A fifth of new apprenticeship training providers have made "insufficient progress" when it comes to the delivery of training, according to Ofsted.
By the end of November 2018, Ofsted had published more than 90 reports from monitoring visits to new apprenticeship providers that started delivery after the introduction of the register of apprenticeship training providers (RoATP) in March 2017, according to a blog by the inspectorate's specialist adviser for apprenticeships, Chris Jones.
Mr Jones reveals that, of these providers, 20 per cent were deemed to have made "insufficient progress" in at least one area. Some 63 per cent had made "reasonable progress" in all three themes, and the remaining 17 per cent of providers had received at least one judgement of "significant progress".
The figures are similar to those outlined in Ofsted’s annual report published in December, which revealed that, up to the end of August, "just under a fifth" of new providers were making insufficient progress in at least one area.
In the blog, Mr Jones writes: "From the monitoring visits so far, we have found a wide variety in the quality of apprentices’ training."
Why is Ofsted carrying out visits to new providers?
Initially, 1,708 providers were approved to deliver apprenticeships on the RoATP. By December 2018 this figure had risen to 2,571.
In November 2017, HM chief inspector Amanda Spielman announced that inspectors would carry out early monitoring visits to a sample of new apprenticeship providers. Usually, new providers are inspected by Ofsted within three years of them starting education delivery. However, because of the large number of new apprenticeship training providers and a “potential risk to quality”, Ofsted decided to inspect some new providers early.
In September 2018, the Department for Education agreed to provide additional funding to Ofsted to enable it to carry out monitoring visits to all new apprenticeship providers. Now Ofsted will carry out a monitoring visit to all newly funded apprenticeship training providers that have been delivering level 2 to 5 apprenticeships since April 2017. This visit will normally be within two years of them starting to deliver funded-training. They will then have a full inspection normally within two years from when Ofsted publish their monitoring visit report.
In November 2018, the Education and Skills Funding Agency confirmed that all providers would have to reapply to be part of a new register with more stringent quality controls for entry. Providers will now be required to prove that they have actively traded for 12 months, are financially stable and are able to provide apprenticeship training, before they apply, rather than when they begin delivery. A three-month trading history requirement for supporting providers has been retained to enable new providers to build up a delivery track record
What happens at a monitoring visit?
Monitoring visits for new providers are different from full and short inspections. They normally take place over two days and inspectors do not cover all aspects of the inspection framework. Inspectors make progress judgements on three themes:
- Leadership – How much progress have leaders made to ensure that they meet all the requirements of successful apprenticeship provision?
- The quality and outcomes of training – What progress have leaders and managers made to make sure that apprentices receive high-quality training that leads to positive outcomes?
- Safeguarding – How much progress have leaders and managers made in ensuring that safeguarding arrangements are effective?
A provider is deemed to have made insufficient progress when it takes slow or insubstantial action to help apprentices to progress.