Degree apprenticeships: How confident is Ofsted?

Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman says the principles of good apprenticeship provision apply at all stages
10th November 2020, 12:23pm

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Degree apprenticeships: How confident is Ofsted?

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archive/degree-apprenticeships-how-confident-ofsted
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There is confidence in Ofsted inspectors' ability to inspect degree apprenticeship providers from April 2021, Ofsted chief inspector's Amanda Spielman has said.

Speaking in front of the House of Commons Education Select Committee today, Ms Spielman said the principles of what made a good apprenticeship applied at all ages.

She said: "I'm very confident there. We already inspect apprenticeships up to level five, we've got a well developed model for doing this. When the levy presented a really big expansion in the world of apprenticeships of two or three years ago, one of the things I did was to put in place early new provider monitoring visits for apprenticeships to make sure we really understood what was happening.

"Of course, apprenticeships change slightly in their character depending on the age, and experience of the people who are going through them. Apprenticeships for 16-year-olds look and feel a bit different from apprenticeships at level six and seven, but the concept of the principles of what is a good apprenticeship [...] applies at all ages." 

Currently, Ofsted inspects apprenticeship training provision at levels 2 to 5. However, from 1 April 2021, Ofsted is to become the single body responsible for the inspection of the quality of all apprenticeship training.

In September, education secretary Gavin Williamson sent a letter to Ms Spielman in which he said it was essential to maintain momentum so that every apprenticeship provided "the high-quality work-based training necessary to meet the needs of employers and support individuals to progress in their careers".


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Adding a level of bureaucracy?

Tom Hunt, MP for Ipswich, said there was a "degree of anxiety" about this change within the sector, with providers being worried that it may "add a level of bureaucracy and and confusion to the situation". 

Ms Spielman said that the decision for Ofsted to inspect degree apprenticeship providers was a "shift of responsibility" and not a new level of accountability.

She said: "We are very much working with the sector to discuss these anxieties, but to be clear, it's a shift of responsibility for inspection from the Office for Students to Ofsted, it's not the introduction of something for the first time.  

"I very much recognise that that some apprenticeships, especially at higher levels, are essentially part of a professional training programme where there is a long established professional body through which the training model has been is carried out, and which has various sub-quality assurance mechanisms so I really understand that we're dealing with with some with some significant sort of players with a great deal of quality here, it's not a blank sheet of paper."

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