After her company failed to get a place on the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers, despite its Ofsted ‘good’ rating, Anne-Marie Morris wrote a letter to Sue Husband expressing her sense of injustice at the lack of an appeals process

Open letter to Sue Husband, Director of the National Apprenticeship Service, Skills Funding Agency

Dear Sue,

I am only a little person within a team, who works for a small training provider on which the SFA have made a decision that I believe is just so wrong. 

I have worked for this company for almost seven years. Previously I worked for social services for almost 20 years and always thought all private companies were just about making money and not quality –  how wrong I was!

I have had learners cry when they achieve their apprenticeship

This company really cares about our learners. We work really hard to ensure learners achieve their qualification, that they develop their skills and knowledge and I can say we do this really well. I have had learners cry when they have achieved their apprenticeship, as some have been out of education for decades and never thought they would ever be able to achieve a qualification of the quality they have.

The company I work for has supported thousands of learners to gain a quality qualification that has really made a difference to their lives. Often the learners have stayed with this company and completed various levels of apprenticeship qualification, resulting in learners receiving promotions, from care or support workers all the way through to becoming managers.

The company also really values us as staff. They ensure we keep our own knowledge, skills and understanding up to date, we are thoroughly supported in all areas of our own jobs as assessor tutors – as you can appreciate, our roles have changed significantly since the old days of NVQs.

Through this support we have great confidence, we are highly motivated and skilled in delivery, ensuring learners’ individual learning styles are met. We are experts in embedding ‘British values’, Prevent, functional skills, equality, diversity, employability skills, personal development, well-being and safeguarding. We have our practices observed every month to ensure our teaching, learning and assessment process meets the required standards; these observations are graded and detailed support plans are produced, which identify areas of development to ensure quality is maintained.

We were all over the moon with our Ofsted grade

Last year we gained an Ofsted ‘good’, which we had worked really hard for as a team. We were all over the moon with this grade as we knew we deserved it. Since then we have gone from strength to strength, as our confidence has grown preparing extremely well for the new Trailblazer to start. We have even been invited to seminars to explain this process to other providers, as we are so well prepared. We know how important it is to share best practice, as this helps all learners to achieve and benefit from their apprenticeships.

Ninety-nine per cent of our business is the delivery of apprenticeships, which we do extremely well. Yet we were told yesterday by our director that the SFA have not agreed our tender to be on the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers. This means from 1 May 2017 we will be unable to enrol new learners on apprenticeships, despite having met all the requirements and being graded as Ofsted ‘good’.

How can this decision be correct, given there are other providers on the register that are graded as ‘inadequate’? We have been told there is no opportunity for feedback or to appeal the decision.

This will have a devastating impact on all our lives

As you can imagine everyone in the company is devastated as all the hard work and commitment we make towards supporting learners to achieve their apprenticeships to such a high standard appears to not have been considered at all.

I personally would really like to understand how this can happen and why we as a company cannot appeal the decision.

I, along with my colleagues, will surely lose the jobs we have been so proud of and the future of such a professional, caring company is now in doubt. We are only a small training provider with 70 staff members but this will have a devastating impact on all of our lives.

Yours,

Anne-Marie Morris

Team Leader/Assessor at Acacia Training