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Won't Learn, Can't Learn at Learndirect

18 August 2017 | Updated 01 January 1970


Learndirect, the independent training provider, has been slammed after its latest Ofsted inspection. A report says Learndirect's overall effectiveness is inadequate.

Learndirect's latest assessment took place in March and the subsequent report was released on August 17. Not only was the training organisation trusted by employers nationwide condemned for its overall effectiveness so was the effectiveness of leadership and management (particularly when it comes to turning things around).

Every aspect of the business offering from adult learning programmes through to apprenticeships needs improving according to Ofsted. This includes quality of teaching, learning and assessment and personal development, behaviour and welfare. Traineeships and Outcomes for learners were both again described as inadequate.


This is an inadequate provider

  • Directors and senior managers failed to take swift and decisive action to stem the decline in performance over the past three years (since the last inspection that found Learndirect to be 'Good').
  • Not enough learners and apprentices achieve their qualifications and develop the skills to enable them to progress at work or into further education and training.
  • The performance of subcontractors is not managed rigorously enough, with the result that apprentices taking qualifications with subcontractors achieve significantly less well than apprentices trained directly by Learndirect.
  • Too many 16- to 19-year-old learners on traineeships do not complete their programmes.
  • Too few adult learners secure employment when they leave Learndirect.
  • Too many apprentices receive insufficient training to develop new skills and they do not receive enough off-the-job training.
  • Small and medium-size employers are not involved routinely in planning the programmes of their apprentices or reviewing their progress.
  • Arrangements for monitoring and tracking apprentices’ progress are insufficiently robust to provide managers with a secure view of how many current apprentices are likely to achieve their qualifications on time.
  • Managers do not manage the performance of tutors and assessors well; as a result, they have been unable to raise the quality of teaching, learning and assessment consistently across different subcontractors and learndirect centres.
  • Tutors and assessors do not develop learners’ and apprentices’ English and mathematical skills well enough.
  • Tutors and assessors do not use the results of assessments of learners’ prior skills to plan learning effectively, and they do not provide helpful feedback at reviews to enable them to improve their work and skills.


The provider has the following strengths

  • The new senior management team has begun to tackle the main weaknesses; early signs of improvement indicate that their actions are beginning to have an impact.
  • Managers work effectively with major employers to prepare for the introduction of the apprenticeship levy.
  • Tutors provide good support for adult learners.


Learndirect was created in 2000 and has since become the largest single provider of further education and skills training in the United Kingdom.


Learner View

Learner View is a website where learners can tell Ofsted what they think about their college or provider. They can also see what other learners think about them too. To find out more go to


Employer View

Employer View is a website where employers can tell Ofsted what they think about their employees' college or provider. They can also see what other employers think about them too. To find out more go to

Article written by Brian Shillibeer | Published 18 August 2017


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