How to collect and prepare data for an Ofsted inspection

All apprenticeship providers produce data. But how can you use it to deliver quality training and demonstrate your results to Ofsted inspectors? 

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All apprenticeship providers produce data. But how can you use it to deliver quality training and demonstrate your results to Ofsted inspectors? 

Delivering high quality, effective experiences for learners is a top priority for all apprenticeship providers. But with multiple learners to manage, how can you be sure that real progress is being made? And how can you prove it when it comes to your Ofsted inspection?

The answer is to be intentional about the way you collect, interpret and use data within your organisation. This helps to inform curriculum development and ensure learners get the support they need to succeed.

In a recent webinar, Paul Warner, R&D Director at The Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP), spoke to former Ofsted HMI Specialist Advisor Dr Chris Jones, and Bud’s Head of Customer Success, Brad Tombling

The webinar covered how to prepare data for Ofsted inspections, and use learner data for curriculum development and assessing learner progression. You can catch up with the highlights and key parts of the discussion below.


Data within the Education Inspection Framework

When it comes to the Education Inspection Framework (EIF), inspectors use validated data before and during an inspection to assess a provider’s performance. This happens at an overall provider level, but they will also drill down into individual subjects and types of provision.

“The validated data allows inspectors to come up with questions that will inform them about what they need to do during the inspection,” says Dr Jones. “It will tell them about the conversation they would have with the nominee during the inspection planning call.”

Judgements aren’t made on data alone, but data does provide evidence of the judging impact of the quality of education. Being able to calculate things like your achievement rate and retention rate is essential.


Using learner data for curriculum development

Data should go further and inform curriculum development too.

“It’s about what we are doing in terms of intent and implementation to ensure that learners and apprentices achieve their best. That they take what you are giving them, the experiences you provide, and help them to make the progress that they should,” says Dr Jones. 

Start by making sure you can quickly and easily calculate your pass rates, retention rates and achievement rates. Then you can use that data to look at curriculum intent and implementation, and ensure you’re taking necessary steps to maintain and improve performance.

Inspectors will look at what you have done to change and improve the curriculum, to improve implementation, and to upskill your staff. If there have been issues in the past, how are you using your data to mitigate them?


Assessing learner progression using data

During an Ofsted inspection, inspectors want to understand the progress learners have made. That’s about more than just passing various tasks and assessments.

“In terms of EIF, the definition of progress is about knowing more and remembering more. It’s about knowledge, skill, application and recall,” says Dr Jones.

“It’s not about progress through a series of units or test points – they’re easy to demonstrate in a data system. It’s about showing how you know that learners know more and remember more.”

And when it comes to individual challenging targets, the data should help provide a picture of what is happening to learners over time.

“An inspector would be interested in how teaching changes and how support patterns change, to enable learners and apprentices to achieve those individual challenging targets,” Dr Jones adds.

Flexible data collection in Bud

Progress is a crucial part of demonstrating the quality of learning being provided. This means it’s important to assess the skills, knowledge and behaviours that a learner brings with them to a programme.

From there, training providers need to be able to collect data about:

  • How quickly or slowly they learn
  • How quickly they acquire and develop their knowledge
  • How quickly they convert knowledge into skills and behaviours

This is where Bud’s flexible data collection, reporting and visualisation tools provide real value for our clients.


The right system for effective data use

Many systems collect data – but the data in itself is not what inspectors are interested in. They want to see what training providers do with that data to improve learning. 

This means that an apprenticeship management system needs to produce reports where training providers can quickly identify and address issues.

How Bud’s data supports individual needs

Bud’s Apprenticeship Delivery Consultant, Brad Tomlin, demonstrated example learner journeys with our visualisation tool, the Skill Scan report. 

This gives an overall score based on learning, skills and behaviours. It can be segmented by trainer, employer, programme or various other filters.

The first example showed a learner who scored six out of 10 at the beginning of their learning journey (where eight suggests a readiness to pass their endpoint assessment). Here, the training provider might consider whether the learner could be on a more challenging programme from the start.

The second example showed a group of learners with four months to go until the end of their programme. The data highlighted that they were underperforming, scoring just four out of 10. 

This knowledge allows the training provider to put extra support in place to help learners get to their desired point.

This kind of reporting and insight is made possible because Bud builds compulsory reviews into the programme. As a result, training providers always have a rich pool of data to draw on to deliver appropriate learning to each apprentice. Read more about Bud’s features here.


Fixed-time terminal examinations

When fixed-time terminal examinations comprise the entire assessment of the course, inspectors won’t look at internal progress and attainment data. 

In these circumstances, data is often used to create “predicted grades” – but these aren’t always accurate compared to grades attained. So can apprenticeship providers ignore progress and attainment data? Not at all. 

Firstly, this data will inform gateway decisions. More importantly, it should inform the decisions you make about curriculum development.

“What are you doing with what you know and how does that impact upon your current learners?” Dr Jones asks. 

“Providers may generate, analyse and interpret performance data. But inspectors will always be looking for the curriculum response – your actions as teachers and leaders as a result of that data.”

How Bud incorporates curriculum intent

At Bud, curriculum intent is crucial, which is why it’s embedded within our workflow.

“To enrol a learner onto a programme, we make sure a programme of learning is planned and set out,” says Brad. “It showcases how you intend to deliver a successful programme from day one to endpoint assessment.

“By embedding this into our workflow, progress can be measured and monitored throughout the entire programme. Clear plans are always at hand when you’re asked to showcase your curriculum intent, whether that be at audit or inspection.”


Sharing data with teachers, learners and employers

Data is important to all stakeholders within an apprenticeship programme setting:

  • Teachers should use it to inform what they do and their curriculum implementation.
  • Learners should have the opportunity to understand the progress they’re making against their personal and challenging targets.
  • Managers should be able to take data from and about their teachers and learners to make effective decisions about curriculum intent, implementation and impact. Data also allows managers to tailor staff development and timetabling to ensure learners are taught by the most effective and knowledgeable teachers.

How Bud caters for different stakeholders

Bud brings all user requirements and data together into one system. For example, a trainer can instantly see what they need to do through their dashboard. That might be responding to a message, or seeing who’s made a submission or has overdue tasks.

Equally, an operations manager might use their dashboard to manage trainers and understand how they’re handling their caseloads. This gives them the opportunity to identify who is delivering high-quality learning and where any potential risks might be.

An employer can log onto their portal and track the progress of an applicant or sign any necessary documents at the click of a button.

With the right system in place, you can track and access data and also use it to gain genuine insights that lead to effective actions. This allows you to deliver consistently high-quality learning experiences for all learners – and successfully demonstrate that fact when it comes to your Ofsted inspection.

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