New Directions is Reading’s learning and employment service for adults. Ofsted had previously inspected them in 2015, and they had rated it as ‘good’ then as well.
In their report of June 2019, Ofsted praised New Directions, saying:
… leaders and managers have made sure that the learning and employment service continues to provide a good educational experience for learners and apprentices.
They have worked effectively to provide a welcoming and safe environment for learners to develop new knowledge and skills.
Managers and staff make sure that learners are safe and feel safe. Learners know who to talk to if they have any concerns. Staff at all levels make sure that the centre provides a safe environment for learning.
They also offered some criticism:
Leaders and managers do not have sufficient oversight over the quality of teaching, learning and assessment delivered by all of their subcontractors.
The service’s quality managers have recently started a programme of regular observations of subcontractors’ delivery staff and provided them with training on how to improve their teaching practice. Managers of subcontractors’ delivery staff are slow in reporting back progress against these actions.
As a result, the pace of improvement in the quality of teaching, learning and assessment is too slow.
Nonetheless, Ofsted report was mostly positive:
Since the previous inspection, leaders and managers have introduced a well-considered apprenticeship programme. Apprentices benefit from frequent visits and effective support from their assessors; the large majority are making good progress. Apprentices are developing new knowledge, skills and behaviours for their job roles.