Preparing for Ofsted: Why providers need to be assertive about progress and destination


Progress and destination are important for Ofsted, but can be complicated to show in apprenticeships. Richard Moore shares how providers can respond.

Preparing for Ofsted: Why providers need to be assertive about progress and destination

It’s an issue that former HMI Richard Moore raised in our recent webinar. He questioned whether ‘destination’ is an accurate word to use in the world of apprenticeships:

“It leads to some misunderstanding by Ofsted inspectors who forget that we’re not running a sixth form college or university. I think Ofsted inspectors need to understand that the typical destination for an apprentice isn’t necessarily progressing onto another course or going off and doing something completely different, like it would be in a college,” he said.

Being assertive with inspectors

Richard’s advice is to not be afraid to be assertive with Ofsted inspectors, because you’ll likely be more of an expert in apprenticeships than they are. 

“If 98% of your learners at the point of inspection have stayed in their current role, that’s just how it is – you can’t force them into a variety of destinations. I would argue strongly with an inspector who wants to see some learners going into higher education and some into further education,” Richard said.

“I think sometimes inspectors fail to understand that some learners are just happy to get their level two or three qualification. I work with a number of providers who run the level two passenger bus driver apprenticeship, and I’ve talked to a lot of drivers who’ve done that apprenticeship and are adamant they want to stay a bus driver.”

Showing evidence of progression

Even if most of your learners continue in the same role, there are still some useful ways to demonstrate learner progress to Ofsted. Here are Richard’s top three tips.

        1. Collect evidence of internal progression

In addition to external progression, keep a record of any internal progressions between different levels of apprenticeships. It sounds obvious, but Richard explained that he’s worked with a number of providers that didn’t have that evidence or weren’t able to find it for their Ofsted inspection.


        2. Keep learner “good news” stories

You might have a few learners that keep in touch, who you use as anecdotal case studies. Even if the contact is sporadic and the learners are from completely different standards, this can be powerful evidence for Ofsted. 

“If you’ve got some good news stories, like learners who have gone on to great things or been promoted very rapidly, keep a little folder if you can. That’s great evidence to be able to show an inspector and I’m sure anyone can think of a few learners who fit that category,” Richard said.

      3. Ask inspectors to interview ex-learners

Richard’s biggest tip is to arrange for some ex-learners to speak to one of the inspectors, rather than just focusing on current learners. It’s a fantastic way to showcase learners who’ve gone on to be very successful and had a positive training experience with you.

“Get half a dozen learners together and say to the lead inspector, ‘we’d like you to interview these six learners and the impact that our training had on their careers’. The Ofsted lead inspector can’t really say no to that – you’re boxing them very nicely into a corner by making the suggestion.

“Lots of my providers have said at the end of their inspections that doing this has really played in their favour. It was something that the inspectors really liked, and they had a lot of fantastic feedback from those ex-learners.” 

Get Ofsted-ready with Bud 

Listen to our full conversation with Richard for more expert insights on preparing for your next Ofsted inspection and what might catch you out. Catch up with the webinar on demand here or follow us on LinkedIn to be the first to hear about future webinars and events.