On 4 December, the Chief Inspector published her annual report for 2017-18 (https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/760991/29523_Ofsted_Annual_Report_2017-18_WEB.pdf). She reported that 78% of independent training providers are currently judged to be good or outstanding.
This figure is a 3 point drop on last year but it includes new providers and employers, and the decrease is explained by the report stating that “We judged nearly two thirds of the ILPs (including employer providers) being inspected for the first time as requires improvement or inadequate”.
AELP CEO Mark Dawe comments:
Given that independent training providers have been required to get on top of the new apprenticeship standards and have been responding to the individual demands of employers, many of whom are new to the apprenticeship programme, 78% of them being good or outstanding is a great testament to their responsiveness. As Ofsted have explained, the figure for established ITPs would be even better if the inspectorate had split out new providers and employer providers from the overall percentage and we would like to see this changed for next year. It also underlines why the ESFA is right to raise the bar in the approvals process when the register of apprenticeship training providers is reopened shortly and to insist that all providers have to reapply.
After the helpful public revelation of previous private conversations that the levy is running out, the Chief Inspector is right to argue that the priority should be on level 2 and 3 apprenticeships. AELP is a firm supporter of apprenticeships as a ladder of opportunity at all levels, but we have put forward proposals for differing co-investment requirements to manage demand within a finite budget. The alternative is that the government will have to increase the levy.
Amanda Spielman helpfully highlighted the fact that there are other routes for young people to achieve English and maths at level 2, including functional skills. But the government can’t expect to see attainment rates increase if it continues to fund functional skills within an apprenticeship at half the classroom rate. This should be rectified before the more demanding functional skills requirements are introduced next September.