graded 2 (Good). The sub-grades for the areas inspected (Apprenticeships, Employability, Study Programmes and ICT) were all graded 2 (Good), with Community Learning graded 1 (Outstanding).

The summary of findings which led to the ‘good’ classification is as follows:-

• A good proportion of learners progress to employment
• Significant improvements in personal, social and economic well-being for learners
• Good teaching, learning and assessment
• Exceptionally good additional learning support for individual learners
• Strong focus on improvement and staff development since the last inspection
• Good partnership working

The report highlighted the following areas that Tees Achieve need to do to improve further and achieve ‘outstanding’ classification:-

• Improve outcomes for learners on longer courses, including success rates for apprentices within the planned time
• Increase the proportion of lessons that are outstanding
• Recruit more learners from communities with higher levels of deprivation and encourage them to progress to higher-level and accredited courses.

The full Ofsted report was attached to the report and could also be found on the Ofsted website.

Following the inspection, officers were reviewing the focus of the organisation to reflect the skills gaps, barriers to work and the need for progression.

Whilst reviewing the service strengths and future delivery, officers would also take the opportunity to investigate the effectiveness of the branding to ensure it represented the service that was delivered, and was clearly associated as a SBC service.

Tees Achieve would capitalise on its strength in community learning to engage with more learners from the more disadvantaged areas of the Borough who would not otherwise attend a college. Closer working with Stockton Riverside College, who were also graded 2 (Good) by Ofsted in 2014, had been developed to secure clear progression routes for learners when they were ready to move on.

To improve outcomes for learners on long courses, including apprenticeships, systems to closely monitor the progress of learners had been introduced. Actions to rectify slow progress or early leavers were implemented in a timely fashion.

Quality of teaching, learning and assessment was closely monitored with all teaching staff observed at least once a year with timely re-observations where grades were less than ‘good’. A more robust observation process introduced in 2013/14 led to an initial drop in the grade profile but this had improved to more than 80% of grades being good or better. The system had led to better identification of training needs. The focus for 2014/15 was to support tutors who were graded ‘good’ to become ‘outstanding’.

Tees Achieve had segregated its learners into two main markets. For many learners, engaging in community learning promotes their physical and mental well-being and this was their primary aim for attendance. For many other learners, they engaged in learning to eventually hope to become economically active by learning skills and competencies that may empower them to enter the jobs market or start a small business.

Maths, English and IT would form the foundation stones of the core curriculum. Courses to build skills and develop social well-being would meet the requirements of the two target markets.

Tees Achieve would continue to offer employability courses. In 2012-2013 36% of learners entered employment following employability training. From September 2014 employability learners would be offered enterprise training to awaken them to the idea of enterprise, to assess their skills and attributes and to signpost to specialist provision if learners decide to take a step towards starting a business.

Using information from the Local Economic Assessment, and where Labour Market Information indicated a need, Tees Achieve would respond or consider commissioning to other approved providers who had the skills or specialist facilities to deliver. Providers with links to employers would be sought to improve progression routes into employment, particularly for 16-18 apprenticeships and 16-18 traineeships where there were growth opportunities and were open to funding increases. Tees Achieve would follow formal procurement procedures to commission delivery.


1. The successful outcome of the June 2014 Tees Achieve Ofsted Inspection in securing Grade 2 (Good) overall with Grade 1 (Outstanding) for Community Learning be noted.

2. The plans, set out in paragraphs 7 - 15 for the future direction of travel for Tees Achieve be endorsed.
Reasons for the Decision
To ensure that Cabinet is aware of the successful Ofsted inspection of Tees Achieve and supports the future plans to enable the service to continue to improve.
Alternative Options Considered and Rejected
Declared (Cabinet Member) Conflicts of Interest
Details of any Dispensations
Date and Time by which Call In must be executed
Midnight on Friday, 12th September 2014

Date of Publication: 08 September 2014

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