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'Reasonable progress' made from Inspire Education Group, Ofsted says

Ofsted are continuing to visit schools across the country, though it remains monitoring visits while school life is still different compared to life before the pandemic.
Colleges 1
Rachel Nicholls, IEG Deputy CEO and Principal of Peterborough College, (left), and Janet Meenaghan, IEG CEO and Principal of Stamford College, (right), celebrating the merger.

In its second visit since it opened, Inspire Education Group (IEG) welcomed Ofsted on April 14, with the report being delivered today, June 3. 

IEG is a merger of Peterborough Regional College and New College Stamford, with the two merging together on August 1, 2020, rebranding as IEG.

Ofsted first did an "interim visit" of IEG in November last year, with a successful overview on an appropriate curriculum, meeting needs and general safety; their second visit is a monitoring visit, with a focus on safeguarding arrangements, has noted that the IEG has made "reasonable progress".

In the report, Penny Fawcus, the lead inspector, noted that although there are effective working relationships between the leaders and managers and the subcontractor partners, safeguarding reporting does not always include the subcontracted partners.

As a result, the governors do not have sufficient oversight of the safeguarding arrangements - though it was noted that the subcontractor partners appreciate the advantages of working with the college and have adopted the colleges safeguarding policies and practices. 

Ms Fawcus wrote: "Managers identify safeguarding concerns through monthly performance meetings and act swiftly to support learners. However, leaders have not yet established consistent good practice across the college.

"For example, managers’ tracking and reporting of learners’ progress differs across the college. In the best case, they record a holistic view of progress that includes learners’ wellbeing and personal circumstances. In contrast, some tracking by managers only includes progress against qualification achievement."

She added: "The college’s designated safeguarding leads communicate effectively with their partners and frequently review partner safeguarding policies and practices.

"Partner staff benefit from the expertise, training and support of the college’s safeguarding leads. Consequently, tutors identify and refer safeguarding concerns they have about their learners." 

It was recognised that learners studying at both colleges have a good understanding on how to stay safe online, look after their mental health and make good use of college initiatives. 

IEG merged last year and the group became responsible for 1,250 staff, 8,500 Further Education students, 800 Higher Education students and 1,400 apprentices.