The apprenticeship provision at St Mary's University, Twickenham has received a positive first report from Ofsted following a visit from inspectors to assess the quality of its school chaplaincy apprenticeship programme.
Monitoring visits for apprenticeship providers are different to full and short inspections by Ofsted. They take place over two days and inspectors make progress judgements to assess whether providers can deliver high-quality training and ensure that apprentices train in environments that take safety and well-being seriously. After a two-day visit, the University was judged to be making good progress in all areas. The report highlights the effectiveness of the training on offer and the quality of relationships with apprentices’ employers. It states that St Mary’s "work(s) closely with employers and the dioceses to consider carefully the needs of different schools.”
Progress is evident in the course leaders’ ability to meet all the requirements of successful apprenticeship provision. For example, the inspectors commented that leaders select, design, and teach an effective curriculum that enables apprentices to develop significant new knowledge, skills, and behaviours that "enable them to meet all the requirements of the apprenticeship standard".
The support received by apprentices was also praised. It was noted that "apprentices have access to the same support that students studying on campus at the university have. As a result, apprentices receive the support they need to make good progress in their studies." It is particularly pleasing that our commitment to pastoral care was also recognised: "Leaders and managers have good oversight of safeguarding and apprentices’ wellbeing and mental health".
Apprenticeship Head Eleanor Stewart welcomed the report saying, “This was the first formal visit by Ofsted since the University introduced apprenticeships 18 months ago, and we feel that the positive report is a significant achievement and testament to St Mary's commitment to widening participation and student success. We are looking forward to building on their recommendations and now using our expertise to launch new apprenticeship routes.”