Lack of progress on ‘bullying’

A Peterborough-based provider made “insufficient progress” in protecting the welfare of its learners and preventing bullying and abuse, Ofsted has found.

The education watchdog slapped the National Farriery Training Agency (NFTA) with a grade four inspection result in February after finding evidence of “bullying” and “abuse” of farriery apprentices.

Inspectors said learners’ on-the-job supervisors, or approved training farriers (ATFs), were getting away with abuse.

And an Ofsted monitoring visit last month — eight months after the full inspection — found the NFTA had done little “to properly ensure the well-being and welfare of its apprentices”.

The monitoring visit report said the provider had carried out a review to identify concerns, but added that bullying allegations were not being investigated “properly or fully”.

It also noted that “inadequate quality assurance measures in place at the time of inspection remain largely unchanged”.

But the NFTA, the UK’s only provider of training to shoe horses, has since given up responsibility for the apprenticeships.

The colleges which previously provided classroom learning as subcontractors — Hereford and Ludlow College, Myerscough College and Warwickshire College — took over provision from the NFTA at the start of the month.

The monitoring report said “reasonable progress” had been made in improving and dealing with complaints about off-the-job training, provided by colleges, which had carried out “either internal or externally-led reviews of the quality of teaching and learning”.

Ian Peake, Hereford and Ludlow College principal, told FE Week: “Now that the management of this apprenticeship provision has been fully handed over to the colleges, I am confident that we will make very significant improvements to farriery education and training.”

A Skills Funding Agency spokesperson said: “We are working with the three colleges concerned to ensure that the welfare of learners is protected and that the quality of learning is of the highest possible standard.”

Neville Higgins, NFTA operations manager, declined to comment on the monitoring report on the grounds that the provider had since been wound-down.

Nobody from NFTA parent body the Farrier’s Registration Council, which will continue to oversee provision at the colleges, was available for comment.