Bedford council's apprenticeship scheme slammed in damning report

Ofsted inspectors gave it the lowest possible rating – inadequate
Bedford Borough CouncilBedford Borough Council
Bedford Borough Council

An education watchdog has criticised Bedford Borough Council for its apprenticeship provision and given it an overall rating of ‘inadequate’.

Ofsted inspectors visited the council-run Bedford Training Assessment Centre (BTAC) in September with the report published this week.

And it makes for grim reading, with inspectors saying the leadership and management is inadequate – and that the four categories of the quality of education; behaviour and attitudes; personal development; and apprenticeships ‘require improvement’.

Read More
Council-run Bedford care home 'requires improvement' after damning inspection re...

Inspectors said: “They must put in place effective actions to secure improvements swiftly.”

A Bedford Borough Council spokesperson said: “We are extremely disappointed with the outcome and currently considering our next actions.”

BTAC registered as an apprenticeship provider in 2018 and provides apprenticeships internally to Bedford Borough Council employees and externally to levy-paying organisations.

It specialises in apprenticeships in health and social care, residential care, early years and teaching assistants.

The Ofsted report said:

*Leaders should inform teaching staff of the local risks of radicalisation and extremism

*Apprentices do not benefit from impartial careers advice and guidance – they are not aware of the career choices available to them

*Apprentices who need to improve their English and mathematics skills are frustrated by the lack of appropriate support that teachers provide – they do not enjoy their learning

*Too few apprentices remain in learning and complete their apprenticeship

*Leaders do not work with employers to enhance the curriculum

It added: “Too few apprentices develop the independent learning skills they need to become confident and resilient learners. Teachers do not motivate or encourage apprentices to overcome their barriers to learning and persevere with their studies.

"As a result, too many apprentices do not complete their programmes.”

On the plus side, inspectors said:

*Most apprentices value the support they receive from their vocational teachers and employers – teachers know their apprentices well and arrange extra support sessions when apprentices need it

*Apprentices benefit from taught sessions in groups, where they can share experiences with each other

*Vocational teachers frequently recap previous learning to ensure that apprentices repeat and retain essential knowledge

*Teachers provide apprentices with constructive and useful feedback