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Celebrating a Successful Interim Ofsted Visit

22 Jan 2021

With routine inspections paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ofsted is completing interim visits to further education and skills providers to assess whether they’re meeting the needs of learners and apprentices during this difficult period.

In December 2020 Ofsted inspectors paid an interim visit to The Growth Company, and the Education and Skills team were delighted to be able to showcase the support they’ve provided throughout the pandemic. Through speaking remotely to leaders, staff, learners and apprentices Ofsted inspectors discovered that during the COVID-19 pandemic the Growth Company had provided:

  • Training on how to access and make the best use of online learning
  • Extra support for more vulnerable learners, those with special educational needs and/or disabilities
  • Training on how to work and learn safely online
  • Help to learners and apprentices on resilience and adaptability to new ways of working

The inspector’s report detailed how 2,964 learners benefitted from the Growth Company’s quick reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic, with online and remote learning beginning from March 2020. It also covered the additional support managers and staff provided to vulnerable learners, keeping centres open to provide facilities for those who could not work from home, food packages for those who needed them and hard-copy work packs.

Ofsted also noted the changes made to the curriculum to meet the changing needs of learners, including flexible online sessions for those who were teaching their children at home during periods of school closure.

Learners told Ofsted inspectors that they felt safe in and around the Training Centres, at work placements and when learning online. They showed inspectors that they knew who to contact with any welfare issues, and how to report safety concerns.

Ofsted inspectors praised the availability of mental health first aiders at the Growth Company, saying “Leaders acknowledge the impact COVID-19 has on the mental health of staff, learners and apprentices. They worked with an awarding body to develop a well-being qualification. The programme is now being taught to staff, learners and apprentices.”

Jon-Paul Rimington, Managing Director, said: “I would like to thank all our staff, employers and stakeholders for their continued support to learners and each other during these extremely challenging times. I am grateful for the amazing efforts shown by both teaching and support staff within GC Education and Skills, ensuring that our learners have continued to be supported.

Our learners have adapted well to the changes. They have shown resilience and commitment to learning, and we have seen some incredible achievements despite what we are all dealing with as a country.

The Senior Management Team and I are delighted that Ofsted has recognised the hard work and commitment shown to our learners and employers, who are at the heart of everything we do.”

To read the full interim visit report on The Growth Company, please visit the Ofsted website here.