Universities showed off their apprenticeship delivery skills this week, as one was rated ‘outstanding’ while another was judged to be ‘good’ by Ofsted.

It wasn’t so positive for independent providers however, as two were rated ‘requires improvement’ and another was judged to be making ‘insufficient progress’ in its early monitoring visit.

Teeside University was the HE provider to come out with a grade one in all areas, in its first ever inspection of its apprenticeship provision.

It trains nearly 200 level five apprentices and inspectors wrote approvingly of how senior leaders “very successfully” use apprenticeships to provide education for disadvantaged groups in the north east.

Tutors have “excellent” subject knowledge, work with employers to establish an apprentice’s starting point and use their professional experience so apprentices gain an “in-depth” understanding of their subjects.

All apprentices go on to a higher level at their employers, with more responsibility, after they finish their course, while a high proportion of use the academic credits that have been gained through their course to take higher-level qualifications.

Birmingham City University, which has 237 apprentices on mainly health education and life science standards, maintained its grade two in its latest Ofsted report.

Leaders, managers and governors have developed a strategic plan for apprentices, which contributes “effectively” towards meeting the skills gap in the health and social care sector in the West Midlands.

Leaders and managers also promote equality of opportunity and diversity, resulting in few differences in attainment between groups of apprentices.

Lecturers “skilfully” use their up-to-date nursing and clinical skills to relate theory to practice and their passion for the health sector to inspire apprentices.

Their performance was in contrast to the reports on several independent learning providers.

Catalyst Learning and Development Limited, which has 98 apprentices, scored ‘insufficient progress’ in three areas of its monitoring visit, as reported by FE Week on Wednesday.

New London Educational Trust, which has 70 apprentices, received a grade three in its first inspection.

Tutors were found to be not planning lessons to meet the needs of learners well enough, so the more able were being “insufficiently” challenged, while the less able were falling behind.

Phoenix Training Services (midlands) Limited also received a grade three from its first inspection.

Inspectors found its staff do not effectively use information about a learner’s starting point to plan learning, so learners do not develop the essential skills for their course as well as they could.

Exeter Royal Academy for Deaf Education, a specialist college, did worse – it dropped from a grade two to a grade three.

It was found that students do not develop English and mathematical skills in different settings well enough and teachers do not plan to include these skills in those different settings.

Harlow College received good news as it maintained its grade two from Ofsted.

The college, which has 5,900 learners in total, works with a wide range of organisations and employers to meet local and regional skills priorities; for example, at the Stansted Airport campus, which was covered in this week’s FE Week National Apprenticeship Week supplement.

“Governors and leaders have a clear vision and high ambitions for learners and apprentices,” Ofsted said.

“As a result, learners and apprentices make good progress and are successful in gaining employment within their chosen careers.”

In an Ofsted monitoring visit, Highbury College was found to have made reasonable progress in all four areas following a grade three report last year, which saw it drop two grades from ‘outstanding’.

Mentors are being allocated to learners who are at risk of not getting their qualifications because of poor attendance, but attendance at English and maths lessons is at about 12 per cent below that for vocational lessons.

University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust made ‘reasonable progress’ in all three areas of a monitoring visit.

Apprentices are reported to be ambitious, and have the confidence and knowledge they need to become useful members of ward staff.

North East Lincolnshire Council was told to continue implementing measures so it can carry on providing adult and community learning, following a grade four report in 2018.

Last year, inspectors found learners did not attend exams and this year, Ofsted reports learners’ attendance remains too low.


GFE CollegesInspectedPublishedGradePrevious gradeProgress
Harlow College22/01/201906/03/201922 
Highbury College31/01/201906/03/2019MMRRRR


Independent Learning ProvidersInspectedPublishedGradePrevious gradeProgress
New London Educational Trust26/01/201905/03/20193N/A 
Phoenix Training Services (midlands) Limited05/02/201906/03/20193N/A 
Catalyst Learning and Development Limited06/02/201906/03/2019MMIII


Adult and Community LearningInspectedPublishedGradePrevious gradeProgress
North East Lincolnshire Council23/01/201904/03/2019MMN/A


Employer providersInspectedPublishedGradePrevious gradeProgress
University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust06/02/201906/03/2019MMRRR


Other (including UTCs)InspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
Teeside University26/01/201906/03/20191N/A
Birmingham City University05/02/201907/03/201922


Specialist collegesInspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
Exeter Royal Academy for Deaf Education15/01/201904/03/201932

Your thoughts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *