Members may have picked-up comments in FE Week of 29 March where Ofsted’s Chief Inspector when asked whether Ofsted should inspect level 6 and 7 replied:
‘I very much hope people will see the logic in us doing it’
The article is very much focused on level 6 and 7 Apprenticeships without an HE qualification. We have been told the comments should be seen in this context.
The position at the moment is that Ofsted has no role in Degree Apprenticeship. Regardless of the views of Ofsted’s Chief Inspector, the recently published quality strategy and publicly-available Accountability Statement for the IFATE makes clear the established responsibilities for quality assurance for apprenticeships. That is Ofsted has no role in Degree Apprenticeship.
There is of course the issue of level 6 and 7 without an HE qualification or delivered with a degree that is not mandated in an Apprenticeship standard. UVAC are pushing for institutions on the OfS register to be subject only to OfS regulation. Ofsted is clearly arguing to have an inspection role.
Ofsted is, without doubt, undermining the Higher and Degree Apprenticeship agenda. UVAC has already raised our concerns about inaccuracies in Ofsted communications and its press statements. We have also raised our concerns regarding Ofsted’s claims that employers are spending too much on higher level apprenticeships. Such comments run counter to the premise that Apprenticeship is an employer led programme focused on enhancing the productivity of the UK economy. Ofsted is doing substantial disservice to the Apprenticeship reforms and Apprenticeship agenda. Ofsted, however, seems more concerned with Empire building and her views sound familiarly like AELPs chief executive, Mark Dawe.
UVAC are raising with Ministers why a supposedly independent and objective inspectorate seems to be actively campaigning for certain types of Apprenticeships (i.e. lower level) delivered by ITPs/FECs and against types of provision (i.e. Higher Level Provision) usually delivered by HEIs.
HEIs need to watch this space…