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Education blog – Inspections of apprenticeship provision on the horizon

  • United Kingdom
  • Education - Briefings


On 9 February 2022, Ofsted updated its Further education and skills inspection handbook to reflect its announcement back in November 2021 about the accelerated plan for schools and further education (FE) provider inspections. 

The FE and skills inspection handbook confirms that all providers delivering apprenticeships will receive a full inspection by September 2025, unless Ofsted have undertaken a full inspection since April 2021.

The FE skills and inspection handbook also states that providers of levels 6 and 7 apprenticeships only (which came within the remit of Ofsted in April 2021) will be regarded as new providers; something of particular relevance to universities and higher education providers delivering apprenticeships.  From April 2022, those institutions will be subject to a new provider monitoring visit within 18 months of 1 April 2021 and, subject to the outcomes of the monitoring visit, a full inspection within 18 months of publication of the monitoring visit report.

What can apprenticeship providers do now?

Given the impending inspections by Ofsted, it is an apt time for providers of apprenticeships to reflect on the steps they could take now for those inspections including:

  • Knowing the route map: re-familiarising staff members involved in apprenticeship provision with the Education Inspection Framework and the Further education and skills inspection handbook.
  • Focusing and reflecting; on the core inspection criteria and assessing the institutions readiness for inspection.  Are you ready and where are the blind spots?
  • Tracking down the evidence now, not later; and specifically in this context ensuring that documentation pertaining to apprenticeship provision – particularly, documentation pertaining to adaptation of provision (including workplace-based provision) as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic – is ordered, up to date and readily retrievable by staff members involved in apprenticeship provision.
  • Inspiring confidence in the team: consider refresher training for the staff team on Ofsted inspections on what to expect and their individual roles in the process.
  • Being ready and able; by ensuring that appropriate management and governance arrangements are in place, and key decisions can be readily made at each stage of Ofsted’s inspection process.

 If you are likely to be subject to an accelerated inspection by Ofsted, you may wish to also review our article on what to expect from the Ofsted inspection regime here.