Ofsted on hunt for more apprenticeship inspectors

Ofsted is on the look out to recruit 10 FE experts as inspectors while it ramps up its workforce to carry out early monitoring visits of every new apprenticeship provider.

The inspectorate has been given £5.4 million in government funding to help with the mammoth task of carrying out visits at as many as 1,200 providers.

In an exclusive interview with FE Week last month, Paul Joyce, Ofsted’s deputy director for FE Skills, said it had received all the money it asked for but would not be drawn on how many extra inspectors the money might fund.

That the inspectorate is now advertising for so many experienced FE inspectors is likely to be the first sign of this funding being spent. The advertised jobs come with an annual salary of £66,705, rising to £71,705 after probation.

The job description states that Ofsted is looking for “experienced professionals with the highest levels of skill”.

Applicants are expected to have a minimum of five years’ leadership experience at a senior level in FE, as well as a “secure, deep and broad knowledge” of the sector’s issues and changes. Expertise in apprenticeships was not explicitly stated as a requirement.

A spokesperson for Ofsted said it was recruiting new inspectors to cover “the whole range of inspections” under the FE remit.

“An important part of this will include monitoring visits and inspections of new apprenticeship providers, but not at all exclusively.”

She added: “As the job advert makes clear, inspectors are expected to have relevant experience of the range of provision they inspect. Experience of apprenticeship training is obviously one relevant area.”

The Education and Skills Funding Agency confirmed in August that any apprenticeship provider which Ofsted deems to have made insufficient progress in one or more themes under review would be stopped from taking on new apprentices.

These restrictions will stay in place until the provider has received a full inspection and been awarded at least a grade three for its apprenticeship provision. Full inspections for providers who have received an ‘insufficient’ judgement will now take place within six to 12 months.