BNU logo outside High Wycombe campus



Buckinghamshire New University is rated Good by Ofsted following an inspection of Apprenticeship provision in September 2023. 

Apprenticeship provision is a substantial part of BNU's academic offer, with over 1,000 learners in multiple subject disciplines including policing, nursing, social work, clinical professions, digital technology and product design. 

Inspectors noted the expertise of skilful staff, high quality resources and learning spaces, and the wide network of support available, which reflect the significant investment BNU has made in apprenticeships since launching in 2018. 

Ofsted’s judgement on overall effectiveness comprises individual ratings for the quality of education, behaviour and attitudes, personal development, leadership and management, and apprenticeships, which were all rated Good. 

We are particularly proud that our apprenticeships have enabled us to reach new learners and widen our student representation. More than half of our apprentices are first in family to attend higher education and a third are from underrepresented ethnic groups. 

Ofsted inspectors spoke to apprentices, BNU colleagues and employers; attended teaching sessions; and joined tripartite reviews between employers, apprentice learners and BNU colleagues. Excerpts from the final report included: 

Apprentices develop their character and confidence well through their apprenticeship. Most work in complex, challenging public-facing sectors where they need to react quickly and professionally. They build the resilience, skills and behaviours they need swiftly to manage these roles effectively. 

Apprentices benefit from useful, impartial careers advice and guidance that enables them to understand their next steps well. The dedicated careers teams host careers fairs and helpful drop-in sessions that support apprentices with job searches and interview preparation. 

Leaders and managers have designed an apprenticeship offer which meets local and regional skills needs well. They have grown their apprenticeship offer carefully, building on strong employer links in sectors such as healthcare and policing. They have responded to local skills improvement plan priorities by creating a new apprenticeship-led school of engineering. 

Leaders rightly recognise that apprenticeships fit well with the mission and vision of the university. Staff carefully target recruitment of apprentices who may otherwise not be able to attend university. They adapt teaching timetables to accommodate apprentices’ personal and professional needs, for example through later start times. Leaders have a clear commitment to promoting social mobility and inclusion, which they fulfil well.