AAC2022, Apprenticeships

Low apprenticeship achievement rates will not impact Ofsted grades, chief inspector promises

'Our framework does not require inspectors to use achievement rates to make a judgement'

'Our framework does not require inspectors to use achievement rates to make a judgement'

21 Mar 2022, 17:02

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Training providers will not be dealt low Ofsted grades just because their achievement rates have declined, the chief inspector has promised.

Amanda Spielman told FE Week’s Annual Apprenticeship Conference this afternoon that the watchdog’s new inspection framework “does not require inspectors to use achievement rates to make a judgement”.

Her assurance came hours after the government’s director of apprenticeships, Peter Mucklow, warned the sector that officials “will not be satisfied” with the level of apprenticeship achievement rates when they are published in the coming days.

Spielman said she was aware that the pandemic has caused more apprentices than usual to go beyond their planned end date or even out of funding.

“It’s understandable that many of you are concerned about the impact of this on your achievement rates and how this might affect inspection judgements,” she told delegates.

“Achievement rates are important. Apprentices want to pass their qualification as it is often a passport to their next steps – and that’s a good thing. But please be assured, the framework does not require inspectors to use achievement rates to make judgement.”

The chief inspector continued: “We will not be making judgements of ‘requires improvement’ or ‘inadequate’ just because your achievement rates have declined during the pandemic.

“What we will want to hear about, and see evidence of, is how your teams of mentors, coaches and trainers are working with apprentices and employers to reorganise training. It’s this that will keep current apprentices making good progress, and get the apprentices who are past their planned end date, or out of funding, through their end point assessment.

“It could mean additional or refresher training, or some reorganisation of responsibilities at work. The outcome that we will be looking for is apprentices who have the skills and knowledge to achieve their qualification. 

“Similarly, if achievement rates were poor before the pandemic, perhaps as a result of a poorly planned and taught curriculum, we will want to know what it is you are doing to improve the curriculum and how you know this is working.”

Apprenticeship achievement rates dropped slightly from 64.8 per cent in 2018/19 to 64.2 per cent in 2019/20. However, they were removed in February due to an “error” and will be republished in the coming weeks.

The rates have not been published at institution level for the past two years owing to the pandemic and will not return until 2021/22.

However, while provider-level achievement rates will not be published this year, they will still be shared with providers and Ofsted privately.



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