Is the prospect of an Ofsted inspection putting you into a state of mild panic? We asked our expert, Marina Gaze, former Ofsted director, for her advice on how to prepare. Here’s her summary of what to expect.
All monitoring visits to new providers joining RoATP currently focus on the same three themes. These themes are:
1) How much progress have leaders made in ensuring that the provider is meeting all the requirements of successful apprenticeship provision?
2) What progress have leaders and managers made in ensuring that apprentices benefit from high quality training that leads to positive outcomes for apprentices?
3) How much progress have leaders and managers made in ensuring that effective safeguarding arrangements are in place?
On monitoring visits inspectors do not grade in the same way they would on a full inspection. Instead they make a judgement about the progress the provider has made against each of these themes. The three judgements they can make are: significant progress, reasonable progress or insufficient progress
‘ … new providers who have not had an inspection before are surprised by how thorough Ofsted are and by how much inspectors find out in a short space of time. Being prepared and able to produce the right evidence quickly so they can show all apprentices are making good progress is the key challenge for new providers. ‘
The best provision:
In the best provision leaders and managers ensure that employers understand and fully meet the requirements of apprenticeship standards for on- and off-the-job training. All apprentices receive at least their full entitlement of work time devoted to good quality off-the-job learning. Staff track and record learning systematically so that they can make sure all apprentices are making good progress, gaining new knowledge and learning new skills. Apprentices benefit from a well-planned programme of practice end-point tests that prepare them well for their final assessments. Staff give apprentices detailed and constructive feedback on their performance in these practice tests, so that they know how to improve. Pass rates for those apprentices who have already taken mock assessments, functional skills examinations and units of their qualification are very high. Many apprentices are working at distinction level.
The weaker provision:
In the weaker provision, apprenticeships are still too much like the old Train to Gain model, with apprentices not learning or developing new knowledge, skills and behaviours. Staff still see themselves as assessors and have not had CPD or support to help them plan and facilitate learning. Sometimes there are not enough provider staff, so apprentices have insufficient contact with provider staff and make slow progress. Apprentices are not set challenging targets or enough work to help them progress and when they do submit work they do not receive developmental feedback to help them improve further.
Other things to consider:
To measure progress against targets you need to know your learner’s starting points based on an in-depth initial assessment like CognAssist. And you need to record and understand their progress.
CognAssist can help providers to accurately identify each learners’ starting points, give learners the tools to help themselves, and help staff structure teaching and learning in such a way that it will build on those starting points and stretch and challenge each learner, and use appropriate and frequent assessment to check learning and to plan further learning.
If you’d like to speak to one of our experts to learn more about how CognAssist can help you identify, support and fund learners with additional learning needs, feel free to get in touch.