Norwich apprenticeship organisation that failed to carry out background checks on new staff judged “inadequate”

Eagit chief executive David Shorten, who last month said at no time were any learners put at risk. P

Eagit chief executive David Shorten, who last month said at no time were any learners put at risk. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: Archant copyright 2011

An engineering training organisation which did not carry out background checks on two new staff members who had unsupervised contact with students aged 14 to 16 has been declared 'inadequate' by Ofsted.

East Anglian Group for Industrial Training (Eagit) said no learners were put at risk, and blamed an 'administrative oversight' for the failure to carry out appropriate Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks for a total of four members of staff recruited in the past year.

The inspectors wrote: 'Eagit has failed to assess the risk to its learners or to scrutinise existing Criminal Records Bureau checks and has failed to initiate new DBS checks on these members of staff, contrary to its own policy commitments. This constitutes a significant management failing.'

Eagit chief executive David Shorten said: 'That was an administrative oversight which has been immediately corrected. At no time were any learners put at risk.'

The organisation, which has a workshop complex on the Norwich Airport Estate, has 280 learners and offers training to 250 companies.

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The Ofsted report followed a four-day inspection in the first week of June. The inspectors listed eight reasons why Eagit was rated 'inadequate', including theory sessions being 'too long' and 'poorly planned', leaders not managing the performance or staff or sub-contractors sufficiently well, and a lack of action plans to address weak areas of staff. They also said the organisation did not develop apprentices' English and maths skills satisfactorily.

However, despite giving the organisation the lowest rating overall, Ofsted praised some of its work.

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The inspectors wrote: 'Staff plan programmes that meet the needs of apprentices and employers well. Eagit has long-established links with many of its employers who value highly the training it provides.'

They also said the quality of practical lessons is good and the proportion of learners who achieve their apprenticeship framework is around the national average.

The report said overall success rates on apprenticeship programmes were high in 2008-09, fell sharply over the next two years, but recovered to above the national rate in 2011-12.

Mr Shorten said: 'We are pleased that the Ofsted report has highlighted the strengths of Eagit with regard to good practical teaching, the high quality of apprentices' practical work, the high level of support for apprentices from staff and employers, and Eagit's good collaboration and strong relationship with many employers. The report also provides us with the opportunity to make some improvements to our processes and teaching practices which we welcome. A comprehensive action plan has already been implemented to address these recommendations.'

Ofsted said Eagit would now be subject to more frequent monitoring inspections which will lead to another full inspection within two years.

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