Injunction lifted by High Court on damning Learndirect report

Injunction lifted by High Court on damning Learndirect report
Future of 1,600 jobs is at risk at education company
X The Business Desk

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Learndirect, the Sheffield-based training provider, is battening down the hatches as it awaits a report by Ofsted which is said to be highly critical of its performance and could threaten its existence.

1,645 jobs are hanging in the balance at the apprenticeship and adult education provider over the as-yet unpublished report, which allegedly calls the £171m-turnover company “inadequate”.

The company said earlier this year that it was in consultation with 10% of its workforce due to “uncertainty” around the Adult Education Budget procurement process.

Now, trade publication FE Week has revealed that an injunction has been lifted on a damning Ofsted report regarding Learndirect, which will be published by the High Court on Thursday.

It said that the company had already been faced with warning notices from the Skills Agency, and would now face allegations of low completion rates and “ineffective” management staff.

The Ofsted report reportedly gives Learndirect a grade four, the lowest possible mark. However overnight, the Department for Education said it would be lenient with the firm, and would not serve a three-month termination notice on Learndirect contracts after Thursday’s publication, which is normally the case.

Learndirect said they were “extremely disappointed” with the decision to release the report, which they had managed to block previously. In a statement the firm said: “Learndirect Limited’s underlying business remains stable, and we continue to be focused on supporting our learners as usual.”

Learndirect, which was privatised in 2011 after a £40m acquisition by LDC, has more than 70,000 trainees on its apprenticeships and training programmes and employs more than 1,645 staff members.

In its latest available accounts for 2015, it made £171m in turnover and returned pre-tax profits of £2.9m.

The company has dozens of sites across the UK, including Batley, Birmingham, Carlisle, Doncaster, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Hull and Nottingham.