Ofsted watch: Premier League and national laboratory providers score well over festive period

A provider to the Premier League has scored well while a national laboratory training firm has done even better over a quiet festive break for Ofsted reports.

The only two other reports published during that period for FE were less impressive: FBP Ventures made ‘insufficient progress’ in one area; while HOB Salons failed to improve on a grade three.

But Skills Republic, an independent training provider, was found to have made ‘reasonable progress’ in three areas of an early monitoring visit concerning its provision to 52 apprentices.

The majority undertake apprenticeships in hospitality, project management and accounting, while 12 have recently started the level 3 sporting excellence professional standard.

A large majority of Skills Republic’s apprentices work with a single employer in the Premier League football sector – the provider’s website lists Chelsea football club as a client – and Ofsted reported their programmes “align very closely” with employers’ needs and students’ career aims.

A strong relationship between managers and apprentice supervisors allows employers to contribute to both the development and delivery of programmes, and learners develop transferable skills and behaviours for “a range of challenging and fast-paced work environments”.

Fellow independent provider NPL Management outpaced Skills Republic by making ‘significant progress’ in two areas of an early monitoring visit, which covered its provision of the level 3 metrology technician standard to 12 apprentices.

The standard teaches apprentices how to perform measurement tasks and offers “significant benefits” for apprentices at the provider, which is based at the National Physical Laboratory which sets measurement standards on things like medicine dosages and climate change data for the UK.

Learners have access to “good employment prospects” once they are qualified, as well as “valuable” jobs during training, inspectors wrote.

“They find the work fulfilling and interesting and relish working on, for example, research projects with universities,” the report continues, while employers also value the opportunities NPL makes available for its employees.

Employer provider HOB Salons, which operates 25 hair salons in London and the home counties, failed to make the cut for a higher grade than its existing ‘requires improvement’ rating.

It delivers to 72 apprentices in hairdressing, as well as four traineeships, but inspectors found leaders and managers “have not done enough to ensure that the quality of education is good” across all of their provision.

But, they remarked, leaders have made gradual improvements to the training and have “effectively” improved the quality of training in salons through more regular tuition.

Also, they have worked with salon managers to ensure learners are fully supported to cope with the challenges of a full-time apprenticeship programme; but with not enough impact on stemming the number of apprentices leaving the programme early.

FBP Ventures, an independent provider, received one ‘insufficient progress’ rating for its provision to 38 apprentices as it was found most were on zero-hours contracts and “too many” of them do not get paid for all the off-the-job training they undertake.

But it was also reported that the off-the-job training was an “effective programme” designed by tutors and employers, and managers understand end-point assessment for apprentices so most aspire for either a merit or a distinction grade.

Independent Learning Providers Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
FBP Ventures Ltd 21/11/2019 02/01/2020 M N/A
NPL Management Ltd 03/12/2019 21/12/2019 M N/A
Skills Republic Ltd 05/12/2019 23/12/2019 M N/A


Employer providers Inspected Published Grade Previous grade
HOB Salons 05/12/2019 24/12/2019 3 3

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