Ofsted watch: A trio of 'insufficient progress' reports

Three new apprenticeship providers have been found to be making ‘insufficient progress’ in at least one area under review this week – but it’s yet to be seen what the repercussions will be.

Elsewhere, an independent learning provider was rated ‘good’ following its first ever inspection, in the only full FE and skills report published this week.

Leaders at Care Training Solutions Limited was slammed for their “not effective enough” management and for having “not implemented any governance arrangements”.

The Oxfordshire provider was deemed to be making ‘insufficient progress’ in all three areas under review, in a report published September 14 and based on a visit in early August.

There were just 16 apprentices on programme at the time inspectors visited the provider, which was previously a sub-contractor before getting a place on the register of apprenticeship training providers in May 2017.

The “vast majority” of these were making “slow progress”, and “too many apprentices are behind on every element of their apprenticeship”.

Leaders were criticised for not placing “sufficient emphasis” on complying with safeguarding requirements.

“For example, the provider has not obtained a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check for the designated safeguarding officer” and “the role has not been explained to apprentices and employers”, the report said.

As previously reported by FE Week, two other new apprenticeship providers were deemed to be making ‘insufficient progress’ in at least one area this week.

Entrust Support Services Limited, a joint venture company between Capita and Staffordshire County Council, was deemed to be making poor headway in two of the three fields judged, while Unique Training Solutions Limited, based in Hertfordshire, was ‘insufficient’ in one area.

All three face the possibility of being barred from taking on new apprentices, following new rules published by the Education and Skills Funding Agency last month.

However, the Department for Education is still considering what action it will take, a spokesperson said earlier this week.

Elsewhere, there was much more positive news for the London Hairdressing Apprenticeship Academy Ltd, which was rated ‘good’ in its first ever inspection report, published September 10 and based on a visit in late July.

Most learners and apprentices made “swift progress in their vocational studies, develop good technical and customer service skills and achieve their qualifications,” the report said.

“High quality training environments using exceptional resources” ensure that learners and apprentices “improve their practical skills” and “meet the standards required in the hair and beauty therapy industries”.

However, employers were not sufficiently involved in “too many reviews of apprentices’ progress” meaning “some employers are unaware of what knowledge and skills they need to help their apprentices improve”.

There was also good news for four other new apprenticeship providers this week, as they were found to be making ‘reasonable progress’ in all themes under review.

Programmes at the University of Suffolk “prepare apprentices effectively for a wide range of job roles in the NHS”, according to a report published September 11 and based on a visit in early July.

“Apprentices develop new knowledge and skills and they apply these successfully in their workplace roles,” it said.

Leaders and managers at Fuel Learning Limited, in Coventry, work “cohesively” to “meet the high expectations that employers have for their apprenticeships programmes”, according to a report published September 10 and based on a visit in early August.

“Apprentices are well motivated, enjoy their learning and the large majority make secure progress in their learning.”

Most apprentices at East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust make “good progress”, thanks to “carefully planned and organised off-the-job training”, according to a report based on a visit in late July and published September 10.

“The service provides well-equipped training centres that have the technical and specialist resources essential to ensuring that apprentices learn quickly using suitable and relevant tools and learning resources,” it said.

Managers at Knights Training Academy Limited have “put in place comprehensive and largely effective arrangements to make sure that provision is high quality”, according to a report published September 11 and based on a visit in mid-August.

“Apprentices make good progress from the start and develop new occupationally specific knowledge, skills and behaviours.”

Independent Learning Providers Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Unique Training Solutions Limited 31/07/2018 10/09/2018 M M
Entrust Support Services Limited 08/08/2018 11/09/2018 M M
University of Suffolk 10/07/2018 11/09/2018 M M
Care Training Solutions Limited 08/08/2018 14/09/2018 M M
The London Hairdressing Apprenticeship Academy Ltd 24/07/2018 10/09/2018 2
Fuel Learning Limited 01/08/2018 10/09/2018 M M
East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust 25/07/2018 10/09/2018 M M
Knights Training Academy Limited 14/08/2018 11/09/2018 M M