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Government minister hails schools’ apprenticeship programme

An influential minister with the Department for Education is holding up Ebor’s apprenticeship programme as an example of good practice other multi-academy trusts across the country would do well to follow.

Lord Agnew, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System, was interested to hear about how Ebor uses the apprenticeship levy – a compulsory tax on all employers with a pay bill of more than £3m per year – at a recent event attended by chief executive Richard Ludlow.

Now the minister, responsible for academies, multi-academy trusts and school improvement, is to share a case study of York-based Ebor’s success.

“It makes sense for an education provider such as Ebor to ensure its staff receive appropriate and timely continuous professional development,” said Mr Ludlow.

“By becoming an employer-provider, we can access our own levy funding to upskill employees at no financial cost to the individual.”

The trust has successfully started to deliver a Teaching Assistants Level 3 apprenticeship, with a programme that covers core areas such as behaviour management, speech and language development, reading and numeracy.

Other courses are planned for School Business Professionals Level 4 and Property Maintenance Operatives Level 2.

Following a successful monitoring visit Ebor has applied to be a main provider, so as to offer apprenticeship courses to other academy trusts and to maintained schools in the area. This will allow other employers who pass the £3m pay bill threshold to use their own funding pots for the benefit of their own employees.

By working collaboratively in this way, it also has the potential to increase the variety of education-based courses, the size of cohorts and the frequency of the apprenticeship courses.

Ebor currently operates 22 schools, which in York includes Robert Wilkinson Primary Academy, Haxby Road Primary Academy, Hob Moor Community Primary Academy, Hob Moor Oaks, Lakeside Primary Academy, Park Grove Primary Academy and Osbaldwick Primary Academy. It also has other schools in Selby, the East Riding and on the Yorkshire Coast. Two more schools in Hessle, Hull, are scheduled to join in July.