Online provider bites back at Ofsted after scathing report

Inspectors claimed to have found a series of funding rule breaches

Inspectors claimed to have found a series of funding rule breaches

2 Nov 2022, 12:27

ofsted

A new provider that delivers healthcare apprenticeships wholly online has hit out at Ofsted’s conduct and expertise after inspectors claimed to have found a series of funding rule breaches.

The watchdog said apprentices at Care Int Limited, who mostly work for staff agencies and are on zero hours contracts, are not in appropriate employment and fail to work the hours required for an apprenticeship.

Ofsted even allegedly found cases where people do not recognise that they are on an apprenticeship programme with the London-based training provider.

The vast majority of apprentices also “complete their studies in their own time”, contrary to funding rules.

Inspectors said too many apprentices are unsure when they started, when they will complete or what level of programme they are on.

Ofsted judged the provider to be making ‘insufficient progress’ across the board in an early monitoring visit report published yesterday. The provider has now been suspended from starting new apprentices by the Department for Education.

‘They were shouting. It was so dramatic.’

But Care Int Limited disputed the watchdog’s findings. Speaking to FE Week, the provider’s department head of apprenticeships Nikky Emelike said she was “shocked” that Ofsted reported apprentices completing their studies in their own time – saying this was a “miscommunication”.

She also claimed that the provider’s apprentices are in appropriate employment and that while they work with agencies that do employ people on zero hour contracts, the apprentices themselves are not.

Emelike also complained about the conduct of Ofsted’s visit, claiming that inspectors were “shouting” and throwing “temper tantrums”.

Care Int Limited was established a decade ago and also acts as a recruitment agency for the health and social care sector. It first gained a direct contract to teach apprenticeships in March 2020.

The provider was delivering online-only provision to almost 70 apprentices in the health and social care sector across eight different apprenticeship standards.

Ofsted said that leaders and managers do not complete “adequate checks” on the quality of the programme, and do not use their systems effectively to check that apprentices have received the required online learning to contribute to their off-the-job training.

The watchdog also raised issues about unreliable commitment statements and poor safeguarding policies.

Ofsted rejected Care Int Limited’s challenge.

‘It was a terrible experience for a new training provider’

Emelike’s said she was “disappointed” with this decision and the final report, but her main grievance was the behaviour of inspectors.

She told FE Week: “We are just a small organisation, the first time being visited by them, so we thought there was going to be more assistance, but what we got were temper tantrums. It was a terrible experience for a new training provider. We made our point clear about everything, we have been doing quality training, we have been doing everything to adhere to the apprenticeship guidelines.

“The main issue was the attitude – they were shouting, we were shocked by what we got from them. It was so dramatic. We had to stop and say ‘okay, thank for you coming’ because it ended up being so bad.”

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One comment

  1. Ofsted inspection of Independent Training Providers has become a joke. They lack expertise in the sector and should stick to their experience of inspecting childcare providers and schools. DfE is using them to withdraw contracts from Training Providers.