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Ofsted: training providers outperforming colleges in inspections, figures suggest

Independent training providers are outperforming FE colleges and employers in inspections, a new analysis of Ofsted grades suggests.

The analysis, carried out by the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP), shows that in 2013/14, 65 per cent of ITPs gained grades 1 (outstanding) or 2 (good) compared to 61 per cent of FE colleges and 40 per cent of employer providers.

However, FE colleges outperformed ITPs in the top grade, with 6 per cent rated as outstanding compared to 2 per cent of ITPs.

The trend is repeated in other categories too. For example, in teaching and learning 68 per cent of ITPs gained grades 1 and 2 compared to 62 per cent of FE colleges and 47 per cent of employer providers.  

In apprenticeships, the percentage of ITPs gaining grades 1 or 2 for overall effectiveness was 63 per cent, while for colleges it was 55 per cent and employers 40 per cent.

Stewart Segal, chief executive of the AELP, said the figures confirm ITPs deliver increasingly high quality programmes.

“This is not just about comparing different types of providers because we know that delivery models are complex and many apprenticeship programmes, for example, are delivered in partnership between FE colleges and ITPs,” he said.  

“However, in many meetings that I attend many people make the assumption that ITPs are driven by profits and surpluses.  

“The evidence we find is that delivering a sustainable economic model is only possible when they deliver high quality programmes.”

Mr Segal said he hoped the evidence would encourage the government and ministers to make sure they did not have any preconceptions about different types of providers and that they gave recognition to all types of providers in what was a “very diverse” education and training system.

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