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Babington rated ‘Good’ across the board in latest Ofsted inspection.

Babington rated ‘Good’ across the board in latest Ofsted inspection.

Babington, one of the UK’s largest apprenticeship and training providers today announces strong Ofsted outcome with ‘Good’ awarded across all inspection categories.

The Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) is responsible for ensuring high quality teaching and learning across all funded providers – and regularly inspects institutions against a rigorous set of standards.

Prior to today’s announcement, Babington’s last inspection took place in 2019, where the provider was also awarded a ‘Good’ rating. Since then, the business has made several significant changes – from navigating the pandemic and pivoting to digital-first delivery, to most recently making the strategic decision to double down in areas aligned to customer demand – ceasing the delivery of a number of non-core standards.

At a time where many apprenticeship providers have struggled to secure positive Ofsted ratings, this inspection outcome is testament to the impact of continuous improvement initiatives to drive the very highest quality across Babington’s provision.

Babington was judged to be a Grade 2 (‘Good’) provider across all five core inspection categories: Quality of education, Behaviour and attitudes, Personal development, Leadership and management, Apprenticeships.

Inspectors noted that:

[Babington’s] leaders have clear and well-focused ambitions for apprentices. Over the last six months, the new leadership team has significantly reduced the number of apprenticeships and courses on offer. The team has rightly removed courses with not enough focus on learners’ and apprentices’ career aspirations.

They have improved recruitment arrangements, ceased working with less supportive employers, and made improvements to the planning and teaching of courses. This has led to a substantial decrease in early withdrawals and bodes well for the future.

Staff pay close attention to apprentices’ and employers’ needs to inform training. Managers organise courses well so that apprentices gain the initial knowledge they need before they learn new material.

During their studies, apprentices become ready to take on additional responsibilities and implement improvements at work. Almost all apprentices who complete their studies pass their final assessments, and many gain high grades.

Inspectors also commented on the strength of pastoral and additional support that learners receive as part of their experience with Babington:

Staff create a calm and respectful online learning environment that supports apprentices to learn. Skills coaches develop apprentices’ knowledge of how to stay mentally healthy. In monthly reviews, they usefully focus on how apprentices are feeling and progressing. If an apprentice requires any support, relevant actions are agreed and implemented. Apprentices can also talk to the experienced staff in the safe and sound team. They offer a range of suitable support services or appropriately direct apprentices to external agencies.

These observations represent critical components in ensuring the development of confident, rounded individuals who are equipped and supported to thrive.

Commenting on the inspection outcome, Jen Bramley, Chief Operating Officer, said:

We are delighted to be recognised as ‘Good’ by Ofsted. This reflects the unwavering commitment of our organisation to deliver high-quality, effective apprenticeship programmes that set individuals and their organisations up for lifelong success. It’s fantastic to see our focus on quality and learner experience explicitly reflected in the inspectors’ report, and we look forward to continuing our journey to further enhance and augment our core provision.”

She continued:As a business, we have made some tough choices over the past 12 months. However, this fantastic Ofsted outcome – alongside ongoing feedback from our valued customers and wider stakeholders – is testament to the strength of our strategy as we seek to deliver against our purpose to develop better futures for all.

The decision to rationalise our portfolio was predicated on a desire to bring greater focus, expertise, and attention to the skills that matter most for organisations – aligning our five core specialisms to clear market demand across both our funded and wider service offering. We know that skills have a critical role to play in equipping organisations with the capability they need to drive performance, agility, and growth; and in turn, we are also equipping individuals with the right skills, competence, and confidence to build meaningful, lifelong careers.

We are exceptionally proud of our team. This outcome very much sets the tone for the next chapter in Babington’s journey as we look to cement our position as the skills partner of choice for forward-thinking organisations, and we eagerly look forward to sharing what’s next.”

Kathryn Wills, Quality Director, added:

To achieve ‘Good’ across the board really is a fantastic outcome. We’ve worked hard to really push the boundaries of what good looks like in apprenticeship delivery, and as we continue to enhance our offering, we will continue to build on this success and strive for further improvements. Watch this space!”

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