Our blog will provide a personal insight from our members, young people and employers, to give you a real insight of Apprentices and their contribution to local businesses.

Ofsted Grading Changes

Martin Grubb, Chairman of Career Creators, a network of 50 training providers in Birmingham and Solihull, says that for all the announcements from Michael Gove on changing the education system recently, the shift in emphasis in OFSTED evaluation will be the key to improving young people’s attainment and skills, and how ready they are for work.

“Of all the recent news on changes to the education system announced recently, it is the changes to the OFSTED evaluation process and grading system that I believe will have an immediate and positive impact on young people’s learning and their readiness for work. In short the review has removed the ‘satisfactory’ grading, leaving only ‘requires improvement’, ‘good’ and ‘outstanding’, has promised to return to underperforming schools more quickly and has reduced the notice period given of an inspection. Broadly, these changes are positive, but the key change for those of us in education is that rather than evaluating a schools attainment level in isolation, OFSTED will now be looking at how a school impacts a learner’s progress – i.e. from their starting point how much as that person improved. This fundamental shift should mean that the pupil is central to the teaching process and therefore a closer attention to an individual learner’s needs is created.

This change is vital if we are to improve the skills level of our young people. Too many learners become disinterested in education and get lost, becoming NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training). This isn’t due to a lack of talent, but rather being driven in the wrong direction.

In practice, this will mean educational institutions looking carefully at individual learners and helping to diagnose the right path for that person. That might be continuing in schooling, or it could be looking at an earlier age for young people to focus on other ‘non-academic’ skills. We are already seeing this happen to a degree in University Technical Colleges which are sponsored by business and really harness a young person’s passion for a subject. At present however, schools feel they are competing with UTCs. By placing a learner’s progress at the centre of evaluation, I can see schools wanting to ensure they have the right young people, rather than all of them!

This well thought through, well consulted change where over 5,000 responses were gathered in preparing the response, rather than the big attention grabbing headlines will be most likely to impact the shape of young people’s learning experiences, and vitally, provide business with the next generation of staff who are ready to make a difference.
As training providers, this focus on an individual’s improvement is what we do well. The schemes we run of foundation learning and apprenticeships are designed to improve a learner’s attainment at a pace that suits them and the business they are working for. In addition, work based learning is focussed around skills that the learner is interested in and which are valuable in their field of work, this relevancy increases engagement and helps young people see the benefits of their learning.

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