Pearson's apprenticeship provision has been graded inadequate by Ofsted, with inspectors concluding that its leadership had "allowed the quality of the provision to decline significantly".
The report, published today, concludes that there are no key strengths in the education giant's apprenticeship provision. Pearson provides apprenticeships for around 80 members of staff through its subcontractor, Pearson TQ,
The provider was rated good in its previous inspection in 2012, but the latest highly critical report attacks its managers for failing to maintain the strengths, and improve on the weakensses, identified at its last inspection.
"Senior leaders and managers have failed to place sufficient emphasis on the key components of the apprenticeship programme. Managers were unable to provide any evidence that apprentices receive the required off-the-job training, and the prioritisation of English and mathematics is insufficient. As a result, apprentices who are rapidly approaching their expected completion date have yet to receive any training in these areas," the report says.
The inspection, carried out between 8 and 10 December 2015, found that effectiveness of leadership, quality of teaching, personal development, behaviour and welfare, outcomes for learners, and apprenticeship provision were all inadequate.
“Senior leaders do not receive sufficient detailed information on the quality of provision with which to make decisions and hold managers and subcontractors to account," the report said, while also targeting "strategic planning and target setting" as an area that was also underdeveloped.
The report slammed Pearson's safeguarding measures for apprentices, saying: “Safeguarding arrangements are not effective; leaders and managers do not know if all apprentices are safe.”
A Pearson spokesperson said: "Pearson TQ took over this service in summer 2015 and had developed and started implementing a clear action plan with leaders and managers in Pearson before the inspection which led to this report. This has already seen some learners complete their programmes. We take this report very seriously and are making further improvements in our programme so that our apprentices receive the highest possible standard of learning and support.
“We are disappointed with this report and will be challenging some of the comments, which we feel do not accurately reflect the improvements that have already been made since Pearson TQ took over management of the service."