Bradford College

Exceeding Ofsted Standards with fast and accurate reporting

Bradford College has been delivering quality education and training for over 175 years. Bradford College provides strong student support during and beyond their time at the college, with a focus on student’s future contribution to the economy.


The college has a national reputation in a number of fields. It has been presented with a National Beacon Award for its outstanding contribution to Equality and Diversity by the Association of Colleges and awarded the Training Quality Standard – the highest accolade possible in recognition of its excellent work with employers.

Ofsted judged the College to be “Good” with many “Outstanding” features. This is just one of the many accolades awarded to the College for its outstanding performance.

"Assessments of our teaching quality have been carried out by the Quality Assurance Agency. In the past three years these reports have rated our teaching and learning as: commendable to a wide range of course areas."
Christian McGrath, Staff Development Officer

Further evidence of the college’s success is evident in the QAA’s Integrated Quality and Enhancement Review (IQER), carried out in January 2010 concluded that they had “Confidence” (the highest judgement possible) in the quality of our Higher Education Provision.” Bradford College’s services to business brand, Total Training Solutions has been awarded the Training Quality Standard – the highest training accolade possible and endorsement of its excellent work with employers.

These accolades are achieved through the hard work of all staff within the college. Teaching staff, support staff and management staff alike are encouraged to take ownership for their learning and development programme that not only ensures compliance against statutory and mandatory training requirements, but also personal development.

The Client

Bradford College delivers hundreds of courses each year to over 23,000 learners, from across the globe. The College is the fourth largest in the country and the largest provider of higher education outside the university sector in England. Delivering this learning is a team of 1,700 staff across 6 main sites, and a number of satellite sites. Christian McGrath, staff development officer, is responsible for leading the team that delivers and manages training for these staff.

Core Training Areas

  • Induction training – for all new staff
  • Mandatory training – such as safety and security, diversity in the workplace and child protection training, delivered by elearning modules
  • Academic staff – such as teaching qualifications and classroom management
  • Managers – leadership and management training suite for 1st line managers and those going into management
  • Soft skills training – such as customer service, recruitment and selection

The Business Requirement

Bradford College have been using Enterprise Study since 2005. Prior to implementing ES, Bradford were using a bespoke application that had been built in house, similar to an Access Database. It wasn’t meeting all the requirements, so McGrath spent some time researching alternatives.

He wanted a dedicated training management application rather than an add-on to an HR application, for example. McGrath’s primary requirements were the ability to record all relevant information in one place, and to produce accurate detailed reports. He looked at 3 systems and chose Enterprise Study for a number of reasons which he explains here:

  • Web based – the two competitive systems we looked at required us to buy the entire system which needed to be installed on our servers. ES, being web based, worked out a lot cheaper and meant we benefitted from ES’s ongoing development and improvements rather than having to pay for software upgrades
  • Dedicated training solution – ES is a comprehensive training management solution and does the job well, it is not an afterthought to some other business application

"Enterprise Study offered a comprehensive system with all the functionality we required at a very affordable price."

McGrath wanted a system that would enable the college to better manage their training offers, better plan resources, and produce accurate management information quickly.

The Solution

ES enables McGrath and his team to create and deliver a comprehensive blended learning and development programme. The system has enabled far better planning, based on trends in demand for courses, and far more comprehensive recording of information.

Compliance Management

Certain disciplines, such as Student Safeguarding, is mandatory and having evidence of such training being completed by the right staff is important. ES LMS enables McGrath’s team to keep track and make sure the right people attend the right courses. In addition, they can scan in and upload signed attendance registers as additional evidence, providing a clear audit trail.

Creating CPD Programmes

Teaching staff are required to log 30 hours of continued professional development (CPD) per year with the Institute of Learning, along with reflections on their learning activity. ES LMS provides Bradford College the tools to create individual CPD records for staff. Individuals can access and update their own records, record their reflections and see how many hours they have accrued and how much is still to do. This ensures a much higher success rate in completing CPD logs accurately and on time which directly impacts the success of the college.

Authorisation & Workflows

McGrath is delighted with the efficiencies ES has delivered, “ES LMS matched exactly what we wanted to achieve with regards recording and reporting on our training programmes. Authorisation tracks enable individuals to manage their own CPD and include external training as well as internal.

The Results

Bradford College is recognised by Ofsted as outstanding in its track record of improvement or maintenance of high standards.

"Curriculum management, team working and quality assurance are focused strongly on improvement. Performance management is robust, and professional development of staff is well focused."

Bradford College have standards to meet and exceed, not just Ofsted and IfL, but their own goals as a learning organisation. ES LMS supports the staff development team deliver training that helps meet these standards by providing clear reporting and audit trails of progress, by team or by individual.

McGrath has the experience and benefit of several years of using ES and has been able to monitor trends and changes in demand for certain courses. As he explains, “ES allows us to keep track of things over the years, we have run courses, for example one called ‘your voice, use it don’t lose it’, that were in high demand initially so we ran the course a lot, then as saturation was reached, demand dwindled so we reduced the number of courses/ After 2 or 3 years, as new staff came on board, we had demand to start up the course again. ES allows us to track and report on that kind of demand information.”

McGrath values the ability to record external courses, as well as all internal training in the system which allows him to monitor who’s booking what courses, and to identify if any extra marketing is required for any course. The system allows them to be proactive in their planning.

“The fact that we can include external courses as well gives us a fuller picture”, says McGrath.

"People can add their own information, for example courses they book outside our internal catalogue, but with relevant authorisation in place."

The richness of the information that can be recorded makes the reporting that much more valuable. It is the reporting that has been the most significant benefit to Bradford College.

McGrath needs to produce quarterly reports on the amount of training that has been delivered by type of training and ES gives him this granularity. McGrath elaborates, “Initially we needed to see how much college was spending on training and ES allows us to monitor budget spend more efficiently. We can achieve much better planning of budget and resources. The bespoke reports that we were able to set up have given us comprehensive and accurate insight.”

Besides enabling far better planning and decision making, the reporting features are extremely useful when it comes to Ofsted inspections and other audits.

"Last time Ofsted visited, they gave us 2 hours’ notice to produce a report they required. With ES, producing that report was quick and easy. We can respond quickly with accurate information."

At an individual level, staff often need to provide evidence of their learning to maintain their CPD hours. The self-service feature of ES means individual staff can access their training record, pull off report and evidence quickly and maintain their accreditations.

Over and above the functionality of the system, McGrath has always been delighted with the support from the ES team.

"The team is brilliant, I couldn’t ask for a better team. Even when they’re busy they’ve always been there and they can’t do enough to help. I don’t often need support but I had a query about a bespoke report recently and it was solved the same day. The service is very friendly, they are genuinely nice people."