Students sat in walkways

BNU rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted after positive inspection

Buckinghamshire New University has been rated Good by Ofsted following the recent inspection of its apprenticeship provision.

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

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

The four-day visit in September was the first time BNU had been inspected for its apprenticeship provision, which is now a substantial part of its academic offer with over 1,000 learners on programmes in multiple subject disciplines, including policing, nursing, social work, clinical professions, digital technology and product design.

To help inform their report, Ofsted inspectors spoke to apprentices, University 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.

Apprentices feel safe and know how to report concerns or seek support at work and at the university. They understand their responsibility for health and safety in the workplace. Nursing apprentices learn to maintain professional boundaries carefully on the wards and know how to move patients safely. Police constables learn to de-escalate situations and know how to keep themselves and others safe in violent environments.

Ian Harper, Commercial and Business Development Director, said: “I am delighted that colleagues’ hard work has been recognised by Ofsted. Buckinghamshire New University began delivering higher- and degree-level apprenticeships just five years ago, and has expanded its provision to serve multiple sectors and ensure that our region’s apprentices and employers have access to BNU’s vocational expertise.

“We’re particularly proud of how 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.

“This Ofsted rating is testament to the strong partnerships we have with our apprenticeship employers whose commitment and dedication to working together helps us to deliver the best possible experience for learners.”

Find out more about our apprenticeship provision here.