THIS WEEK THE BELOW STATEMENT WAS ISSUED BY EAST OF ENGLAND AMBULANCE SERVICE TRUST TO THEIR STAKEHOLDERS REGARDING OFSTED’S FINDINGS INTO THEIR TRAINING AND EDUCATION FOR APPRENTICESHIPS
Ofsted inspected our training and education for apprenticeships on 10 June.
Whilst Ofsted recognised that we have made improvements in addressing concerns raised by the Care Quality Commission in 2020, they have identified an ongoing risk to our apprenticeship students being exposed to poor behaviours and felt less able to raise concerns.
In light of the Ofsted report, the Education & Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) has withdrawn funding for our level 3 and 4 apprenticeship learning. This means that although we will continue to employ apprentices and provide clinical training, our education provision will transfer to another training organisation.
I am acutely aware how disruptive and worrying this will be for our more than 600 current students and apprentices. My priority at this time is to ensure stability for them, and we are working closely with Health Education England to find new training providers.
We want to minimise the disruption to our students, particularly those near the end of their training.
Whilst it is unclear exactly what this all means for our learners, we do know that any break in learning will not impact students’ finishing their qualification. They will continue to be supported by EEAST's education and training team until such time as a new provider is in place. We will update students every few days as we have further information available.
We value our apprentices and learners and we are committed to improving the quality of our clinical learning environment so we can offer the best possible education and training moving forward. We are working with HEE to learn how we can improve our education and training offer for the future.
I know you will be disappointed to hear of these events, and concerned about the impact on apprentices and our other staff. We are working hard to negotiate with new training providers and resolve this situation, and will be providing updates as soon as there are any developments. In the meantime, if you have any questions at all, please do get in touch.
The report recognises that the Trust has:
• Promoted high professional standards and taken swift action when concerns are raised.
• Put in place a range of targeted services to support apprentices’ psychological and social well-being, including a ‘Freedom to Speak Up’ Guardian.
• Significantly increased the number of staff in the safeguarding team.
To address Ofsted feedback, the Trust has taken a number of actions including:
• Reviewed and strengthened processes for mandatory safeguarding training to make sure learner and staff knowledge of safeguarding is recorded, updated and monitored
• Put in place checks to make sure all relevant staff and students in the future complete their safeguarding training
• Invested in culture programme to tackle poor behaviour and encourage all learners and staff to raise any concerns
• Provided additional support for managers to ask about and challenge behaviour in the workplace
• Using data more effectively and intelligently to identify if different staff groups are having a different experience at work, rather than relying on general survey data
• Reviewing and learning from issues around how education & training at the Trust is managed and delivered, including working with Health Education England.
THE COLLEGE OF PARAMEDICS ISSUED THE BELOW STATEMENT IN RESPONSE
“All students are very important to the College of Paramedics and will always be the lifeblood of the ambulance service workforce, and ultimately the longer-term development of the profession.
“We are naturally very concerned with the findings of the Ofsted report, especially given the fact that the Education and Skills Funding Agency has now pulled funding for level 3 and 4 apprenticeship learning at EEAST. As a result, these students now face significant disruption to their training and development, not to mention the obvious worry they’ll be experiencing as their education provision transfers to an outside training organisation. We remain ready to work with the East of England Ambulance Service Trust and Health Education England to support all 600-plus students affected, and it is our deepest wish that this matter gets resolved as swiftly as possible so that the students can continue with their education journey.”