Cramlington education charity submits 33-page complaint over 'unreliable' Ofsted report and inspectors' conduct

A Cramlington charity providing training to people with learning difficulties and disabilities has criticised a report on its service by education regulator Ofsted as ‘fundamentally flawed’.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

Azure Charitable Enterprises was rated ‘requires improvement’ after an inspection in June, but the charity claims the resulting report misrepresents the facts and has criticised the conduct of the government regulator’s inspectors.

Ofsted’s report praised the centre’s learning environment, enrichment activities, and focus on punctuality, but criticised the lack of work experience placements available to students.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The report said: “Staff do not ensure that the career guidance that they provide to learners is related well enough to learners’ own experiences and aspirations.

Azure Charitable Enterprises on Kielder Avenue in Cramlington. (Photo by Google)Azure Charitable Enterprises on Kielder Avenue in Cramlington. (Photo by Google)
Azure Charitable Enterprises on Kielder Avenue in Cramlington. (Photo by Google)

“As a result, most learners are not fully aware of the career and employment opportunities available to them.”

Inspectors highlighted that staff do not use assessment information to set targets for students, and thus are unable to effectively measure students’ progress towards their long-term goals.

The report added: “In a few instances, the activities that tutors use in lessons are not effective in developing learners’ knowledge so that learners can apply it to their own experiences and aspirations.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Staff do not adapt their teaching to meet learners’ specific needs. As a result, learners with less well-developed knowledge and skills struggle to engage fully in learning activities and are not given sufficient time to understand and process key information.”

According to the report: “Leaders do not provide teaching staff with training to help them to develop and update their teaching skills and their knowledge of working with young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities.”

The report also said the “dangers of radicalisation and extremism” were not made clear to learners, although it did label safeguarding procedures as “effective.”

Inspectors noted the charity’s trustees do not monitor the quality of teaching, but praised the work of the centre’s learning support staff.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

A spokesperson for Azure said: “Regrettably, Azure was compelled to challenge the conduct of the inspection and the conduct of individual inspectors during our Ofsted inspection in June.

“We consider Ofsted’s report to be fundamentally flawed and unreliable as it contains a number of misrepresentations of the facts of these matters and several significant omissions.

“We have submitted a detailed 33-page complaint to Ofsted and, given the nature and scope of our most serious concerns, we have also engaged solicitors Muckle LLP.

“We have undertaken to keep stakeholders fully informed and will be refraining from further comment until this matter is determined.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“In the interim, however, we are pleased to state we have full confidence in our staff and the fact that the education and support for our students is exemplary.

“100% of our students achieved their vocational qualifications while overall achievement rates for maths stand at 70%, more than double the national average, and English at 95%, more than 25% higher than the national average.

“Our students’ personal development and employability skills are fostered in a range of real working environments and their attendance and behaviours are outstanding.

“This is reflected in the feedback we receive from parents and their wider families and the record number of applications for places we have received this year.”

An Ofsted spokesperson said it does not comment on individual complaints.