First Step Education and Training 'inadequate' and not supporting all students, says Ofsted

An East Yorkshire apprenticeship provider has been failing to provide apprentices the support they need to qualify and finish their courses, an Ofsted report has claimed.

First Step Education and Training is based at The Bloc, in Springfield Way, Anlaby. In its latest report, Ofsted said too many apprentices "make slow progress" and flagged that most of them "only receive around two hours teaching per month".

According to the report, published on Friday, May 31, First Step currently has 52 apprentices. But it said "at least a third" had not completed their training within the timeframe given to them.

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Because of a lack of planning on how to catch up, many were said to "leave their programme early". Ofsted said apprentices with learning difficulties such as dyslexia, or those who needed to achieve functional skills qualifications in maths and English, were not supported in their learning, which is mostly online.

"Apprentices disclose to their tutors at the start of their programme if they have any additional learning needs," said the report which noted tutors "often do not take this into account when planning lessons". Ofsted said level 4 sports coach apprentices with dyslexia "feel excluded in training sessions and struggle to access the curriculum".

Ofsted noted some positives in the teaching of the level 2 community activator coach standard, which 11 apprentices are working towards. Ofsted said these apprentices are "supported well to develop their confidence when dealing with different people, new situations and unfamiliar surroundings."

It added: "Apprentices are taught about children with additional learning needs and the behaviours that children may exhibit that they need to be aware of in different settings or in the communities where they live. This helps them to respond appropriately when, for example, running after-school club activities. Employers highly value the development of these new skills."

Ofsted also praised the quality of the tutors, writing in the report: "Tutors are well qualified and experienced. Most staff have a degree-level qualification in a sport- or coaching-related discipline, and all have worked in school, community and club settings.

"This helps them to contextualise their teaching for apprentices who work in these settings. Leaders provide staff with training that enhances their ability to teach effectively, including opportunities to gain initial teacher educator qualifications, assessor awards and specialist coaching qualifications."

But for the level 4 sports coach apprentices, there was not enough career advice, said Ofsted. "Most apprentices, including those who are close to the end of their studies, have had no discussion about their next steps," it said.

Ofsted said apprentices who want to become physical education teachers do not know how to get the further education they need or understand how to complete a UCAS application.

To improve, First Step Education and Training must raise the quality of its English and mathematics teaching, plan lessons that best meet apprentices’ needs, and provide apprentices with helpful career advice and guidance.