Ofsted says progress is too slow at borough training base

A training provider previously told it needs to improve has been criticised after its latest visit by inspectors.

Thursday, 8th April 2021, 8:38 am

Ofsted found the progress of most apprentices with Leigh-based Ensis Solutions Ltd was “too slow” and many did not develop “substantial” new knowledge and skills.

Tutors had not received training on how to teach online - despite all learning being done remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The monitoring visit was carried out remotely and found leaders had made “insufficient progress” in ensuring staff taught a curriculum and provided support to meet learners’ needs, including the provision of remote learning.

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Ofsted carried out the inspection remotely

It followed a full inspection in June 2019 when Ensis was given the rating of “requires improvement”.

Lead inspector Andrea Machell wrote: “What we have found at the provision is not as a result of the pandemic but a failure by senior leaders to put in place many of the fundamentals of apprenticeship training. The provider continued to recruit new apprentices even though they knew they were unable to meet all of the requirements of an apprenticeship.

“Senior leaders and managers have been too slow to rectify the areas identified as requiring improvement at the previous inspection. Most of the actions put into place have only been put in place recently. None of the areas for improvement identified have been fully resolved.”

Ofsted found governors, senior leaders and managers did not have “accurate oversight” of the quality of education and progress made by apprentices.

Leaders did not set “clear and measurable” targets to improve and governors could not accurately assess the progress made to improve education, as the reports they were given did “not provide a clear picture of performance”.

While fewer apprentices now leave the course before completing it, there were a “significant number” on a break in learning or with low attendance, and leaders did not take “swift enough action” to ensure they attend.

Employers did not receive enough information about the requirements of an apprentice, so were “unaware” of the need to provide sufficient training.

On and off-the-job training was described as “poorly planned”, with activities not linked to job roles and “very few” employers being involved in reviews of apprentice’s progress with Ensis.

Several tutors had left, disrupting apprentices’ learning, and leaders were “too slow” to recruit and retain suitably qualified staff.

Ofsted found the curriculum did not meet the needs of most apprentices, with tutors given a fixed scheme of work for all health and social care apprentices, so their learning was rarely individualised or catered for their job role.

Ms Machell wrote: “Many apprentices do not develop substantial new knowledge and skills. A few apprentices develop a limited number of new skills relevant to their job role. For example, apprentices working with residents with dementia learn about different methods of communication, such as the importance of eye contact.”

Inspectors found tutors had not been trained in how to teach online, but were taught how to use online training platforms and made sure all apprentices had completed training in staying safe online.

Tutors contacted apprentices every two to four weeks to check on their progress and well-being.

Ofsted recommended that leaders at Ensis implement a quality assurance process to accurately measure the quality of education; ensure employers participate in the development of their apprentices’ curriculum; and provide training for tutors to develop their teaching skills.

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