The training provider in charge of Premier League football club academies has scored its third successive ‘outstanding’ Ofsted result.
Inspectors lauded the Football Association Premier League Limited for its “ambitious and well-structured curriculum” in a July inspection, which was published today.
The provider delivers the level 3 sporting excellence professional apprenticeship at all 20 Premier League teams and six further clubs that were recently relegated to the English Football League. At the time of the inspection, it was delivering apprenticeships to 266 academy football players between the ages of 16 and 18.
David Rainford, the Premier League’s head of education and academy player care “welcomed” the report, and said the league is “committed to elite player development and personal growth, supporting young people to be the best version of themselves both on and off the pitch”.
A ‘clear mission’
Ofsted praised the provider for its “logical […] ambitious and well-structured curriculum”, while also focusing on its “outstanding” staff development programme. The provider scored ‘outstanding’ ratings across the board, resulting in its third overall ‘outstanding’ rating in a row since 2010.
Inspectors said leaders and staff at the individual clubs and Premier League itself have a “clear mission to help apprentices develop the knowledge skills and behaviours they need to succeed in their everyday lives and to pursue their football careers”.
“Staff know apprentices very well and understand the challenges that they face on their journey to becoming professional footballers, as many staff have been through the academy system themselves,” the Ofsted report added.
Due to that, a “high number” of apprentices get a professional contract when they finish their apprenticeship and end their studies as “mature young adults, ready and highly motivated for the next steps in their career”.
Inspectors also noted a focus on curriculum improvement, adding that leaders take “effective steps” to reassess the study programmes.
For instance, they have worked with a national charity to place a greater emphasis on the mental well-being of apprentices.
The provider has also developed an “outstanding programme of staff development” to make sure teaching and training is at a high quality.
That means apprentices “thrive in calm, purposeful and highly disciplined environments” and “consistently” live up to high expectations of them at work.
‘A very strong culture of safeguarding’
Coaches at the provider “thoroughly assess” their learners’ progress during the apprenticeships by using videos of first-team players, which Ofsted said “rapidly develops” their training awareness.
Inspectors also praised the “very strong culture of safeguarding” at all the academies, through annual external checks on their safeguarding strategies.
Apprentices are further exposed to “a rich and comprehensive personal development and life-skills curriculum” including social media, financial management and consent.