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Wave of Companies Join Apprenticeship Register.

A wave of organisations have been added to the refreshed register of apprenticeship training providers, while nearly 20 have been removed – in its first major update in almost 12 months.

Forty three additional providers have been allowed on by the Education and Skills Funding Agency, including 25 main providers, 14 supporting and four employers.

Nineteen providers, meanwhile, have been removed from the register, most of which were main providers.

Eleven have changed from being main providers to being supporting, so they can only work as subcontractors; and two have made the opposite journey.

This update follows a year-long review, started in October 2017, that led to new “stringent and challenging entry requirements” for the register.

These requirements were brought in by the ESFA after FE Week uncovered instances where companies run by their sole director from their home address were being given access to millions in apprenticeship funding, despite having zero experience of delivering government-funded programmes.

Analysis by this publication in December found that almost a third (580) of providers on the register did not deliver any apprenticeships in 2017.

But under this stricter regime, applicants had to have been trading for 12 months at least in order to be eligible, and provide a full set of accounts to be on the register.

Subcontractors delivering less than £100,000 of provision a year also needed to register.

Additionally, the agency will throw providers off the register if they go 12 months with no delivery after joining the register.

Getting onto the register, then, will be a relief for many providers, especially after most were left hanging by the government for months following their applications in December.

This is despite the ESFA planning to tell providers if they have been successful 12 weeks after their bid.

Since October 2018, only 23 other companies have been added to the register – all of whom were supporting providers.

The full list of new providers is below:

Re-Applying for RoATP
May 9, 2019

You will need to update your contact details in Bravo to make sure you receive an invitation to re-apply for the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers.



Getting On the New (tougher) #RoATP

The new Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers has now been launched and providers currently on the Register will be invited to reapply before the year is out.

So, what do you need to think about before submitting your application? SDN Associates (and former ESFA Senior Managers) Karen Kelly and Anna Sutton give us their top 5 tips:

But first, what’s different about the new Register?

In short, it’s a more robust and stringent process. There are new questions and a greater emphasis of examples, so the ESFA can assess readiness to deliver.

The ESFA also want to see more evidence and detail – in particular, your policies, processes and procedures, such as an Employer Engagement process that wasn’t a requirement previously.

So, with that in mind, here are our top tips:

1. Make sure your application tells your story

The RoATP application is all about getting across how you will deliver excellent apprenticeship training for apprentices and businesses again and again. This means it’s important to articulate confidently why your apprenticeship service deserves to be on the Register. In the skills and education sector, we can often undersell ourselves – this application is not the place to be reserved, it’s your chance to shout about the great work you do, so you don’t miss out on the opportunity to deliver apprenticeships.

Having said that, it’s even more important to be sure your story is ready to be heard. By that we mean, don’t apply to the Register if you can’t meet all the criteria that is asked of you. Read the application thoroughly and use it to reflect on your practice and get your business up-to-speed before applying.

2. Collect examples of good practice

Throughout the application form you are asked for examples that demonstrate your good practice. This means it doesn’t matter if you’re re-applying to the Register or a complete newbie, you should be confident you have case studies that showcase your readiness before applying.

SDN has already supported several training providers through this process, and one of the first things we say to our clients is to read and understand what is required from the application before applying. It may be wise to spend the next three months collecting evidence and case studies before putting your first application attempt together.

3. The devil is in the detail

Throughout the application you are asked to submit various policies and procedures. It’s easy to go through these like a checklist… ‘Health & Safety policy? – Check!’, ‘Safeguarding policy? – Check!’, but do those documents tease out the information that the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) is looking for?

This is especially significant to applicants completely new to apprenticeships. You may have been successfully delivering commercial training for decades and have an up-to-date Health & Safety policy, but it should specifically reference apprentices in your application so the ESFA is confident you can support this type of learner sufficiently.

4. Live your practice and policies

If you do not have specific policies that you need for the application, it can be tempting just to buy an off-the-shelf document from a consultant or a bid writer. Whilst working with a third party like SDN can be a huge help… please, please, please make sure you have direct input into what is written about your business.

If you submit policies and procedures in your application that sound great, but do not reflect the processes you have in place, this can come back to bite you. Yes, you may get on to the Register in the short-term, but if there are problems with one employer or one apprentice and you have not followed the procedures you laid out in your application – the ESFA is quite within their right to ask questions as to why.

Make sure your application reflects what is happening on the ground and isn’t a wish list. If you’re not delivering the way the application expects you to, get ready first.

5. Get external support if you’re unsure

Whether you currently deliver apprenticeships, or have aspirations to do so – getting on, or maintaining your status on the Register could be critical to the success of your future plans – so it’s worth investing in!

You get two attempts per year at submitting a RoATP application. This means you can have a go at applying and still not be ruled out, but it can be a stressful period for you and your staff if you don’t get through first time.

For those that prefer the reassurance of a critical friend, why not work with an external organisation to critique your application or even help assess your readiness and guide you through the process? This could be another training/employer provider or an industry expert’s RoATP application service.

Former ESFA Senior Managers, Karen Kelly and Anna Sutton, Associates, SDN

Redesigned RoATP to Open 12th Decmber 2018

The following article by Jude Burke was published by FE Week.

Almost a third of providers on the government’s register did not deliver any apprenticeships last year, FE Week analysis has revealed – the day before the redesignedRedesigned RoATP to open tomorrow despite no delivery from 1 in 3 approved providers register re-opens for applications.

There were 1,787 providers on the register of apprenticeship training providers in 2017, of whom 580 – or 32 per cent – had no starts by the end of 2017/18, based on year-end figures
 published by the Department for Education last week.

Of those, 506 were main providers, representing 32 per cent of the 1,587 on the register last year.

The proportion of employer providers not delivering was higher, at 37 per cent – or 74 out of 200.

The Education and Skills Funding Agency confirmed last month that the redesigned RoATP will reopen on December 12, and remain open indefinitely thereafter.

Under the new, stricter rules, first revealed by Keith Smith, the ESFA’s direct of apprenticeships (pictured above) in October, providers that go 12 months without any delivery are likely to be kicked off the register.

All providers will be asked to reapply, but Mr Smith said the agency would segment them into groups – with those deemed “high risk” being asked to re-apply first.

“We want to focus the re-application process on those providers that are potentially not delivering, and on those that we think will struggle to pass our new requirements,” he told the Association of Employment and Learning Providers autumn conference on October 30.

Other changes to the register include greater scrutiny of providers, who must have traded for at least 12 months and provide a full set of accounts before applying.

The DfE’s latest statistics include starts broken down by provider for the first time.

They reveal that colleges have been hit hardest by the move to levy funding, with a five percentage point drop in market share and a 35 per cent fall in starts – compared with a 24 per cent drop across the whole of the sector.


RoATP: Tougher Rules to Ensure High Quality Apprenticeships

The following article was written by the ESFA.

We have published new, tougher rules for providers and employers applying for and securing a place on the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers (RoATP).

The strengthened approach will mean only ‎providers that meet the tougher registration requirements can access government funding. The‎ move follows a review of the RoATP, taking on board valuable feedback from provider representative bodies, providers and employers, and forms part of the Government’s continued commitment to improving the quality of apprenticeship training.

To secure a place on the RoATP, providers and employers must now prove they have actively traded for 12 months, are financially stable (evidenced by their financial information), skilled and are able to deliver quality apprenticeship training, before they apply, rather than when they begin delivery. The 3-month trading history requirement for supporting providers has been retained to enable new providers to build a delivery track record.

Acting on feedback from the sector, the register will open for applications on 12 December 2018 and will remain open throughout the year, with no closing date. This means providers can apply when they feel they are ready and can prove they have the appropriate capacity, capability and skills in place to meet the registers robust entry requirements. Two applications in a 12 month period will be allowed. ‎

ESFA is also considering the introduction of provider earnings limits and in the coming months, will be seeking views from the sector on these. The limits will ensure control, not just for quality reasons but the potential size Anne milton100x100and expansion of providers.

Anne Milton, Skills and Apprenticeship Minister said:

“Apprenticeships are giving people of all ages and background the chance to gain the skills they need to secure a good job and progress in their careers.

“It is vital that the training apprentices are receiving continues to be of the highest quality. Our new tougher approach builds on the robust checks already in place to provide even greater assurance that public money for apprenticeships is being used effectively.

“I would like to thank all those who took the time to respond to our review. Your feedback has been invaluable and has helped us to shape this new process.” Read more

Education Committee Report 2: Kick Poor-Performing New Providers off RoATP
October 8, 2018

FE WEEK reports that poor-performing apprenticeship providers should be kicked off the government’s register – not just barred from taking on new starts, the education select committee has urged. 

It made the call in its new report, ‘The apprenticeships ladder of opportunity: quality not quantity’, based on the findings of its recent inquiry.

The report outlines a series of recommendations aimed at improving the quality of apprenticeships and making them more accessible to people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

“We recommend that new providers judged by Ofsted to be making insufficient progress should be removed from the register of apprenticeship training providers,” it said.

“A provider whose only mark of distinction is a failing grade from Ofsted has no business providing government-funded training.” Read more

ViewPoint: RoATP Consultation & Refresh: What Happens Next by Jim Carley
August 6, 2018

It’s been nine months since the most recent RoATP application window shut, and we’ve since been waiting with bated breath for news about how the register may re-open and be refreshed.

RoATP has been widely criticised for enabling too many providers to register, creating an administrative burden for both the ESFA and Ofsted alkeJim Carley, Managing Director, Carley Consult Ltd

Too many seemingly new and untested providers qualified whilst, in contrast, other high performing and outstanding providers struggled to navigate the process. All the talk now is about how the ESFA intend to consolidate the register, but that may be a far harder exercise to pull off than it sounds.

The ESFA have indicated that they will launch some form of consultation exercise in terms of how the register may be refreshed, with a view to potential new application window later in the year.

This may all hinge, however, on how in-depth such a consultation exercise proves to be in practice, and how significant the scope of the resultant refresh might be. So, let’s consider a few of the square pegs which the ESFA may potentially have to fit into round holes.

Square Pegs, Round Holes

First off, we need to remember that RoATP is a procurement tool, whereby registration is a prerequisite to receive apprenticeship funding. RoATP has to operate within the parameters of the Public Contract Regulations 2015. This means that commissioning must be open, impartial and transparent.

Read more

36 Organisations Added to RoATP
April 26, 2018

On the 16th April 2018, 36 organisations listed below were added to RoATP, 1 was added in March.

The application process is under review and will not officially reopen until September.

Ukprn Name ProviderType StartDate
10002718 GOLDSMITHS’ COLLEGE Main provider 16/04/2018
10003692 KIRKLEES METROPOLITAN COUNCIL Main provider 16/04/2018
10005959 SOMERSET COUNTY COUNCIL Main provider 16/04/2018
10006399 SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL Main provider 16/04/2018
10006894 THOMAS TELFORD SCHOOL Main provider 16/04/2018
10007167 UNIVERSITY OF YORK Main provider 16/04/2018
10007806 UNIVERSITY OF SUSSEX Main provider 16/04/2018
10027700 SIRIUS ACADEMY WEST Main provider 16/04/2018
10034178 CRISPIN SCHOOL ACADEMY Main provider 16/04/2018
10034267 RUNWELL COMMUNITY PRIMARY SCHOOL Main provider 16/04/2018
10034865 DOVE HOUSE SCHOOL Main provider 16/04/2018
10035498 COLCHESTER COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL FOR GIRLS Main provider 16/04/2018
10039377 HANDSWORTH WOOD GIRLS’ ACADEMY Main provider 16/04/2018
10045987 HOLY FAMILY CATHOLIC PRIMARY SCHOOL Main provider 16/04/2018
10045988 OAKTHORPE PRIMARY SCHOOL Main provider 16/04/2018
10046414 BRIGHT FUTURES EDUCATIONAL TRUST Main provider 16/04/2018
10048061 THE WHITE HORSE FEDERATION Main provider 16/04/2018
10052833 THE KEMNAL ACADEMIES TRUST Main provider 16/04/2018
10052835 NORTH EAST LEARNING TRUST Main provider 16/04/2018
10053211 HENRY MAYNARD PRIMARY SCHOOL Main provider 16/04/2018
10053217 GLF SCHOOLS Main provider 16/04/2018
10054050 SOUTH FARNHAM EDUCATIONAL TRUST Main provider 16/04/2018
10055126 HARRIS FEDERATION Main provider 16/04/2018
10055135 THE BOURTON MEADOW EDUCATION TRUST Main provider 16/04/2018
10055198 BEDFORDSHIRE SCHOOLS TRUST LIMITED Main provider 16/04/2018
10055220 THE CAM ACADEMY TRUST Main provider 16/04/2018
10055363 THE GORSE ACADEMIES TRUST Main provider 16/04/2018
10055364 LANDAU FORTE CHARITABLE TRUST Main provider 16/04/2018
10055367 EAST MIDLANDS EDUCATION TRUST Main provider 16/04/2018
10057353 TEACH POOLE Main provider 16/04/2018
10057399 XAVIER CATHOLIC EDUCATION TRUST Main provider 16/04/2018
10059102 INSPIRING FUTURES THROUGH LEARNING Main provider 16/04/2018
10059545 THE SIGMA TRUST Main provider 16/04/2018
10065300 KING EDWARD VI ACADEMY TRUST BIRMINGHAM Main provider 16/04/2018
10066301 WEST EXE SCHOOL Main provider 16/04/2018
10043617 TECHNIQUE LEARNING SOLUTIONS LTD Main provider 08/03/2018