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Apprenticeship Providers: What You Need to Know About Ofsted
July 2, 2019
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One of the topics keeping new apprenticeship providers awake at night is the prospect of Ofsted inspection. The regime for inspection of new apprenticeship providers changed in 2018, here’s a summary of what you can expect. (Article first published in December 2018)

If you’re a new training provider directly funded for delivering apprenticeships from or after April 2017, rather than the usual full or short inspection, you should expect a new monitoring visit from Ofsted.

When?

Normally within 24 months of the start of the funding, that’s when you first start delivering funded learning not the date you first got onto the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers which might have been much earlier.

How?

You’ll be given two working days’ notice. The visits normal last up to two days and the report will be published on https://www.gov.uk/find-ofsted-inspection-report.

Inspectors will make judgements against different themes to the previous full or short inspections. They are:

“How much progress have leaders & managers made to ensure….?

  • the provider is meeting all the requirements of successful apprenticeship provision.
  • apprentices benefit from high-quality training that leads to positive outcomes for apprentices
  • effective safeguarding arrangements are in place.
  • learners benefit from high-quality adult education that prepares them well for their intended job role, career aims and/or personal goals” (only applicable to providers delivering adult education).

Rather than being graded from grade 1: Outstanding to grade 4: Inadequate, monitoring visits use a new judgement grading:

  • insufficient progress: progress has been either slow or insubstantial or both, and the demonstrable impact on learners has been negligible.
  • reasonable progress: action taken by the provider is already having a beneficial impact on learners and improvements are sustainable and are based on the provider’s thorough quality assurance procedures.
  • significant progress: progress has been rapid and is already having considerable beneficial impact on learners.

These judgements are awarded against each of the four themes as well as an overall judgement being awarded.

What happens after your monitoring visit?

You can expect your first full inspection within 24 months of the publication of the report from your monitoring visit.

Unless:

  1. You have had one or more ‘insufficient progress’ judgements which results in full inspection within 6 to 12 months or:
  2. The effectiveness of your safeguarding arrangements was awarded an ‘insufficient progress’. This results in one further monitoring visit to review only safeguarding within four months of the visit, rather than publication of the report as that may be some weeks after the visit.

If your only insufficient progress judgement relates to safeguarding and following the second monitoring visit you receive a judgement of reasonable or significant progress for safeguarding, you will not then have an overall judgement of insufficient progress. The full inspection will then take place within 24 months from the publication of the first monitoring visit report.

Why the change?

This change seems to have been brought about as a response to three key factors:

  1. With the proliferation of apprenticeship providers since the launch of the ROATP, many of whom have no track record of apprenticeship delivery, there have been increasing concerns about assuring the quality of these new providers. Ofsted inspections are an evidence-based process, using achievement rates as a key measure of quality. With apprenticeships varying in length from 1-4 years, that achievement data just isn’t available for new providers.
  2. The change also recognises the transition from Frameworks, which are made up of component aims which are achieved throughout the duration of the apprenticeship, to Standards which may contain no component qualifications.
  3. Ofsted seems to be shifting its focus from achievement rates and exam results to measuring outcomes for learners. These might include securing employment or promotion to a different role, progression to further learning as well as softer outcomes such as increased confidence. This is a much fairer basis on which to judge the effectiveness of provision because it takes into account the distance a learner has travelled, rather than relying heavily on achievement data.

Ofsted plan to launch a consultation in January 2019 to overhaul the Common Inspection Framework (CIF), although we already know that the biggest change is towards an outcomes-based approach. 

Other things to consider 
  • What are “….all the requirements of successful apprenticeship provision”?   Have a look at the Common Inspection Framework as well as the  Institute for Apprenticeships (IfA) Quality Statement which sets out  the requirements of an apprenticeship. How do you prove that you have the processes and controls in place to ensure that all the requirements are met? Don’t forget that they are looking at progressyou have made to ensure that you can do it, not necessarily whether you have already achieved it. For example, for off-the-job learning, they will  look at  the quality of the training being delivered, rather than the detail of exactly how many hours each learner has spent off-the-job. It’s only if they think that you are delivering less than the 20% requirement or crucially that the quality of delivery is lacking, that they may look at recorded actual hours.  
  • Progress: how do you manage exceptions? How do you identify and support learners who are behind target – or just as importantly, how do you add challenge and stretch for learners who are racing ahead? To measure progress against targets you need to know your learner’s starting points based on an in-depth initial assessment and understand and record their personal and learning goals. Eportfolio tools such as eTrack can help you monitor each learner’s progress.
  • Is your safeguarding policy effective? This doesn’t just mean having a safeguarding policy in place. Does everyone in the organisation know about the policy and how it relates to them, from apprentices to the CEO? And can you prove what you have done to ensure that they know about it, understand it and know what to do if they identify a safeguarding issue? If you’ve had any safeguarding issues, how have these been handled, and do you have records of this?

With FE Week recording that “a quarter of apprenticeship providers that have received early-monitoring visits from Ofsted so far have been rated ‘insufficient progress’”, preparing for Ofsted should be a top priority for new providers.

Universities Need to Address the ‘Stark Disparities’ in Graduate Outcomes
July 1, 2019
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New data shows the wide variation in graduate outcomes depending course and institution.

Universities need to address the ‘stark disparities’ that see students get significantly different earnings and employment outcomes at different institutions despite doing the same subjects, the Education Secretary has said (26 June).

New data released today show the wide variation in average earnings and employability by course and institution 1, 3 and 5 years after graduation, and reinforces to prospective students completing their A Levels this week that where they choose to study really matters.

Damian Hinds has praised the universities that are leading the way for student outcomes, including future earnings and employability, but expressed his concerns at those delivering similar courses and not yielding the same results.

Last month Mr Hinds expressed concerns over courses not offering value for money for students and taxpayers, and today’s data shows that some universities aren’t giving students the same positive outcomes that other students on similar courses benefit from. Previous research by the IFS has shown that variation in outcomes cannot be solely attributed to differences in students’ prior attainment and social background.

Expected salaries are only one of the drivers when it comes to choosing a university and course. Today, Mr Hinds has highlighted the importance of courses that contribute to the UK’s rich and diverse culture and society.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds said:

Studying at university has the potential to expand horizons, enrich understanding and transform lives, and we have more data available than ever before to help students make the right decision to achieve that. We know that potential earnings is a driver for many when it comes to choosing a university, and today’s data will help thousands choose the right course for them.

Of course, future earnings aren’t the only marker of a successful degree, we need to also look at employability, social impact and the important cultural value which enriches our society.

What I am concerned about though is how a course at one university can generate drastically different outcomes and experiences compared to another one offering the same subject, whether that’s potential earnings, employability and even teaching quality.

It cannot be right that students studying the same subjects at different institutions, and paying the same fees, are not getting the same positive outcomes which are evidently achievable. All students should feel they are getting value for money and the stark disparities between some degrees show there are universities that need to improve and maximise the potential of their courses.

Last year analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies showed that women who study at the lowest returning course earn on average 64% (approximately £17,000) less than the average degree after graduation. For men, this figure is 67% (approximately £21,000) less.

This month a student survey from the Higher Education Policy Institute showed that more than a third (36%) of students said they would have made a different post-18 choice if they were given the opportunity again. These options included choosing a different institution (12%) or course (8%), both (6%), or choosing an alternative route such as an apprenticeship (4%).

The Government has transformed student choice by increasing the data available and the data today will help students opening their A Level results on 15 August find the right course and institution for them.

Two new apps launched earlier this year, backed by Government funding, which use graduate outcomes data to help prospective students make better choices about where and what to study.

ThinkUni, created by AccessEd, works as a personalised digital assistant to access information, while TheWayUp! created by The Profs, is a game where players can simulate career paths.

Universities Minister Chris Skidmore said:

Deciding where and what to study at university will be one of the biggest choices young people will make, so we want students and their parents to have the best possible information about higher education.

This data is an invaluable tool to help prospective students make the right choice for them and know what to expect from the course they choose. I hope the next generation of students will take advantage of all the data this government has made available to help them start their career on the right path.

The department’s flagship rating system, the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF), which awards universities with a Gold, Silver or Bronze rating encourages high-quality teaching and provides another tool to help students make informed decisions on their post-18 options.

Last month Philip Augar’s independent panel for the post-18 education and funding review published its recommendations to the Government, with a focus on delivering value for money for students and taxpayers. The Government will now consider the panel’s recommendations before concluding the review at the Spending Review.

The universities regulator, the Office for Students (OfS), has placed a condition of registration on providers to deliver successful outcomes for all of their students. The OfS has the power to take action where a provider is not meeting this criterion, including imposing sanctions, and in the most serious cases deregistration.

It’s Their Outcome, Not Ours by Laura Lee
September 14, 2018
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Each new client brings their own life experiences, expectations, and desires to the coaching session.
The client is looking to uncover a future outcome that is different from their present state. The role of the career professional is to help the client identify their desired future, address potential concerns, and set goals to achieve desired outcomes. As career professionals, it can be easy for us to start inserting our own perspective but we need to keep our focus on our client’s vision. It is our responsibility to help the client determine what they feel are the right actions to achieve their goals. Career professionals do this by being outcome focused, staying curious about the client’s perspective, and only when asked, offer advice.
Outcome Focused: caring most about the what, not the how Read more
The Difference Between Goals, Objectives and Outcomes
August 31, 2018
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The following article was written by Sharlyn Lauby, an HR professional turned consultant.

During this year’s Association for Talent Development (ATD) International Conference and Expo, I had the opportunity to attend a pre-conference workshop on improving human performance.

One of the big takeaways from the workshop was the difference between goals, objectives, and outcomes. I know how easy it is to use these terms interchangeably.

And at first glance, there might not be anything wrong with using the words as synonyms. They’re all focused on achievement, right? Not a big deal. But then, maybe it is important to differentiate them. Here are the definitions of each with an example:

Goals are an observable and measurable end result having one or more objectives to be achieved. Goals are typically broad in scope. For example, a goal might be for an organization to “increase profits”. Or an individual might have a goal to “become certified”.

Objectives are a specific result you’re trying to achieve within a time frame and with available resources. Read more