Ofsted NW Further Education & Skills Reference Group

GMLPF attended this meeting on behalf of members on 20 June. Bev Barlow reported on following issues emerging from Ofsted’s recent work:

Work Programme:

To date Ofsted have completed 29 full inspections of northwest providers, including 3 during this summer term. 19 were graded Outstanding or Good grades, 7 Requiring Improvements and 3 Inadequate. Ofsted have also completed 5 short inspections where all bar one were Good, the exception being one provider converted to Inadequate.

In addition, Ofsted have undertaken 4 monitoring visits to new RoATP providers on or providers who are delivering AEB for the first time. One issue that was flagged up .from a review of monitoring visits nationally is that many new providers have been slow to get systems and processes in place, and start delivery. Also they have been naïve about the scope and rigours of inspections and visits. Ofsted have encouraged all new providers of ESFA funded programmes to read and review the monitoring visit reports undertaken so far to give them a clear picture of what issues are being identified.

Too often, the following issues appear to have emerged:

  • Insufficient contact with learners; learners not being aware that they are on an Apprenticeship programme
  • Insufficient tracking and monitoring of learner progress
  • Poor leadership, management and governance
  • Provision not being sufficiently learner led

Bev Barlow will be providing more information on Ofsted’s current programme of work, current and emerging trends and touching upon the new Inspection Framework in her talk at GMLPF AGM on 10 July.


Ofsted have recently published their new privacy policy which can be found on their website. There have been a small number of GDPR related issues encountered whilst undertaking inspections however Ofsted are adopting a “business as usual” approach and that GDPR should not be an issue during inspection.

High Level Tracking

There was significant discussion around high level tracking. Many organisations at the meeting suggested that there was a lack of suitable software to support effective high level tracking of learning programmes. Ofsted are keen to see providers adopting and implementing effective and fit for purpose solutions be it electronic or paper based, that allow managers to monitor delivery; caseloads of learners, progress of individual learners and cohorts against agreed milestones, progress in terms of developing new skills and knowledge as well as new behaviours.

Other Issues

During inspections, Ofsted are still finding a number of common issues and CPD needs in providers. There is still a significant need for Prevent, Safeguarding and, increasingly, Governance training, both in terms of refresher and new training. Provider networks were encouraged to help in this regard.