Ofsted Watch: Apprenticeship provider ‘requires improvement’ amid flurry of monitoring visits

An independent learning provider has been given a grade three rating across the board in its first Ofsted inspection as the results for five more early monitoring visits of apprenticeship providers have been published.

The only full Ofsted inspection published this week saw Encompass Consultancy gaining a ‘requires improvement’ judgement in every possible category.

The Hull-based provider, which has delivered apprenticeships as a subcontractor since 2013 but secured its own contract to deliver non-levy funded apprenticeships in the last academic year, was criticised by inspectors for being “slow” to make improvements.

The report said that managers were “not sufficiently self-critical” in assessing the quality of the provision provided, and found the current self-assessment plan to be “overgenerous” and not paying enough attention to the delivery of the two subcontractors it works with.

However, the report did note that directors had “recently” recognised the issues and appointed a new management team to implement improvements, and said “sensible steps” had been taken to focus the curriculum on management apprenticeships and employability training.

Inspectors also found that “too many” adult learners on courses funded through advanced learner loans “make slow progress”, with just over half completing their courses and achieving their qualifications within the planned timescales in 2016/17.

They also warned of “significant gaps” in the progress of different groups of adult learners, including between men and women and between Asian and white British learners.

When assessing apprenticeships at the provider, Ofsted warned that the quality of teaching, learning and assessment was currently “not good enough” to allow apprentices to make the progress expected of them.

Five more early monitoring visit reports were also published this week as part of the inspectorate’s scrutiny on new apprenticeship providers.

Securitas Security Services (UK) was found to be making ‘insufficient’ progress in two of the three themes looked at by inspectors, who warned that the provider did not have enough assessors to meet the needs of its 650 apprentices.

“Most apprentices do not have a choice about enrolling for the apprenticeship training programme. As a result of this compulsory training, apprentices do not enjoy their learning or understand its nature,” the report said.

The Mitre Group also received two ‘insufficient’ ratings from Ofsted this week, and was particularly criticised for its lack of off-the-job training and the quality of apprenticeship provision.

Under new rules from the Education and Skills Funding Agency, any provider with an ‘insufficient’ rating in at least one theme will be banned from taking on any new apprentices – either directly or through subcontracting agreements – until the grade improves.

However, there was better news for the three other providers to have monitoring visits published this week. Darwin Training, ABM Training (UK) and icount Training were all found to be making ‘reasonable’ progress in the themes looked at by inspectors, and Darwin Training was commended for making ‘significant’ progress in ensuring safeguarding is effective.


Independent Learning ProvidersInspectedPublishedGrade
icount Training14/08/201817/09/2018M
Encompass Consultancy 07/08/201817/09/20183
Mitre Group 09/08/201818/09/2018M
ABM Training (UK) 23/08/201819/09/2018M
Darwin Training 22/08/201821/09/2018M


Employer providers InspectedPublishedGrade
Securitas UK16/08/201819/09/2018M


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