Ofsted watch: Mixed bag at three ‘new’ apprenticeship providers

Three early monitoring visit reports on new apprenticeship providers were published this week and produced a mixed bag.

Lean Education and Development Limited, based in the west Midlands, received the most positive report. Inspectors praised the provider for having a “clear vision and well-considered strategy to become a high-performing provider of learning”.

LEAD became a prime contractor in May 2017 after spending six years as a subcontractor. At the time of Ofsted’s visit, the provider had 475 learners studying for a level two framework in improving operational performance with 38 employers across the country.

“Significant progress” is being made in meeting all the requirements of successful apprenticeship provision, according to inspectors.

“Directors and senior managers have a good mix of skills, such as implementing ‘lean’ processes in world-class businesses, and in training and teaching”.

The provider is also making “significant progress” in ensuring that apprentices benefit from high-quality training that leads to positive outcomes.

“Reasonable” progress is being made in safeguarding, as all learners receive information on British values and the ‘Prevent’ duty at induction.

Apprentice Team Limited, which also has a history of subcontracting, didn’t receive nearly as glowing a report.

The provider offers has been offering apprenticeships to levy payers in the north of England and the midlands ever since July last year.

But “insufficient” progress has been made in ensuring that the provider is meeting “all the requirements of successful apprenticeship provision”.

The company does not have a governing body, Ofsted pointed out, and found that a “few” apprentices do almost all of their work in their own time or whenever they can find a time and place for private study during their shift.

However, ATL’s managers “acknowledge this inconsistency and have implemented strategies to ensure that employers comply in full with the spirit of the apprenticeship requirements”.

Reasonable progress is being made in achieving positive outcomes.

“ATL’s assessors have helped to ensure that, despite the considerable experience that many of their apprentices have, they nevertheless learn and develop new skills and behaviours that will help them carry out their role more effectively,” Ofsted said.

Reasonable progress is also being made in safeguarding.

This and two other reports out this week have been part of a what is supposed to be a new wave of “monitoring visits to a sample of new apprenticeship training providers that are funded through the apprenticeship levy” announced before Christmas.

But there has been concern that most reported on so far are not actually newcomers, as they have acted as subcontractors in the past.

The worst of the three reports came in for Birkenhead-based Mooreskills Limited, as reported by FE Week on Monday.

This provider trains apprentices for a number of airports including London’s Heathrow, and again has a history of subcontracting.

Inspectors found “insufficient progress” had been made by management in establishing and maintaining high-quality apprenticeship provision.

“Leaders and managers have not implemented effective quality monitoring processes to check that apprentices receive a high standard of training and make sufficient progress,” the report warned. “The progress of the vast majority of current apprentices is slow.”

The firm’s assessors do not set and record personalised “detailed and useful training and development targets for their apprentices to help them to make timely progress”.

Reasonable progress was found to be made in ensuring “effective” safeguarding arrangements are in place.

Telford College also received a monitoring visit this week, after it was formed in December following a merger between New College Telford and Telford College of Arts and Technology.

Both colleges were rated ‘requires improvement’ at their previous full inspections.

Reasonable progress is being made in developing an “effective” quality improvement plan, and ensuring appropriate reporting and monitoring arrangements, which include rigorous scrutiny by governors, as well as in improving teaching, learning and assessment.

Leaders are also making reasonable progress in increasing the proportion of apprentices who achieve their qualification within the planned time, and in improving learners’ and apprentices’ understanding of British values and the risks of extremism and radicalisation.

“Significant” progress has however been made in improving the “development of learners’ maths and English skills”.

“Senior managers have prepared a very detailed package of professional development resources that show how teachers can integrate and feel confident about teaching English and maths skills,” Ofsted said.

Two adult and community learning providers – North Tyneside Metropolitan Council and Rutland County Council – received short inspection reports this week and retained their grade two ratings.

 

GFE Colleges Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Telford College of Arts and Technology 18/04/2018 21/05/2018 M 3

 

Independent Learning Providers Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Apprentice Team Ltd 11/04/2018 22/05/2018 M N/A
Lean Education And Development Limited 24/04/2018 21/05/2018 M N/A
Mooreskills Ltd 12/04/2018 21/05/2018 M N/A

 

Short inspections (remains grade 2) Inspected Published
North Tyneside Metropolitan Council 17/04/2018 21/05/2018
Rutland County Council 23/04/2018 25/05/2018