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Inspectorate delivers judgement on League Football Education

The Adult Learning Inspectorate (ALI) in England along with its Welsh counterpart Estyn has given the football apprenticeship programme at Football League Clubs in England and Wales managed by League Football Education (LFE) their stamp of approval.

The report published on the 2nd February is based on findings from the intensive inspection undertaken in December 2006. The inspection featured 11 inspectors, involved 35 clubs, 27 education providers and featured interviews with over 250 apprentices.

Gordon Taylor, Chief Executive of the Professional Footballer’s Association, and PFA Deputy Chief Executive and LFE Chairman, Mick McGuire were delighted with the report. In a joint statement they said that,

“The report provides all LFE stakeholders with the level of confidence that the Board already has with the LFE management, staff and their delivery of the programme. We knew how much progress had been made but to have such a good report is excellent”.

Board member Andy Williamson, Operations Director of the Football League paid tribute to both LFE and the staff at Football League Clubs who have worked to enhance the apprenticeship experience,

“LFE has managed to galvanise the Football Club staff and between them they are delivering a programme of real benefit to the apprentices”.

Alan Sykes, Chief Executive of LFE, thanked everyone working on the ASE programme,

“The findings in this report would not have been possible without the support of Football Clubs and their apprentices, Education providers, LFE staff and all the other partners involved in the programme, we are grateful to everyone involved and for the support of both the Learning Skills Council and Welsh Assembly Government for the financial assistance given to the programme”.

The report provides judgements on the overall effectiveness of LFE, its leadership and management and area of learning. Subsidiary grades for quality improvement and equality of opportunity are also provided. The ALI uses a four point grading scale to summarise its judgements:

  • Grade 1 – outstanding
  • Grade 2 – good
  • Grade 3 – satisfactory
  • Grade 4 – inadequate

Only 6% of WBL providers nationally are graded any higher than LFE and over 46% are graded lower. LFE are therefore considered one of ALI’s best graded providers.

The report provides the following grades and comments:

Overall effectiveness GRADE 2.

  • LFE’s leadership and management are good, as are it’s arrangements for quality improvement and it’s provision in sport, leisure and recreation.
  • The inspection team had a high degree of confidence in the reliability of the self-assessment process. The self-assessment report is evaluative and critical and its findings matched those of the inspection team.
  • The provider has demonstrated that it is in a good position to make improvements

Leadership and Management GRADE 2.

  • LFE provides value for money
  • Good initiatives and investment to improve provision and raise success rates
  • Very effective strategic and business planning
  • LFE has recognised the importance of supporting those learners who are not offered a professional contract at the end of their Apprenticeship
  • Core values are most appropriate and establish learners as the main focus for attention and development

Area of Learning. Sport Leisure and Recreation GRADE 2.

  • The ASE programme is very effective in meeting the needs and aspirations of learners
  • All the practical coaching sessions observed were very well planned and delivered and were graded good or better.
  • The coaching provision in Wales is very good.
  • Good development of practical skills
  • Well co-ordinated and managed programme

Quality Improvement GRADE 2.

  • LFE has a particularly effective framework for quality assurance
  • Very effective strategies for quality improvement
  • LFE has particularly well written quality assurance procedures and document control is strong and effective
  • … with a good emphasis on those activities that most strongly affect learners
  • Strong action has been taken to review, monitor and improve the performances of subcontractors

Equality of Opportunity GRADE 3.

  • LFE has a good strategy for ensuring equality of opportunity and a clearly written policy, which includes all current legislation.
  • The policy is also written in Welsh.

A full version of the report is available from the ALI website at

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