Ofsted accused of flawed inspection after provider receives ‘inadequate’

Quest Vocational Training Limited say they 'vehemently dispute' the contents of the report

Quest Vocational Training Limited say they 'vehemently dispute' the contents of the report

7 Mar 2022, 16:02

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A training provider that received an ‘inadequate’ rating in its latest Ofsted inspection has accused the regulator of conducting a “procedurally flawed” inspection and a report that contains “factual inaccuracies”.

Quest Vocational Training Limited (QVT) was inspected by Ofsted on November 9, 2021. Inspectors published their findings last week, saying that the provider was inadequate in three out of five areas. 

Ofsted said that leaders at QVT had not made sure that all apprentices received their entitlement to off-the-job training and that in some cases, apprentices had to complete their studies in their own time, contrary to funding rules. 

Inspectors also found that “far too many QVT apprentices, particularly the majority who work in adult care settings, are not making good progress at learning enough new knowledge or participating wholeheartedly in their programmes of learning”.

However, the provider has hit back, saying it will challenge the findings of the report as it faces being kicked out of the apprenticeships market under government rules.

“We are currently engaging with the formal processes set out by Ofsted with regards to challenging this report, the contents of which we vehemently dispute,” a spokesperson for QVT told FE Week.   

“We are disappointed with the comments made within the report, the factual inaccuracies contained within along with a disproportionate emphasis on matters which were beyond our control through the pandemic.”

QVT is a training provider based in Ferndown in Dorset. It provides training for apprentices employed in health and social care, residential care, early years practitioner and, most recently, information technology technical sales (IT technical sales). 

At the time of the inspection, QVT had 675 apprentices, around two thirds of whom were studying an adult care programme at level 2 to 5. 

Some 148 apprentices had self-declared learning difficulties or disabilities and almost all apprentices were adults over 18 years of age. 

Ofsted said that too many QVT apprentices are not making good progress with their learning.

“For example, apprentices are not consistently improving their English and mathematics skills, largely because they do not have enough direct support from trainers to enable them to use the online learning system effectively,” the report said. 

Ofsted inspectors claimed that apprentices’ knowledge of fundamental British values, and the risks associated with radicalisation and exploitation are not routinely revisited by trainers during the apprenticeship. 

“This means apprentices do not always remember or understand fully, such knowledge. Young apprentices have an insufficient knowledge of what sexual harm is and what constitutes a healthy relationship. Apprentices do not recall being provided with information, advice and guidance about their career paths during their programme.”

Inspectors found that leaders at QVT do not ensure that they meet the principles and requirements of an apprenticeship. 

“They have not made sure that all apprentices receive their entitlement to off-the-job training. In some cases, apprentices must complete their studies in their own time, contrary to funding rules,” the report said. 

According to the report, leaders have not ensured that the training for adult care apprentices is good enough. 

“While QVT staff are passionate about the adult care sector and understand well the challenges faced by apprentices and employers due to Covid 19, they have not planned, adjusted, or implemented the curriculum well enough,” the report added. 

Ofsted said that training for care apprentices is “based too much on training them to pass units of their qualification, rather than developing new knowledge, skills and behaviours over time”. 

“Too many apprentices who already have extensive experience of the care sector are not learning anything new,” inspectors said. 

One issue identified in the report was that most care apprentices do not enjoy learning online, which is their main form of teaching. 

The report added that trainers provide apprentices with online learning because employers are not providing them with sufficient time off work to participate in face-to face learning sessions.

Ofsted’s findings were rejected by QVT.

“The report follows an inspection that we consider was procedurally flawed and on that basis the report is an inaccurate and unfair reflection of the services that we provide,” the QVT spokesperson told FE Week. 

“Our staff and the employers we work with will not recognise us from the comments made within the report. We will continue to challenge the report through the appropriate legal mechanisms and until such time as the challenges have been satisfactorily concluded, we are not in position to comment further.”

An Ofsted spokesperson told FE Week: “We do not comment on individual complaints, but we take all complaints received seriously and carefully consider whether any action is required before we publish our inspection report.”

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