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    A REVIEW of Ofsted reports shows a ‘pressing need’ among employer providers for more engagement in the self-assessment and improvement planning process, according to a quality assurance specialist.

    Mesma says that there was considerable room for improvement at nine employer providers after it looked at 22 Ofsted inspections carried out from March 2016 to March 2017.

    This covered either the overall approach to quality assurance or more specifically, self-assessment and improvement planning.

    Mesma’s review, published in its new Employer Provider – Ofsted Inspection Findings Quickbook, indicates that there’s widespread evidence of leaders and managers failing to identify and follow through on those areas where improvements can be made.

    The report comes as the Apprenticeship Levy takes effect with changes in funding starting to bite - more employer providers are joining the register of apprenticeship training providers (ROATP) is on the rise.

    The Ofsted reports were unequivocal in their findings, says Mesma, reporting a range of actions that providers should follow:

    “Leaders and managers should increase the level of objectivity of quality review processes, and sharpen resultant action plans.”

    “Quality assurance and quality improvement arrangements, including the observation of teaching and learning, have not resulted in sufficient improvements since the previous inspection.”

    “Further develop the quality assurance arrangements to offer the programme manager and the assessors a clear understanding of the quality of teaching, learning and assessment experienced by apprentices and how this affects apprentices’ progress.”

    “Establish quickly a detailed and comprehensive action plan to rectify all areas for improvement identified in this inspection.”

    “Leaders and managers should conduct a thorough self-evaluation of the apprenticeship programme to ensure that they critically evaluate the strengths and areas for improvement, including the performance of sub-contractor.

    Robust quality assurance/ self-assessment featured in eight of the 13 reports for employers judged to be ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ status. In some cases, it refers to self-assessment and quality improvement planning as a development requirement to move the provider to ‘Outstanding’.

    Louise Doyle, Mesma director, said there was a pressing need for employer providers to look again at the area of quality.

    “The analysis is clear and unequivocal,” she said. “It confirms that regardless of Ofsted provision, moves to have a robust model quality assurance, including self-assessment and improvement planning in place can only be beneficial and need to factored in by those in leadership.”

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