Education giant hit by enforced recruitment “pause” for lower level programmes
The Department of Education has confirmed that BPP University has been temporarily banned from taking on new apprentices.
The suspension applies to certain classes of “level five or below” apprenticeships across law, financial services, insurance and tech — a categorisation that includes paralegal apprenticeships but not solicitor apprenticeships.
It follows a finding in an Ofsted report on provision of apprenticeship training, which criticised BPP’s lack of oversight of some apprentices’ progress and flagged that some managers were “too reliant on subjective information from assessors on the progress of their apprentices” leading to a lack of understanding of “the slow progress that apprentices make”.
Since the publication of the report there has been some confusion as to what sanction had been applied to BPP, with the DofE until now declining to comment.
But higher education title FE Week has reported that the education giant has indeed been suspended from taking on new apprentices for courses at or below the level five mark. And the DofE has confirmed to Legal Cheek that this is the case, with BPP hit by an enforced “pause” on its junior apprenticeship programmes. BPP’s more advanced schemes, including its solicitor apprenticeship, are unaffected, because the critical Ofsted report did not apply to them.
There are 23 other apprentice providers on the official pause list.
BPP declined to comment. But speaking to Legal Cheek in November, vice-chancellor Tim Stewart said:
“The report on the whole identifies many positives in BPP’s apprenticeship provision although naturally, we are disappointed that Ofsted had some critical observations, which relate largely to systems that track the progress of apprentices and the need for consistency in how we track across the schools. We have robust tracking measures in place [there] and we are now in the process of implementing a similar system across the University as a whole but unfortunately, inspectors were not able to judge our new system in its entirety. We are confident that when it is fully operational it will address Ofsted’s concerns and we look forward to the full inspection in the near future.”
Previously: Ofsted criticises BPP’s apprenticeship programme