Grade four Priory ordered to leave second apprenticeship Trailblazer

Priory Central Services has been ordered to leave a second healthcare-related Trailblazer group following its grade four across-the-board rating from Ofsted.

Dr Terry Tucker, who chairs the Trailblazer group developing an adult nursing higher apprenticeship standard that also includes BUPA, told FE Week that she had sent a letter to the apprenticeship employer provider on Wednesday (June 3) confirming the decision.

“We have agreed to ask Priory to withdraw from the group until its Ofsted grading improves. A letter confirming this has been sent to Priory,” said Dr Tucker.

However, she declined to comment on what grade Priory, which was served with a notice of concern by the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) in light of the ‘inadequate’ rating and currently offers healthcare training and apprenticeships to around 370 learners, would have to achieve in an Ofsted re-inspection to be invited back to the group.

A Priory spokesperson said: “We are disappointed by this outcome but we have a robust action plan in place to address all the issues raised by Ofsted.

“We are committed to continuously improving our standard of learning and development and hope to play a role in the [adult nursing] Trailblazer in the future.”

Dr Tucker said Priory’s former head of learning and development Janet Cowie, who finished full-time with the company in August but had still been representing it on the group as a consultant, would continue to help develop the Trailblazer, but no longer report back to her former employer.

Ms Cowie said: “I am going to complete the work that I started in my own right.

“I’m disappointed that it has come to this and think that the initial decision taken by the healthcare employers’ Trailblazer group forced the hand of the adult nursing Trailblazer group.”

It comes after FE Week revealed three weeks ago that Priory had been asked to leave a separate healthcare Trailblazer group, that designed level five assistant practitioner and level two support worker standards, because of the damning Ofsted verdict published on April 17.

As previously reported by FE Week, the Ofsted report on Priory, which runs the national medical chain that includes the famous London Priory rehabilitation centre, told how its training had “no significant strengths”.

The Priory spokesperson declined to comment on whether it had responded to the letter “requesting that they end their involvement” from the healthcare Trailblazer group.

However, chair Jane Hadfield said Priory was “no longer involved” with the Trailblazer.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills declined to comment.