Ofsted is to adopt strict rules preventing under-performing apprenticeship training providers from taking on new apprentices, according to the Education and Skills Funding Agency. FE Week reports that any provider showing “‘insufficient progress’ has been made under one or more of the themes assessed” will be removed from the register and from public funding for apprentices.
They will be allowed to continue training existing apprentices, with employers’ approval, but will only be allowed back on the register after a full Ofsted inspection that upgrades them to at least a grade 3 for their apprenticeship training.
BTecs and other applied general level 3 qualifications may survive the axe, after education secretary Damian Hinds told the BBC that BTecs were as good as A-levels, reports TES. Hinds said there is a role for a range of qualifications and study courses to suit the different demands and ambitions of young people. Around 209,000 16-18s last year were taking applied general courses, including Cambridge Technicals; and more than half were studying in FE or sixth form colleges.
Research reveals more than 33% of students were taking maths and English GCSE this summer for the third time of asking, according to TES. For some students, the data compiled by education charity Impetus-PEF showed it was their ninth attempt to pass the exams. Other research from Cambridge Assessment has found the likelihood of passing dwindles more after each failed resit. The charity believes lack of support for many young people from less privileged backgrounds is preventing an improvement in pass rates.
For the first time since the apprenticeship levy was introduced in April last year, the number of apprenticeship starts (May 2018) is higher than the May 2017 figure, according to the latest provisional statistics from the Department for Education, TES reports. The government recorded 22,300 starts – a 72% increase – which bucks the trend in deteriorating levels in recent months. However, the welcome though predicted increase still lags way behind the figure for apprenticeships starts in May 2016.