Refused registration decisions

This page sets out details of higher education providers which have been refused registration by the Office for Students, and a summary of the reasons for the refusal.

2019

ABI College Limited’s application for registration has been refused.

This is because the Office for Students has decided that ABI College does not satisfy the following initial conditions of registration:

  • Condition B3 – Quality
  • Condition C1 – Guidance on consumer protection law
  • Condition C3 – Student protection plan
  • Condition D – Financial viability and sustainability
  • Condition E1 – Public interest governance
  • Condition E2 – Management and governance.

A summary of our reasons are set out below:

Initial condition Summary of reasons
B3: Quality The OfS takes the view that the college’s continuation rate data (evidencing the number of students who continue from the first into the second year of study) shows that the college has failed to demonstrate that it delivers successful outcomes for all of its higher education students, which are recognised and valued by employers and/or enable further study for all of its students.
C1: Guidance on consumer protection law The OfS takes the view that a number of the terms in the college’s contract with students are so inconsistent with consumer protection law that, objectively, the OfS does not consider that the evidence demonstrates that the college has had regard to relevant consumer protection law guidance when these terms were written, as required by condition C1. As a result, there is a risk that unclear or misleading information may be published for students.
C3: Student protection plan

The OfS takes the view that it would not approve the draft student protection plan submitted by the college as part of its application for registration.

The OfS considers that the plan is not approvable as it does not credibly assess the risks to continuation of study for the college’s students. In particular, the draft student protection plan states that the risk of non-continuation of study for the provider’s students arising from failures to meet external regulatory requirements is low. The OfS notes that this draft plan was submitted twelve days after the college received a notice from the Department for Education because the Department’s view was that the college may not have been meeting regulatory requirements.

The OfS also takes the view that the actions set out in the draft plan to mitigate the risk to continuation of study, and the refund and compensation policy set out in the draft plan, are insufficient. The student protection plan submitted by the provider would therefore not offer sufficient protection to students for the risks identified by the OfS.

D: Financial viability and sustainability

The OfS takes the view that the provider is at material risk of insolvency in the next twelve months as it is likely to receive very significantly reduced student fee income because its courses are not designated for student support by the Secretary of State for Education. In addition, the provider’s cash reserves are smaller than its forecast expenditure for the year.

The OfS also notes that the likely reduction in cash reserves as a result of loss of fee income will reduce the provider's net total assets and as such it is the OfS’s view that the college is unlikely to have sufficient financial resources to operate in accordance with its plans and projections for the next five years.

E1: Public interest governance

The OfS takes the view that the provider’s governing documents do not demonstrate that the following public interest governance principles are upheld:

  1. Accountability: The provider operates openly, honestly, accountably and with integrity and demonstrates the values appropriate to be recognised as an English higher education provider.
  2. Value for money: The governing body ensures that there are adequate and effective arrangements in place to provide transparency about value for money for all students and (where a provider has access to the student support system or to grant funding) for taxpayers.
  3. Governing body: The size, composition, diversity, skills mix, and terms of office of the governing body is appropriate for the nature, scale and complexity of the provider.
E2: Management and governance

The OfS takes the view that there is a lack of clarity and evidence in relation to the design and operation of the college’s management and governance arrangements which means that there is insufficient evidence to determine that the college can satisfy this condition.

This means that the OfS cannot be assured that the college’s management and governance arrangements are adequate and effective.

Initial Condition B3: Quality (student outcomes)

Summary of reasons:

Barking and Dagenham College’s application for registration has been refused.

The OfS takes the view that Barking and Dagenham College failed to satisfy initial condition B3 insofar as its:

  • continuation rate data (evidencing the number of higher education students progressing from their first to their second year of study); and
  • rates of progression to graduate employment (in particular progression to professional and managerial jobs or postgraduate study)

shows that the college has failed to demonstrate that it delivers successful outcomes for all of its higher education students, which are recognised and valued by employers and/or enable further study for all of its higher education students.

We have produced a question and answer document for students at Barking and Dagenham College.

We have also published the full judgment of the High Court about this case.

Harrow Independent College Limited’s application for registration has been refused.

This is because the Office for Students has decided that Harrow Independent College Limited does not satisfy the following initial conditions of registration:

Initial condition Summary of reasons
Condition C3 – Student protection plan

The OfS takes the view that the student protection plan submitted by the college is not approvable as it does not provide sufficient detail about the practical steps that the college would take if the plan had to be implemented for its higher education students. The OfS is also of the view that the college does not have sufficient funds to refund and/or compensate higher education students in the event of non-continuation of study.

Condition D – Financial viability and sustainability

The OfS takes the view that the college has made assumptions about growth in student numbers and income that are not credible. If this growth is not delivered, the college’s financial position would not be viable or sustainable.

Condition E2 – Management and governance The OfS takes the view that the lack of credibility of the college’s student and financial forecasts provides evidence that management and governance arrangements are not adequate and effective because it appears that the college’s governing body is not providing sufficient independent challenge in relation to issues material to the credibility of the college’s financial strategy and performance.

Lancaster and Morecambe College’s application for registration has been refused.

This is because the Office for Students has decided that Lancaster and Morecambe College does not satisfy the following initial condition of registration:

  • Condition B3 – Quality (student outcomes)

The OfS takes the view that the college’s continuation rate data (evidencing the number of higher education students who continue from the first into the second year of study), show that the college has failed to demonstrate that it delivers successful outcomes for all of its higher education students, which are recognised and valued by employers and/or enable further study.

Newham College of Further Education’s application for registration has been refused.

This is because the Office for Students has decided that Newham College does not satisfy the following initial condition of registration:

  • Condition B3 - Quality (student outcomes).

The OfS takes the view that Newham College of Further Education failed to satisfy initial condition B3 insofar as the College’s continuation rate data (evidencing the number of higher education students progressing from their first to their second year of study) shows that the College has failed to demonstrate that it delivers successful outcomes for all of its higher education students, which are recognised and valued by employers and/or enable further study for all of its higher education students.

Spurgeon’s College’s application for registration was refused by the OfS on 9 August 2019.

This was because the Office for Students decided that Spurgeon’s College did not satisfy the following initial condition of registration:

  • Initial Condition D: Financial viability and sustainability

Summary of reasons

The OfS took the view that the college did not satisfy the requirements of condition D as the college was forecasting deficits, cash outflows from its core activities, and weak liquidity. In addition, the OfS’s view was that the college did not have sufficient financial resources to be sustainable. The OfS considered that the college’s plan to address these issues was not credible and was insufficient to resolve the OfS’s concerns about financial viability and sustainability.

Further information

After the OfS had informed the college that its application for registration had been refused the college took steps to improve its financial position. It made a new application for registration on 8 October 2019. This second application contained new information, including evidence of material factual changes relevant to the college’s financial position. The OfS has assessed the new evidence submitted by the college and has determined that it has now demonstrated that all initial conditions of registration are satisfied. The college will therefore be registered in the Approved (fee cap) category of the OfS’s Register.

The OfS remains firmly of the view that its original decision to refuse registration is legally robust and appropriate on the basis of the evidence submitted by the college, including during the representations process, and the factual position that existed at the time. The OfS therefore strongly refutes the public statements made by the college that suggest otherwise.

The Bloomsbury Institute Limited’s application for registration has been refused.

This is because the Office for Students considers that Bloomsbury Institute does not satisfy the following initial conditions of registration:

  • Condition B3 – Quality
  • Condition E2 – Management and governance.

A summary of our reasons are set out below:

Initial condition Summary of reasons
B3: Quality

The OfS takes the view that the Institute’s performance in relation to:

  • continuation rate data (evidencing the number of students progressing from their first to their second year of study); and
  • rates of progression to graduate employment (in particular progression to professional and managerial jobs or postgraduate study)

shows that the Institute has failed to demonstrate that it delivers successful outcomes for all of its higher education students, which are recognised and valued by employers and/or enable further study for all of its students.

E2: Management and governance The OfS takes the view that the Institute’s student outcome data and a lack of credibility in its student and financial forecasts mean that there is insufficient reliable evidence to determine that management and governance arrangements are adequate and effective.

We have produced a question and answer document for students at Bloomsbury.

Waltham Forest College’s application for registration has been refused.

This is because the Office for Students has decided that Waltham Forest College does not satisfy the following initial condition of registration:

  • Condition B3 – Quality.

A summary of our reasons are set out below:

Initial condition Summary of reasons
B3: Quality The OfS takes the view that the college’s continuation rate data (evidencing the number of higher education students progressing from their first to their second year of study) shows that the college has failed to demonstrate that it delivers successful outcomes for all of its higher education students, which are recognised and valued by employers and/or enable further study for all of its higher education students.
Last updated 28 November 2019
28 November 2019
Update on Spurgeon's College's application for registration
15 November 2019
Reasons for refusal for Harrow Independent College Limited and Lancaster and Morecambe College published

Describe your experience of using this website

Improve experience feedback
* *

Thank you for your feedback