How to build an apprenticeship curriculum
Apprenticeship delivery takes a lot of planning.
Since the new standards have been introduced, training providers no longer have rigid guidelines to follow. Instead, Ofsted wants them to design their own curriculum – one that clearly sets out what they intend learners to learn; that can be implemented in an individualised way for each apprentice; and that has measures in place to record the impact of the curriculum for learners.
Ofsted refers to this as the three ‘I’s – the curriculum intent, implementation and impact.
This may sound daunting, but if you build your curriculum taking into account the three ‘I’s at each stage of the apprenticeship journey, the rest will fall into place.
Create your core curriculum
Your core curriculum should include everything you intend your apprentices to learn. Use the KSBs in the standard as a base and add any extras you think your learners could benefit from to become fully competent and fulfil their aspirations. This could be things like your organisation’s values, further industry knowledge or independent learning skills. You can be a little creative, just make sure your curriculum is relevant, well organised and covers all the basics in the standard.
When you’ve designed your core curriculum, you can add any employer requirements, and then adapt how it’s implemented for each learner.
‘Inspectors will consider the provider’s curriculum, the decisions the provider has made about the knowledge, skills and behaviours its learners need to fulfil their aspirations for learning, employment and independence.’ Ofsted, EIF 2019
Your curriculum should include a plan for introducing learners and employers to the programme. This includes things like telling learners what you intend them to learn, explaining to employers how you’ll meet the 20% off-the-job requirement, and completing the commitment statement. You should also include how the curriculum is intended to meet the learner’s career aspirations, what milestones they’re expected to reach, and how they’ll be assessed.
‘Inspectors will ask about what leaders intend learners to learn; what are the end points and next step they wish them to reach.’
In your curriculum you’ll need to include an in-depth initial assessment. During this assessment, you’ll need to record each apprentice’s prior learning (starting point or baseline) and how you plan to individualise the implementation of your apprenticeship curriculum. At this stage you don’t need to plan what you’ll do for each learner, just include a general overview of the process.
‘Inspectors will evaluate learners’ progress in relation to their starting points, how carefully leaders have thought about the sequence of teaching to build on what learners already know and can do.'
This section is all about the implementation of your curriculum. You only need to create a rough outline of the sequence of your delivery – your learning activities, delivery sequence and stretch and challenge activities – as they’ll be slightly different for each learner.
Milestones are an important part of your curriculum planning, so you’ll need to include the milestones and how you’ll use reports, reviews and assessments to measure learner progress towards them. It’s a good idea to include how employers will be involved in the process too.
‘Inspectors will consider how provider’s staff engage with employers to plan the initial assessment, training, assessment, reviews and milestones.’
Gateway and end-point assessment
In this section, you’ll need to show the impact of your curriculum – that apprentices have learned what you intended. You can just outline the process for gateway – including the learner and employer – and the end-point assessment method. This should already be included in the introduction section, so you’ll just need to leave space in your curriculum planning for the process.
'It’s clear what learners will need to be able to do at the end of their programme.’
When you’ve completed these sections, you can build your curriculum into a delivery plan. Believe it or not, this is actually the easy bit – especially if you have a template to hand. Luckily for you, we’ve created a curriculum template for you to download and use.