How can HEIs prepare for Ofsted?

Ofsted will soon start inspecting all HEIs that deliver degree apprenticeships.

How can HEIs prepare for Ofsted? Will universities need to change how they deliver degree apprenticeships?

On 28th September last year, it was announced that Ofsted will start inspecting all universities that offer apprenticeships.

Many universities have already experienced Ofsted inspections as they’ve been delivering level 4 and 5 apprenticeships alongside their degree apprenticeship programmes. But when this change comes into place on 1st April 2021, Ofsted will inspect ALL universities that deliver apprenticeships – including level 6 and 7 degree apprenticeships.

What does this mean for universities?

Universities may have to increase their quality assurance measures and make sure they comply with the Ofsted Education Inspection Framework. HEIs may not have to change their delivery, but improve how they record, monitor and track areas of the learning journey – such as prior learning, off-the-job training, the progression of learning, and individualised learning plans.

As apprenticeships are funded by the Government and the levy, Ofsted may also cast a closer look at degree apprenticeships to make sure they’re not graduate schemes repackaged as apprenticeships. Funding must only be spent on training that’s genuine, necessary and relevant to the learner and job role.

Universities will also start being audited by the ESFA in April, so getting these additional quality assurance measures in place will help HEIs maintain their funding streams too.

Will HEIs need to change how they deliver apprenticeships?

As some HEIs have already been inspected, Ofsted has provided some feedback on the areas universities can improve their delivery:

‘Apprentice start points are not used well to inform delivery’

Ofsted expects universities to recognise each apprentice’s prior learning and use their starting point to personalise the curriculum. The starting point should also be used as the baseline to track each apprentice’s progression of learning.

‘Apprentice progress and attendance is not monitored sufficiently to identify and manage risk’

Ofsted wants to see evidence of each apprentice’s progression of learning – from their starting point all the way to the gateway. They also expect HEIs to monitor the progress and attendance of their apprentices – to provide extra support to any at-risk learners and stretch and challenge any high-performers.

‘Employers are not as engaged or involved in the apprenticeship journey’

Employers play a major role in apprenticeships and Ofsted expects HEIs and employers to work together to support their apprentice. Employers need to be involved in set stages of the journey – such as the commitment statement and gateway – but throughout the programme as well.

What can universities do to make sure they're prepared for Ofsted?

The best thing universities can do to make sure they’re Ofsted compliant is to record everything online. With the right system in place, you can easily record apprentice starting points, track off-the-job training, monitor progression, engage with employers, and make sure you’re always inspection ready.

OneFile’s apprenticeship system has been used to deliver quality degree apprenticeships ever since they were first released. It has all the built-in features you need to maintain quality assurance and comply with Ofsted guidance – from an RPL tool to an off-the-job training tracker. That’s why OneFile is already used by the UK’s largest providers of degree apprenticeships – including Exeter University, the University of Warwick and the Open University.

To find out more about using OneFile to meet Ofsted requirements, download your Ofsted guidance pack. It covers everything you need to know about the inspection handbook, how the guidance applies to degree apprenticeships, and how you can use OneFile to stay compliant.

Download guide



This article includes research and opinion sourced by OneFile at the time of publication. Things may have changed since then,
so this research is to be used at the reader's discretion. OneFile is not liable for any action taken based on this research.