Ofsted watch: A ‘reasonable week’ for new apprenticeship providers

It has been a mostly positive week for new apprenticeship providers according to Ofsted’s monitoring reports.

Together Training Ltd was praised for ‘significant progress’ in one of three areas, nine independent learning providers received ‘reasonable progress’ across the board and two providers were given ‘insufficient progress’.

The only employer provider graded by the education watchdog this week, HMRC, was found to have ‘reasonable progress’ in all three themes evaluated and the Elstree UTC was labelled ‘good’ in a full inspection.

Independent learning provider Dv8 Training was deemed to have made reasonable progress in the six themes assessed in a second re-inspection monitoring visit having been found to be inadequate in November 2018.

Dv8 Training, a Brighton based specialist college, had 157 learners aged 16 to 18 at the time of the inspection, the majority of which were studying level 2 and level 3 courses in media and music.

Managers at the creative college were praised for frequently reviewing learners’ education and inspectors noted learners with high needs, in which there were 32 in total, benefit from “appropriate support to ensure that their needs are met.”

It was reported that staff had made reasonable progress to set effective improvement targets, accurate monitoring of progress and measurement of impact on learners’ experiences and were “more confidently implementing the priorities” outlined.

Together Training Ltd, an advisory service by Oaklands College and West Herts College, was awarded significant progress in ensuring that effective safeguarding arrangements are in place, and reasonable progress in the other two themes assessed.

Inspectors reported that “staff and apprentices understand the potential local dangers that may affect them, and how to avoid them to stay safe.”

The eight other independent learning providers that received early monitoring reports this week scored reasonable progress across the board.

These were: Easi Hairdressing Academy Ltd, Global Skills Training Limited, J & E Training Consultants Limited, Juice Talent Development Limited, KS Training Ltd, Learning Innovations Training Team Ltd, London College of Business and Law Limited and Reach4Skills Training Limited.

Ofsted found employer provider HMRC made ‘reasonable progress’ areas across the three themes judged but criticised the tax office for keeping hundreds of apprentices on programme for the same duration.

It also reported that “managers and assessors do not use the outcomes of the assessment of apprentices’ starting points well enough to address gaps in knowledge, skills and behaviours.”

Moreover, the education watchdog found security firm EGS Nationwide Limited, which trains nearly 500 apprentices, and the London Design and Engineering University Technical College (LDE UTC) both made ‘insufficient progress’ across two themes following their early monitoring visits.

EGS Nationwide Limited, which works with G4S Care & Justice Services (UK) Ltd – itself branded ‘inadequate’ across the board in 2013, does “not take enough steps to ensure that the employer fulfils its obligation to apprentices.”

Moreover LDE UTC, the first university technical college to receive an early monitoring visit for its apprenticeship provision, also received heavy criticism from the inspectorate.

It can now expect to be suspended from recruiting apprentices after the two ‘insufficient progress’ scores in Ofsted’s report.

In contrast, the Elstree UTC, based in Hertfordshire, was awarded ‘good’ across the board in a report released this week following being graded ‘requires improvement’ in a previous inspection.

The UTC was praised for its “caring and supportive ethos,” which helps pupils who have missed schooling re-engage with meaningful learning.

The inspectorate found the UTC’s strengths lie in its specialisms, including production technology and production arts, and the provision of opportunities to work on creative projects and film and theatre events.

The report stated pupils have not achieved as well in English, mathematics and science but “the quality of education is improving.”

Independent Learning Providers Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Dv8 Training (Brighton) Limited 25/09/2019 18/10/2019 M 4
Easi Hairdressing Academy Ltd 01/10/2019 16/10/2019 M N/A
EGS Nationwide Limited 26/09/2019 17/10/2019 M N/A
Global Skills Training Limited 26/09/2019 17/10/2019 M N/A
J & E Training Consultants Limited 26/09/2019 17/10/2019 M N/A
Juice Talent Development Limited 26/09/2019 15/10/2019 M N/A
K S Training Limited 04/10/2019 18/10/2019 M N/A
Learning Innovations Training Team Ltd 19/09/2019 17/10/2019 M 2
London College of Business and Law Limited 25/09/2019 15/10/2019 M N/A
London Design and Engineering UTC 20/09/2019 17/10/2019 M N/A
Reach4Skills Training Ltd 03/10/2019 17/10/2019 M N/A
Together Training Ltd 13/09/2019 18/10/2019 M N/A


Employer providers Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) 27/09/2019 14/10/2019 M N/A


Other (including UTCs) Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
The Elstree UTC 25/09/2019 18/10/2019 2 3