Monday 16th April 2018

Quality Street or Ferrero Rocher for Levy paying employers?

When it comes to quality matters and levy paying employers, is it time to think again about how we measure outstanding and inadequate? Are you more of a Ferrero Rocher type – liking the same tastes and flavours and knowing what’s inside or do you favour Quality Street and more of a surprise inside your chocolates?

Currently Ofsted is measuring all learning in the same way against the Common Inspection Framework. Clearly this is a very robust and well tried and tested model and we must all welcome quality checks on our provision. However, is it time for a refresh now that levy paying employers are paying from their own funds for apprenticeship training?

Ferrero Rocher – more of the same quality checks or should we be looking for new flavours via the box of Quality Street to bring in change and become more employer responsive?

Let’s look at a few of the current measures and see if they are still fit for purpose:

1. Observations of teaching, learning and assessment – These are critical to ensure that we can see and feel what is happening in any learning environment and measure impact of learning. But is it time to also measure what the employer thinks? Is it just as important to have the employer’s view of the training session? If they are happy that their employees are progressing and improving in the workplace, then is it so critical that safeguarding has been covered in the session or English progress?

2. Achievement rates – Yes it is important that as many of those who start an apprenticeship complete their programme, but what if the employer decides that the employees have progressed and developed well and yet the employee withdraws before completing the entire programme? What if the employee is promoted and moves from previous role and the employer takes the decision that they should leave the programme and start something new? Surely these are examples of success and we need to find new ways to measure success?

3. English and Maths – The use of English and Maths is something that we all use in different ways every day and their importance in the skill set of all employees is certainly high. However, is it really so critical to an employer that their employee must pass a functional skill to pass through the gateway prior to End Point Assessment? If the employee has been progressing well and is developing in the workplace then we must find ways to reflect this in quality measures.

3aaa like to be at the forefront when it comes to quality matters and we welcome a debate about what new measures should be part of an Ofsted review if we are to be truly responsive to our employers now that the levy celebrates it’s first year. It is time for modernising the model and adding some new flavours to our Quality Street range! I think Rhubarb Gin and Prosecco would be 2 excellent new flavours!

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