‘Inadequate’ provider slammed for ‘poorly planned’ training

Inspectors said most apprentices had one hour of online learning 'once or twice a month'

Inspectors said most apprentices had one hour of online learning 'once or twice a month'

A care work training provider that delivered “ad hoc and poorly planned” learning to apprentices has been judged ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted.

Excell for Training, an apprenticeship training provider in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, received the grade following an inspection in early February this year. A spokesperson said the provider lodged a complaint against the report but declined to provide details.

Inspectors from the education watchdog found that most apprentices learn “very little” from a maximum of one hour of online training once or twice a month.

A team led by His Majesty’s Inspector Vicki Locke said these online training sessions were “ad hoc and poorly planned” with apprentices rarely undertaking workplace training due to a lack of liaison with their employers.

The provider was rated ‘requires improvement’ for behaviour and attitudes and personal development, but ‘inadequate’ for the quality of education, leadership and management and apprenticeships.

Off-the-job activities were also “not carefully planned” and focused on apprentices complying with assessment objectives over “meaningful activity”.

A spokesperson for Excell for Training said: “All Excell for Training have to say in relation to the Ofsted report; is that we appealed the grading / report finding’s [sic] and we also put in a formal complaint.

“We would like to make no other comment.”

The spokesperson did not respond when FE Week asked whether the appeal and complaint had concluded, or whether their contract with the Education and Skills Funding Agency has been terminated.

At the time of going to press, the provider is still listed on the apprenticeship provider and assessment register. 

Excell for Training was founded by owner Stephen Boyd in 2010 and has about 125 apprentices in South Yorkshire and the East Midlands, mainly training in residential childcare and adult care.

Boyd also owns Excell Home Care, a Sheffield-based agency that provides care to older people and disabled adults.

But inspectors said “too many” apprentices leave their course early, with many failing to achieve their qualifications on time.

The report added: “However, very few achieve high grades. Of those apprentices who complete their course, just over two-thirds remain in paid employment at the end of their studies.”

Ofsted has ordered Excell for Training to undertake an urgent review of the planning and effectiveness of its apprentices’ off-the-job training.

The watchdog has also ordered “immediate action” to improve current teaching standards after finding apprentices failed to gain a sound understanding of key topics.

A key concern for inspectors was trainers’ focus on “assessment criteria” over teaching content that would help apprentices learn.

In sessions looking at laws around medication, tutors read out “a list of relevant acts” for apprentices to research themselves.

In another session, inspectors said tutors supported their verbal explanations with written resources that “merely contain information copied directly from course assessment requirements”.

They called apprentices’ written work “too basic and generic”.

Leaders did not ensure the quality of teaching was good enough, with teaching observation notes failing to identify “significant weaknesses”.

However, inspectors also found that safeguarding arrangements were “effective” and tutors had “positive relationships” with apprentices.

A recently appointed board of trustees was “appropriate”, but too new to have any impact on the standards of training, they said.

Ofsted found it was making “reasonable progress” during a monitoring visit on the provider in September 2022. Its report was largely positive, praising the “well-planned curriculum” and the range of methods used to ensure apprentices understand what they were taught.

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