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Making sure you are Ofsted ready

Here at Bud, our number one aim is to help you deliver outstanding training. We strive to offer everything you need to create a professional end-to-end process that works for providers, employers and learners alike.

An added bonus is that when Ofsted pays you a visit, you can be confident that the evidence they need to see has been collected and is easily accessed within a single system.

Recently, we studied a number of Ofsted reports (not those of our own clients) and pulled out the comments made by inspectors about areas deemed to need improvement. We were able to identify some of the most common concerns and are pleased to see that we can help training providers avoid many frequent pitfalls.

So, if you’ll be preparing for Ofsted soon, it might interest you that these are some of the common issues picked up by the inspectors. If you’re using Bud already, we hope to give you peace of mind that you already have everything under control.

Enrolment processes and early assessment of learners

We found that in a number of reports it was suggested that key skills, such as those in Maths, English and ICT, were not adequately checked at the start of training programmes or courses. In some cases this led to tutors being unable to set work at a sufficiently challenging level for every learner. And in others it would have been impossible to track progress adequately without this validated start point.

How Bud can help

Bud’s Skill Scan technology automatically draws down all available certification information for a new learner when they enrol. It then integrates with bksb to assess and record Maths and English levels*. This allows trainers to ensure learners are placed at the right level for them.

Skill Scan not only allows both provider and learners to gain maximum benefit from their placement while correctly reporting progress, it also ensures your ESFA funding claim is accurate for each learner. This is vital from a compliance perspective.

* available with Bud Premium

Monitoring attendance

Poor learner attendance was a focus of a number of the Ofsted reports we reviewed. Inspectors noted that teachers were failing to promote and reinforce targets for attendance and, as a result, too few learners were attending “regularly enough to make good or better progress in their learning.”

How Bud can help

Attendance is monitored within the Bud system, with dashboards and reports available to tutors and managers. This enables them to check attendance levels and immediately see which learners need help to get back on track.

Progress reporting

The subject of monitoring and reporting progress appeared numerous times across the batch of reports we analysed. In fact, it was by far the most common complaint from inspectors.

The common theme really does seem to be a lack of available information. Trainers are unable to recognise and support those learners who need it most. Ultimately this leads to a high drop-out or failure rate, all due to a lack of ongoing knowledge about progress.

What Ofsted observed

Leaders, managers and staff do not use data and information well enough to identify priorities to improve the provision.

The difficulty of governance due to a lack of sufficient information and key performance indicators was also noted.

How Bud can help

This is an area where Bud can make a truly impressive difference. From accurate skills assessment on enrolment, to capturing data from every learner every day in its extensive data warehouse, Bud can help.

Training providers can integrate the system with their preferred reporting tools or access ready made dashboards offering at-a-glance RAG (red, amber, green) views of progress, at a cohort or an individual level. This means a greater ability to recognise and support those learners who are most in danger of falling behind or not performing to their potential.

Consistency of delivery

Another area highlighted was consistency of training and programme delivery. Issues here generally related to poor planning, poor teaching, a lack of meaningful assessment and a poor approach to quality assurance. Inspectors felt this lack of consistency led to some candidates failing to achieve the progress of which they were capable. This meant that some training providers were failing to learn and improve themselves.

How Bud can help

By using Bud’s Programme Design Suite, you can ensure consistent high-quality delivery of training to every learner. The system allows you to define your core curriculum in a way that demonstrates to Ofsted that you’re doing everything you should be doing, in a format that they’ll be delighted to receive. Bud facilitates the uploading of pre-existing programmes to save time or ‘off-the-shelf’ templates to get you started on new ones. Either way, your training will be standardised, consistent and professional no matter who is delivering it or which teaching approaches they are using.

Feedback to students

Following on from programme delivery, we picked up a few comments about the lack of feedback provided to learners. These suggested that tutors were not giving the right levels of detailed feedback along with clear guidance about precisely what needed to be done to improve work or assessment grades.

How Bud can help

Bud collates all feedback and, indeed, all conversations between staff and learners to ensure there is a single record of everything that has been said and done. This gives both parties a record to refer back to and also means Ofsted can get a feel for those less formal interactions that often provide stretch and growth opportunities for learners.

Even better, Bud enables learners to instantly see exactly where they are in their programme by viewing the percentage they’ve completed. They can also arrange progress reviews at the push of a button, either remotely or face to face, with evidence captured by digital signature after the event.

The future

So next time you’re facing the often-dreaded Ofsted inspection, take a look back through these five common pain points and see how you think you’re likely to measure up. And remember, if you’d like to know more about how Bud can support you in any of these areas, we’re always on hand to help.

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