How can a provider best prepare for a NPMV?

Let us set the scene.

Ofsted normally undertakes a monitoring visit to any provider of apprenticeships that becomes newly directly and publicly funded within 24 months of starting to deliver the directly funded provision. However, this time period has slipped recently due to the pandemic.

This new provider monitoring visit (NPMV) is not a full inspection but rather it establishes how much progress the provider has made against the three themes of leadership and management, quality of training and safeguarding.

The outcome of the NPMV will be one of three judgements, insufficient, reasonable or significant progress, against each of the three themes.

The stakes for this visit are high.  If a judgement of  ‘insufficient progress’ is made, the provider will have to stop recruiting any new apprentices until a subsequent visit has judged that this has improved to at least ‘reasonable progress’.

The monitoring visit will normally take place over two days and providers will only be given two days’ notice of the visit. Any provider will need to be very well prepared and managers will need to have a thorough understanding of the process as well as of the quality of their provision.  

Providers will need to supply inspectors with full details of all the apprenticeship programmes. The two-days’ notice means it is essential that managers have a clear picture of exactly what is going on each week. Contact details of apprentices and their employers need to be at hand, along with schedules of training and reviews. Inspectors will want to speak to a sample of apprentices and their employers, not just the staff of the training provider.

Let us explore the three themes in more detail, to understand what is required and what you need to consider.

Theme 1 – How much progress have leaders made in ensuring that the provider is meeting all the requirements of successful apprenticeship provision?

Inspectors will need to be assured that apprentices have been enrolled with integrity and are undertaking a worthwhile programme that is well organised. This means that curriculum plans have been developed so that learners are developing new skills, knowledge and behaviours during their course and not simply having their existing knowledge accredited.

To do this inspectors will check that the requirements of both the Education and Skills Funding Agency and Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education are met and scrutinise commitment statements

Providers need to demonstrate that apprentices are receiving the contractual requirements of around 20% off-the-job training, and end-point–assessments (EPAs) need to be in place.

Staff must be appropriately trained and qualified. Their CVs will be scrutinised and where subcontractors are used, inspectors will need to be assured that managers are quality assuring any subcontracting.

Managers will need to demonstrate that they have oversight of the progress of different groups of apprentices so that none are disadvantaged. Should any apprentices fall behind, what support is provided to help them catch up?

Theme 2 – How much progress have leaders and managers made in ensuring that apprentices benefit from high-quality training that leads to positive outcomes for apprentices?

The focus here is the extent to which the training is making a difference to the apprentice and employer. You will need to show that  apprentices are developing significant new knowledge, skills and behaviours that they use at work to make a contribution to the employer’s business.

Can you demonstrate the extent to which apprentices are benefitting from high quality off-the-job training that helps them to develop  new and relevant skills, knowledge and behaviours quickly and securely? How does the provider assess apprentices’ starting points to ensure that they are on the right programme?

Inspectors will scrutinise the curriculum to ensure that it is planned and sequenced appropriately to help apprentices develop the knowledge required. The monitoring of apprentices’ progress will also be reviewed. Do managers know how well apprentices are doing; are they on schedule to complete on time? Are staff, employers and apprentices well informed about the arrangements for the EPA?

The development of apprentices’ English, maths and digital skills to support them in employment and personal lives will also be reviewed under this theme. The skills of trainers will be assessed to ensure that they can provide high quality training. Managers will need to demonstrate that they have effective arrangements in place to quality assure the training.

Theme 3 – How much progress have leaders and managers made in ensuring that effective safeguarding arrangements are in place? 

The key question that inspectors pursue here is the extent to which the provider is taking all reasonable steps to ensure the safety of apprentices. Paragraph 268 onwards of the Ofsted handbook for further education and skills covers the expectations regarding safeguarding.  The stakes are higher in this regard if any apprentices are aged 18 or under. Are providers ensuring that apprentices are safe, including when working online? Are vulnerable apprentices identified and support provided? Is safe recruitment of staff in place? Has a culture of safeguarding been established? Are staff trained in safeguarding? Are providers protecting apprentices from the dangers of radicalisation and extremism in accordance with the prevent duty guidance?

Providers should also be familiar with inspecting safeguarding in early years, education and skills settings.


So, to summarise, are apprentices recruited with integrity and are they on programmes with a substantial amount of off-the-job training of a high quality that ensures that they develop the skills, knowledge and behaviours to meet the needs of their employer? Are apprentices kept safe?


If you think you could benefit from a review of your provision, prior to Ofsted visiting, or if you are a provider needing post-inspection help and guidance, please contact us to begin a conversation.

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