From education to employment

Ofsted – A carrot or a stick?

@Ofsted for new providers entering #RoATP

When monitoring visits were introduced by OFSTED some 2 years ago primarily aimed at new providers entering RoATP, we welcomed them because we really did believe they were going to be helpful, for many their first experience of Ofsted, there to support providers and provide them with vital feedback to support their development as new providers.

Therefore, a couple of years on, it is useful to reflect and consider what impact they have had on the sector.

Approximately 1/3 of providers fail their monitoring visits

Not a surprising statistic but devastating for those who do fail. An immediate stop on starts, including sub-contracting has had many we believe ‘unintended consequences’ with businesses going bust because of cash flow drying up and people buying RoATP registered businesses so they can move their starts somewhere else and probably continue with the same bad practices. Is that surely the intention of a ‘monitoring’ visit, which was supposed to be challenging but supportive at the same time? 

No idea when the next inspection will take place

For the 1/3 on the naughty step, it is a critical time for them and as such, the least they deserve is some transparency on when their next visit from OFSTED will take place. We have looked at every provider on the naughty step and can find no consistent pattern of dates for a revisit by OFSTED, we cannot say it is on average 9 months or 12 months or even longer and something needs to be done about that. Indeed, the same analysis shows that a significant percentage of those on the naughty step have either ceased to trade or stopped delivering Apprenticeships.

‘Reasonable Progress’ the same as Good

On the flip side, for the 2/3 that are not on the naughty step, you have a licence to operate and grow. Indeed, a ‘reasonable progress’ in some people’s eyes, including many public bodies tendering for services, a reasonable progress is rated as the equivalent of Good at a full inspection. For those who have been through a full inspection, we all know that isn’t the case and we would consider that a Requires Improvement judgement is probably stronger than a Reasonable Progress at a monitoring visit

Therefore, we call upon Ofsted to review their process for monitoring visits some 2 years on and welcome your thoughts on how together we can improve and remove the ‘unintended consequences’ that have resulted from the current monitoring visit processes.

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