Ofsted – the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills – inspected Walsall Healthcare’s Apprenticeship Scheme last December and has rated the provision as “Inadequate” in a report due to be published tomorrow (Friday 18 January 2019).
Action to drive up the quality of the scheme is already being taken to address the issues that have been highlighted in the report.
Senior leaders and managers want to reassure the 128 apprentices who have roles at Walsall Manor Hospital and New Cross Hospital that they will be given the support they need to make good progress and develop their future careers.
The scheme was brought in house in 2015. Inspectors visited Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust between 11 and 13 December 2018 and looked at Effectiveness of leadership and management, Quality of teaching, learning and assessment, Personal development, behaviour and welfare, Outcomes for learners.
All areas were given an “Inadequate” rating and concerns included:
- Senior leaders and Trust Board members not holding apprenticeship managers to account for the quality of provision
- Managers failing to sufficiently tackle areas for improvement identified at the last inspection
- Ineffective safeguarding; apprentices also do not understand the risk of radicalisation and extremism
- Managers not accurately tracking the achievement, attendance or progress of apprentices; this includes the development of English and mathematics skills required
- Apprentices failing to receive appropriate impartial careers information
- Low apprentice attendance in off-the-job training
- Inadequate preparation towards end point assessments
Catherine Griffiths, Director of People and Culture at the trust, said: “We want to acknowledge the invaluable contribution that apprentices make within our organisation – they have such a positive impact on staff, patients and visitors and it’s so important that they realise this.
“This Ofsted report makes uncomfortable reading for all of us and leaves us in no doubt that our apprentices have not been given the support and safeguarding they deserve. Improvements have already started to be put in place including the trust sourcing an external provider for off-the-job training.
“The trust is absolutely committed to restoring the scheme’s reputation and is ambitious for its future and we hope that current and potential apprentices will have confidence in us to get things right.”
The trust has made all assessors and apprentices aware of Ofsted’s findings.
Most apprentices are on standards-based apprenticeships in level 2 and level 3 in healthcare and business administration.