Ofsted watch: ‘Reasonable’ week for many new providers

Ofsted has reported a number of new apprenticeship providers have made ‘reasonable progress’ in early monitoring visits, according to reports published this week.

The one independent provider that stands out, though, is British Printing Industries Federation, which has climbed from a grade three to a grade two in its latest inspection.

Inspectors found there that leaders, managers and staff have made “significant improvements” to the apprenticeship programme, and “strong progress” has been made to addressing all the weaknesses identified at the last inspection.

A new training advisory board, with direct oversight of apprenticeship training, has been established; and the chief executive and board have increased management capacity and expertise, to bring about rapid improvement, by hiring an experienced managing director.

The report singled this change out for bringing about “significant improvements to the quality of provision”.

A number of providers which had report published this week have also improved their safeguarding score from an early monitoring visit.

For example, Contracting Services (Education and Skills) Limited has made ‘reasonable progress’ in ensuring effective safeguarding arrangements are in place.

This was after Ofsted found on a visit in March it had made ‘insufficient progress’ in the area, and apprentices were unclear about who to go to within the provider if they have a concern.

Now though, apprentices are clear on how to keep themselves safe and what to do if they have a concern about a peer.

Another provider which has been found to have made ‘reasonable progress’ in safeguarding is EQV (UK) Limited.

They were inspected for a second time in this area, after the watchdog found previously that leaders had not checked staff had the right to work in the United Kingdom – this has now been rectified.

A third inspection focused purely on safeguarding was made of Piper Training, saying: “Leaders and managers have worked methodically to address adequately most of the significant weaknesses identified at the previous monitoring visit.”

Leaders have reviewed and amended safeguarding arrangements after the first inspection and made arrangements for safeguarding by subcontractors more stringent.

However, letting down the side this week was South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, which was found to have made ‘insufficient progress’ in two areas and ‘reasonable progress’ in one.

“Leaders have not made sure that the programme meets the requirements of an apprenticeship, including the development of English and mathematics skills,” the inspectorate wrote.

The provider also does not use data effectively, so senior leaders and managers do not know the current progress of learners and whether they will complete within the planned timescale.

Apprentices, meanwhile, are “not aware of the requirements of the end-point assessment or what the criteria for success are”.

This is the latest in a series of negative reports of NHS apprenticeship providers: in March, Poole Hospital was reported as being “unable to provide accurate information on the number of apprentices who remain on the programme”.

And in January, Walsall NHS Trust was rated ‘inadequate’ for its apprenticeship provision, once Ofsted found the trust was “not aware that the vast majority of apprentices are not making the expected progress on their programme”.

While University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust had fallen foul of “ineffective strategic leadership, weak systems to secure trust-wide delivery and an absence of a clear understanding of what constitutes an effective apprenticeship training programme”.

A number of providers had reports published this week which found they had made ‘reasonable progress’ in all areas of an early monitoring visit. They are: Derwent Training Association; PET-Xi Training Limited; Port of Tilbury London Limited; Reed Business School; Xtol Development Services Limited; Keolis Amey Docklands Limited; KMF Precision Sheet Metal Limited; and Secom Plc.

Independent Learning Providers Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
British Printing Industries Federation Ltd 30/07/2019 29/08/2019 2 3
Contracting Services (Education and Skills) Limited 23/07/2019 28/08/2019 M M
Derwent Training Association 08/08/2019 27/08/2019 M N/A
EQV (UK) Ltd 14/08/2019 28/08/2019 M M
PET-Xi Training Limited 01/08/2019 26/08/2019 M N/A
Piper Training Limited 19/08/2019 29/08/2019 M M
Port Of Tilbury London Limited 07/08/2019 27/08/2019 M N/A
Reed Business School 18/08/2019 28/08/2019 M N/A
Xtol Development Services Limited 25/07/2019 28/08/2019 M N/A


Employer providers Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Keolis Amey Docklands Limited 02/08/2019 28/08/2019 M N/A
KMF Precision Sheet Metal Limited 08/08/2019 27/08/2019 M N/A
Secom Plc 01/08/2019 29/08/2019 M N/A
South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust 01/08/2019 29/08/2019 M N/A