UK Skills Academy chooses Bud Training Management
Ofsted’s revised inspection framework, which came into force in September 2019, puts a greater emphasis on the substance of the curriculum and takes a learner-centric approach. Chris Jones, explains what this looks like in practice.
First of all, inspectors will expect to see detailed initial assessment against the requirements of the standard, so that we all know where the apprentices started from. In order to meet requirements that are set by the ESFA and the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, it’s important to identify the knowledge, skills and behaviours that the apprentice already has in relation to the apprenticeship that they are applying for.
For a new starter that has very little experience – perhaps a school leaver or an adult who’s been unemployed for some time, then it’s more or less a blank slate. But it’s slightly different for apprentices who are already existing employees, or those who are moving from a level two to a level three apprenticeship within the same occupational route. Then, providers really need to think about what they need to be taught or what skills they need to develop in order to demonstrate a higher level of capability from what they know already.
Exactly, because one of the things inspectors look for is progress over time. For some apprentices, this might be slow and steady. For others with more experience, knowledge and skills behind them, then we might expect a more rapid rate of progress if the apprentices are on the same level of standard. So, it’s about putting the learner at the centre of the curriculum design, and layering knowledge and skills to allow the learner to become more expert in aspects of their job.
On inspections where a new provider is deemed to be inadequate or requiring improvement, what inspectors most often see is that apprentices don’t know they’re on an apprenticeship. Learners may not be fully aware of what the end-point assessment might look like, because nobody’s thought about it. Or, the teaching and learning that’s taking place is really covering the skills and knowledge that they already have.
Assuming that providers have looked very carefully at what apprentices can do already, it might be appropriate to reduce the length of the apprenticeship for some learners to account for what they already know. Quite often, inspectors find that providers haven’t done that, and all the apprentices on the standard are doing the same thing at the same time. And yet, some have been employed for five years and already have knowledge and experience behind them. In those instances, an 18month apprenticeship, for example, could probably have been reduced to 12.
Conversely, , inspectors find that some providers rush apprentices onto the next level of apprenticeship when the job they’re doing doesn’t enable them to demonstrate the knowledge, skills and behaviours required at that higher level. This means they could be judged as either requiring improvement or inadequate because the curriculum is not appropriate for those people on that programme.
Inspectors have no fixed view about how delivery takes place – whether it’s face to face, distance learning, on-line or blended. What they are concerned with is the learning that takes place, not the type of delivery. Inspectors want to see that teachers, developers, mentors and coaches have the appropriate subject knowledge and occupational experience to be able to teach and train apprentices appropriately. In assessing the quality of education, inspectors also look at its impact – do all the apprentices achieve the qualification, and go on to get a job (or sustain the job they are in?). By the end of the apprenticeship, apprentices should be able to meet all the competencies required in the framework or standard and be able to operate independently and fluently.
Ideally, they will have a really clear view about what’s next for them. The next steps don’t have to be immediate, but it might be that through developing new knowledge and skills they are elevated to higher levels of responsibility or even leaving their current employer for a new job. What we are looking for is progress within the occupational route. Do apprentices, for example, know about the opportunities available to them, in time, with their current employer? Do they know what opportunities open up for them elsewhere in their chosen sector because of what they have learned?
That’s really about having systems in place to give managers the information they need to know that the programme is going to plan. That the apprentices are on track; that teachers are carrying out assessments at an appropriate time to ensure that apprentices stay on track; and that additional support systems kick in when apprentices have fallen behind.
A good example is apprentices who have been furloughed because of coronavirus – or who needed a break in learning for other reasons, like maternity or paternity leave. Can they get the support they need to do some of their study work at home? Will they get additional support to catch up when they come back? Does the curriculum plan account for the time apprentices might need to consolidate their learning, and develop the appropriate occupational skills related to what they learned when away from work?
If non-specialists are delivering the teaching or training, then inspectors would be looking at what staff development leaders and managers have put in place to ensure that staff have the skills and knowledge they need.
Within leadership and management there’s also a section around governance. Developing governance, from an apprenticeship and employer perspective, is about identifying who has line of sight at the highest level to what’s going on in the apprenticeship space, and how it is held to account – because obviously, apprenticeships and training may well be a very small subset of what the employer does and is removed from the main line of business. For example, how are they asking questions about the return on investment the apprenticeship is providing over time? What benefits does the apprenticeship give to the organisation? How do they know that the training is of the highest quality?
With the new inspection framework, Ofsted wanted to get away from the absolute focus on data and to refocus on the curriculum and learning. While it may seem that data presents a very clear numerical view of how well a provider is doing, that data is historic data. The validated assessment data for 2018/19 is only being published around now. It doesn’t tell you enough about what’s happening in real time.
The new methodology is more of a ‘deep dive’ – inspectors look at fewer apprentices in more detail to glean a much clearer picture about the reality of the experience for current apprentices.
We’ve seen a cycle of underfunding in further education over time, which impacts on the quality of what providers are able to do. We need to ensure that providers have the resources they need and the capacity to deliver the 20 per cent off-the job training required.
Too low a level of funding could lead providers towards minimised approaches to teaching and learning, which doesn’t enable apprentices to develop the wider range of knowledge, skills and behaviours that they need. Instead, you encourage ‘surface learning’, which allows learners to scrape through the endpoint assessment. What we really want to see is deep learning: where apprentices can draw upon and apply their learning to solve problems and work independently.
The Levy is a force for good because it’s changed the conversations that we’re having about apprenticeships. When aligned with the introduction of apprenticeship standards, as a nation it has meant that we now have access to higher quality training.
But it’s not a perfect system, because we need to address the access to apprenticeship funding for SMEs. Since the introduction of the Levy, there has been a dramatic fall in the number of level two and three apprenticeships being taken up. I’m also very concerned about a sharp decline in the number of 16 to 19-year olds participating in apprenticeships. The pandemic has brought this into much sharper relief. There’s been talk of an ‘apprenticeship guarantee’ for young people. It will be interesting to see what that looks like in practice, and whether that guarantee will work for those young people who leave school without five good GCSEs.
Our economy is largely comprised of SMEs. If we are to mitigate skills shortages, then we need the involvement of the whole economy, not just the big players, to ensure that we develop the skills we need as a nation to thrive in the future. This is not about setting two parties up against each other within apprenticeships; but if there is to be a ladder of opportunity, then it needs to be available to all – regardless of the size of employer, regardless of starting points, regardless of social class.
If we look at the government’s industrial strategy, it identifies health and social care, STEM, digital, and construction as key areas for development for our economy. And yet, the vast majority of higher-level apprenticeships are in business administration.
With a publicly funded apprenticeship scheme, I would argue that there should be a closer alignment between industrial strategy and delivery.
Complete the form below and we’ll contact you to discuss your requirements.
Thank you for your interest. We will contact you soon.
1.1 These terms and conditions shall govern your use of our website.
1.2 By using our website, you accept these terms and conditions in full; accordingly, if you disagree with these terms and conditions or any part of these terms and conditions, you must not use our website.
1.3 If you register with our website, submit any material to our website or use any of our website services, we will ask you to expressly agree to these terms and conditions.
2.1 This document was created using a template from SEQ Legal (http://www.seqlegal.com).
3.1 Copyright (c) 2017, Bud Systems Limited.
3.2 Subject to the express provisions of these terms and conditions:
(a) we, together with our licensors, own and control all the copyright and other intellectual property rights in our website and the material on our website; and
(b) all the copyright and other intellectual property rights in our website and the material on our website are reserved.
4.1 You may:
(a) view pages from our website in a web browser;
(b) download pages from our website for caching in a web browser;
(c) print pages from our website;
(d) stream audio and video files from our website, subject to the other provisions of these terms and conditions.
4.2 Except as expressly permitted by Section 4.1 or the other provisions of these terms and conditions, you must not download any material from our website or save any such material to your computer.
4.3 You may only use our website for your own personal and business purposes, and you must not use our website for any other purposes.
4.4 Except as expressly permitted by these terms and conditions, you must not edit or otherwise modify any material on our website.
4.5 Unless you own or control the relevant rights in the material, you must not:
(a) republish material from our website (including republication on another website);
(b) sell, rent or sub-license material from our website;
(c) show any material from our website in public;
(d) exploit material from our website for a commercial purpose; or
(e) redistribute material from our website.
4.6 We reserve the right to restrict access to areas of our website, or indeed our whole website, at our discretion; you must not circumvent or bypass, or attempt to circumvent or bypass, any access restriction measures on our website.
5.1 You must not:
(a) use our website in any way or take any action that causes, or may cause, damage to the website or impairment of the performance, availability or accessibility of the website;
(b) use our website in any way that is unlawful, illegal, fraudulent or harmful, or in connection with any unlawful, illegal, fraudulent or harmful purpose or activity;
(c) use our website to copy, store, host, transmit, send, use, publish or distribute any material which consists of (or is linked to) any spyware, computer virus, Trojan horse, worm, keystroke logger, rootkit or other malicious computer software;
(d) conduct any systematic or automated data collection activities (including without limitation scraping, data mining, data extraction and data harvesting) on or in relation to our website without our express written consent;
(e) access or otherwise interact with our website using any robot, spider or other automated means, except for the purpose of search engine indexing;
(f) violate the directives set out in the robots.txt file for our website; or
(g) use data collected from our website for any direct marketing activity (including without limitation email marketing, SMS marketing, telemarketing and direct mailing) without our express written consent.
5.2 You must not use data collected from our website to contact individuals, companies or other persons or entities.
6.1 We do not warrant or represent:
(a) the completeness or accuracy of the information published on our website;
(b) that the material on the website is up to date; or
(c) that the website or any service on the website will remain available.
6.2 We reserve the right to discontinue or alter any or all of our website services, and to stop publishing our website, at any time in our sole discretion without notice or explanation; and save to the extent expressly provided otherwise in these terms and conditions, you will not be entitled to any compensation or other payment upon the discontinuance or alteration of any website services, or if we stop publishing the website.
6.3 To the maximum extent permitted by applicable law and subject to Section 12.1, we exclude all representations and warranties relating to the subject matter of these terms and conditions, our website and the use of our website.
7.1 Nothing in these terms and conditions will:
(a) limit or exclude any liability for death or personal injury resulting from negligence;
(b) limit or exclude any liability for fraud or fraudulent misrepresentation;
(c) limit any liabilities in any way that is not permitted under applicable law; or
(d) exclude any liabilities that may not be excluded under applicable law.
7.2 The limitations and exclusions of liability set out in this Section 12 and elsewhere in these terms and conditions:
(a) are subject to Section 12.1; and
(b) govern all liabilities arising under these terms and conditions or relating to the subject matter of these terms and conditions, including liabilities arising in contract, in tort (including negligence) and for breach of statutory duty, except to the extent expressly provided otherwise in these terms and conditions.
7.3 To the extent that our website and the information and services on our website are provided free of charge, we will not be liable for any loss or damage of any nature.
7.4 We will not be liable to you in respect of any losses arising out of any event or events beyond our reasonable control.
7.5 We will not be liable to you in respect of any business losses, including (without limitation) loss of or damage to profits, income, revenue, use, production, anticipated savings, business, contracts, commercial opportunities or goodwill.
7.6 We will not be liable to you in respect of any loss or corruption of any data, database or software.
7.7 We will not be liable to you in respect of any special, indirect or consequential loss or damage.
7.8 You accept that we have an interest in limiting the personal liability of our officers and employees and, having regard to that interest, you acknowledge that we are a limited liability entity; you agree that you will not bring any claim personally against our officers or employees in respect of any losses you suffer in connection with the website or these terms and conditions (this will not, of course, limit or exclude the liability of the limited liability entity itself for the acts and omissions of our officers and employees).
8.1 Without prejudice to our other rights under these terms and conditions, if you breach these terms and conditions in any way, or if we reasonably suspect that you have breached these terms and conditions in any way, we may:
(a) send you one or more formal warnings;
(b) temporarily suspend your access to our website;
(c) permanently prohibit you from accessing our website;
(d) block computers using your IP address from accessing our website;
(e) contact any or all of your internet service providers and request that they block your access to our website; and/or
(f) commence legal action against you, whether for breach of contract or otherwise.
8.2 Where we suspend or prohibit or block your access to our website or a part of our website, you must not take any action to circumvent such suspension or prohibition or blocking (including without limitation creating and/or using a different account).
9.1 We may revise these terms and conditions from time to time.
9.2 The revised terms and conditions shall apply to the use of our website from the date of publication of the revised terms and conditions on the website, and you hereby waive any right you may otherwise have to be notified of, or to consent to, revisions of these terms and conditions.
10.1 You hereby agree that we may assign, transfer, sub-contract or otherwise deal with our rights and/or obligations under these terms and conditions.
10.2 You may not without our prior written consent assign, transfer, sub-contract or otherwise deal with any of your rights and/or obligations under these terms and conditions.
11.1 If a provision of these terms and conditions is determined by any court or other competent authority to be unlawful and/or unenforceable, the other provisions will continue in effect.
11.2 If any unlawful and/or unenforceable provision of these terms and conditions would be lawful or enforceable if part of it were deleted, that part will be deemed to be deleted, and the rest of the provision will continue in effect.
12.1 A contract under these terms and conditions is for our benefit and your benefit, and is not intended to benefit or be enforceable by any third party.
12.2 The exercise of the parties’ rights under a contract under these terms and conditions is not subject to the consent of any third party.
13.1 Subject to Section 12.1, these terms and conditions, together with our privacy and cookies policy, shall constitute the entire agreement between you and us in relation to your use of our website and shall supersede all previous agreements between you and us in relation to your use of our website.
14.1 These terms and conditions shall be governed by and construed in accordance with English law.
14.2 Any disputes relating to these terms and conditions shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England.
15.1 This website is owned and operated by Bud Systems Limited.
15.2 We are registered in England and Wales under registration number 10455960, and our registered office is at 39/40 Berkeley Square, Bristol, BS8 1HP.
15.3 Our principal place of business is at 39/40 Berkeley Square, Bristol, BS8 1HP.
15.4 You can contact us:
(a) by post, using the postal address given above;
(b) by telephone, on the contact numbers published on our website; or
(c) by email, using the email addresses published on our website.