Ofsted inspections for employer-providers

Find out how inspections work, how they’re graded and how to prepare.

Ofsted inspections for employer-providers

computer with a tick

As an employer-provider, you may be new to the world of apprenticeships.

Being an employer-provider is a big commitment. You're responsible for delivering training in-house to your own staff, supporting them through the qualification, and maintaining quality assurance. This means you'll be under the watchful eye of Ofsted.

Every organisation that delivers apprenticeship training in England is inspected by Ofsted to regulate quality across the country. During the inspection, members of the Ofsted team will visit your centre to assess how you deliver training on a day-to-day basis. You'll be subject to an inspection once every 3 years, and you'll only be given 2 days' notice – so it can be a bit daunting if you're new to the process.

How do Ofsted inspections work?

The Ofsted team will visit your organisation for 3-4 days to assess your training. They won't come during peak business times (such as January sales for retail employers) and at least one member of the team will be a specialist from your sector.

During the inspection, Ofsted will speak to your staff and employees to get a rounded picture of your training delivery. They'll observe both on- and off-the-job sessions and ask your apprentices to fill in a survey about their training. They'll also ask to look at your records to see how you support your learners, assess progress, and plan training around your business objectives. Ofsted need to see evidence that you're following the apprenticeship standards and delivering training in an effective way.

Ofsted inspections are new to a lot of providers this year. Many employer-providers have never been inspected by Ofsted before, so it's new to everyone – including Ofsted themselves. It's a learning curve, so over the next few years, Ofsted will be gathering feedback so they can update their processes and make inspections more relevant to employer-providers.

Hoe are employer-providers graded?

After your inspection, Ofsted will write up their report and send it to you within 2 weeks. You'll need to approve their report before it's finalised and published online. There are 4 Ofsted grades: outstanding, good, requires improvement and inadequate.

How can employer-providers prepare for an inspection? 

Well, the whole point of Ofsted inspections is that you can't really prepare for them – that's why you're only given 2 days' notice. The best thing you can do is use an eportfolio, so you're always inspection-ready.

With an eportfolio, the entire audit trail is recorded online and can be accessed remotely. This means inspectors can see evidence of support, progress and planning at the touch of button.

At OneFile, we’ve designed our learning software to support each stage of the Ofsted inspection. All learner activity is recorded electronically, so you can access the complete audit trail at the touch of a button.

Ready to get an outstanding grade? Download our free guide to find out what other employer-providers think about OneFile, and how our software can help you ace your first inspection.

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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.