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As part of delivering apprenticeship funded programmes, training providers are subject to Ofsted inspection in the same way as schools and colleges. At the beginning of July, we were notified that Buttercups was going to receive its first monitoring inspection. Although Oftsed visits can be almost frenetic, this was a perfect opportunity to demonstrate the hard work that our learners, staff and the employers we work with put in day in and day out. The visit went really well and taught us a lot in the process. The inspection highlighted our strengths: our materials, staff, employer and learner relationships, data and learner outcomes and where to focus our attention going forward, ready for a full inspection.

A month has gone by since the visit and this time has allowed us to reflect on where we want to develop over the coming months and years. The report highlights our staff's "extensive specialist expertise in this vocational area", with "leaders and managers enjoy very strong relationships with employers and representative bodies in the pharmacy sector". The report showed that our apprentices have access to "good-quality online learning resources that support their development" and that "all apprentices receive regular and effective training and pastoral support from tutors and assessors". It continues, to praise our learners about their commitment to their programmes and understanding of pharmacy services, explaining that "apprentices have a clear understanding of why they are undertaking their programme and its contribution to their career aspirations".

Moving forward, we will be working on new processes to evaluate apprentices’ skills, knowledge and understanding as part of the induction process and monitoring the development of learners throughout the programme. Another area of development will be in strengthening our engagement with workplace mentors and witnesses, to help them support their learners. A full copy of the report can be found by clicking here Thank you to our learners, staff and employers we work with for your commitment and support.

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