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HEFCE and Ofsted each hold a statutory duty for quality assessment. Ofsted has a duty to inspect apprenticeships and HEFCE’s duty ensures the quality of provision for all prescribed higher education. Both statutory duties pre-date the latest apprenticeship reforms and the introduction of degree apprenticeships in 2015.

The new settlement clarifies that all elements of apprenticeships at degree level (Levels 6 and 7) will be regulated by HEFCE through the Annual Provider Review process, and Ofsted is responsible for inspecting the quality of apprenticeship training provision at Levels 2 and 3.

Ofsted is responsible for inspecting the quality of apprenticeship training provision at Levels 4 and 5, unless the apprenticeship standard contains a prescribed HE qualification. In the case of apprenticeship providers delivering prescribed HE as part of an apprenticeship standard, HEFCE and Ofsted will reach a judgement informed by joint working, and this will be published. To inform the judgment HEFCE will use Annual Provider Review information and Ofsted will inspect the employer-based provision.

It is current practice that where a risk is identified through the Annual Provider Review process HEFCE can trigger an investigation by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education. Where the concern relates to a prescribed HE qualification contained within an apprenticeship at Levels 4 to 5, this will be done jointly with Ofsted.

HEFCE and Ofsted will be inviting providers to a Joint Quality Workshop where we will set out the detail and consult with providers on implementation.

The settlement is formally published within the Accountability Statement of the Institute for Apprenticeships, which launches today. An excerpt is shown below.

Ofsted is responsible for:

  • Inspecting the quality of apprenticeship training provision from Level 2 to Level 5. In the case of apprenticeship providers delivering prescribed HE as part of an apprenticeship standard, HEFCE and Ofsted will reach a judgement, informed by joint working.
  • Sharing information with HEFCE to inform ongoing provider risk-assessment.
  • Providing support and challenge, or carrying out monitoring visits to providers who have triggered concern. Where the concern relates to a prescribed HE qualification, this will be done jointly with HEFCE.
  • Inspecting the quality of apprenticeship training provision at Level 6 and/or 7 where this involves teacher and trainer training.

HEFCE (and in future the Office for Students) is responsible for:

  • Regulating the quality of degree apprenticeships (Levels 6 and 7).
  • Working with Ofsted to reach a judgement for apprenticeship providers at Level 4 and/or 5 where the apprenticeship standard contains a prescribed HE qualification.
  • Sharing information with Ofsted to inform ongoing provider risk-assessment.
  • Investigating where there is evidence of serious concern on degree apprenticeships or in providers that deliver prescribed HE at Level 4 and/or 5.

Notes

1. Read more about the Institute for Apprenticeships.
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