Going beyond guidance
Apricot’s internal QA cycle revolves around the structure of the academic year. Learning walks and formal lesson observations are held termly and judged against our criteria for best practice that extends beyond Ofsted’s expectations. These include skills specific to teaching effectively in the online environment and the personalisation of lessons for our vulnerable cohorts.
We utilise Ofsted/DfE quality standards as benchmarks to ensure we achieve the highest standards and have robust mechanisms in place to monitor, evaluate, and continuously improve our implementation and review impacts. Our quality management systems have been recognised in clients’ Ofsted reports for their excellence and innovation.
To learn more about our performance management and how we coach our staff, check out this video.
External Quality Assurance Audits
Apricot is committed to a high standard of quality assurance. We are subjected to regular QA visits from local authorities and councils with whom we work and undertake our own rigorous self-evaluations. As an online school, Apricot follows DfE guidelines and takes a “best fit” approach where guidance is constrained to a physical location/presence.
Apricot is an organisation committed to providing a quality experience to its students. Staff are enthusiastic and thorough with high aspirations; they aim to be outstanding. They provide a valuable, flexible good quality educational experience to a number of students who would struggle to access this otherwise. (Warwickshire QA Audit)
While we cannot be inspected directly, we recognise that our clients are inspected. In every case of client inspection, Ofsted has graded our teachers as Good and as Outstanding.
Teaching is outstanding and students are able to access specialist and higher-level teaching, particularly through the service’s use of Apricot Online. For students whose medical conditions make it difficult to learn at some times of the day, the flexible timing of online courses meets their needs extremely well.
The curriculum meets students’ needs exceptionally well. Opportunities to gain qualifications through completing online courses, through the use of Apricot Online, have greatly increased the breadth and number of accredited courses available to students, especially those who are too unwell to leave their homes. Some 30 different subjects are now available to students. (Northants Ofsted Report)
We seek to uphold these standards on behalf of our clients. We have adapted Ofsted’s framework for section 5 inspections along with statutory guidance issued to alternative education providers by the DfE to make them relevant and applicable to the online learning environment.
Recent QA Audit — City of York
The provider demonstrates a clear moral purpose and sense of mission. It specialises in reaching students whose challenges and overlapping needs act as barriers to learning and progress. The provider is inclusive and its desire to engage and support young people in being the best that they can be, is a thread that runs throughout the wide range of areas scrutinised in this QA. The provider works hard to create a nurturing space that holds marginalised students into learning.
Teaching in virtual classrooms allows students struggling with the pressures of mainstream schooling to ‘be themselves’ more easily. The provider is experienced in making virtual learning active and in developing resilience and independence through increased engagement.
The provider has well developed systems in place to ensure the quality and effectiveness of teaching and learning. A real focus on pedagogy supports teachers in the development of teaching skills that engage students in active learning in a virtual environment. This commitment to professional development and the high retention rate of teachers at Apricot, should give commissioning schools confidence in the quality of provision.
The provider offers a variety of pricing models. Its curriculum offer is flexible and there are opportunities for commissioning schools to create a blended package of provision with the provider.