Ofsted Watch: Royal Navy apprenticeships are ‘outstanding’

Everything about skills training at the Royal Navy is shipshape and Bristol fashion, after Ofsted judged the employer provider to be ‘outstanding’ across the board.

In a glowing report published on April 26, the education watchdog said nearly all of the Navy’s 5,000 apprentices make “exceptional progress towards becoming experts in their job roles”.

They become “excellent engineers, caterers, administrators and Royal Marines” after receiving “exemplary” practical training that helps them to work in “highly challenging situations to a precise standard”.

Naval Service recruits are enrolled onto intermediate apprenticeship programmes in subjects such as manufacturing technologies, ICT, hospitality and catering, public services, transportations and operations and sport and fitness.

They benefit from theory lessons that “link well to working practice on ships and submarines”.

This prepares apprentices “well to live and work on ships of all types, including the newest vessels such as HMS Queen Elizabeth”, inspectors said.

Staff expertly equip apprentices to become resilient and well-prepared service personnel

“Staff expertly equip apprentices to become resilient and well-prepared service personnel who can work in very challenging environments,” they added.

“Trainers employ highly effective coaching and mentoring techniques that help apprentices to fulfil their potential. Apprentices work to extremely high standards; engineers expertly solve complex electrical problems and administrators use highly effective methods to communicate in demanding environments.”

While no other Ofsted reports published this week reached the heights of the Royal Navy’s, two maintained ‘good’ grades.

The first was Project Management (Staffordshire) Limited, an independent provider whose senior leaders have created a “positive culture that supports some of the most disadvantaged learners in their community to access education and employment, promoting social mobility”.

To make the jump to ‘outstanding’, Ofsted said it needs to ensure that learners in all programmes “develop further their English and mathematics skills and pass qualifications in these areas well, including at level one and above”.

The other grade two report came in the form of a short inspection for Coulsdon Sixth Form College, based in London.

“Staff are strongly committed to maintaining the quality of the programmes,” inspectors said.

“Leaders and managers have ensured that the curriculum offered meets the diverse needs of individuals, by introducing more vocational courses to develop the skills learners need to progress to higher education or apprenticeships.”

Three other Ofsted reports were published this week, and all of them came back with ‘requires improvement’ ratings.

Alpha Care Agency Limited, a private provider in London, was given a grade three in its first ever inspection.

Staff are strongly committed to maintaining the quality of the programmes

Ofsted criticised leaders and board members who “do not know enough” about the quality of teaching, learning and assessment.

“Too few assessors provide students with clear and constructive feedback that shows them how to improve their practical skills and theoretical knowledge of care settings,” inspectors said.

Meanwhile, Lancaster and Morecambe College was given a grade three for the second time in a row.

“Leaders, managers and governors do not have sufficient oversight of the progress that current learners studying vocational courses and apprentices make on their programmes,” inspectors said.

They added that teachers and assessors “do not consistently identify the skills, knowledge and experience that learners and apprentices have at the start of the programme in order to plan their learning diligently”.

The last grade three was given to The Brooke House Sixth Form College in London.

Governors were criticised for not challenging leaders to “bring about rapid enough improvements in the quality of teaching, learning and assessment, and student achievements”.

They added that students’ attendance and punctuality at lessons “remain poor” and in most subjects, “too few students attend regularly enough to make good or better progress in their learning”.


GFE CollegesInspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
Lancaster and Morecambe College13/03/201824/04/201833


Sixth Form CollegesInspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
The Brooke House Sixth Form College13/03/201824/04/201833


Independent Learning ProvidersInspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
Alpha Care Agency Limited19/03/201827/04/20183N/A
Project Management (Staffordshire) Limited21/02/201825/04/201822


Employer providersInspectedPublishedGradePrevious grade
Ministry of Defence (Navy)08/03/201826/04/201812


Short inspections (remains grade 2)InspectedPublished
Coulsdon Sixth Form College20/03/201827/04/2018

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