Initial assessment has always been important. Now is the time that the initial assessment sets centres apart as outstanding.

Ofsted makes it clear that initial assessment is a vital component in the toolkit of a training provider. Time and again, inspectors refer back to this as the marker of a high-quality organisation.

So, why is it crucial?

In any form of learning, it is sound practice to establish a baseline. Where is the learner at the beginning of their experience with your organisation? It serves many purposes.

Firstly, it constitutes crucial evidence an independent training provider requires for ESFA and establishing funding levels. Secondly, it facilitates meaningful tracking and monitoring as it enables you to evidence progress made by the learner due to consequent interventions you put in place. Finally, it allows you to plan a personalised programme for that learner, so they have every chance of achieving the necessary knowledge, skills and behaviours to succeed.

In short, the initial assessment is crucial – and more so now that Ofsted has flagged it as a necessary ingredient for a good, or better, judgement, as Ofsted also expects you to use this initial assessment to inform each apprentice's Individual Learning Plan. Ultimately, it has become core to their intent, implementation, and impact structure for judgements.

But, how do you undertake an initial assessment when there is no given baseline in behaviours needed for the workplace?

It is currently tempting to wait for things to go wrong in the workplace, or in life, and then to put remedial measures in place to overcome the - now apparent - behavioural shortcomings. Alternatively, providers have been forced to resort to generic content to deliver bland messages followed by multichoice questions. Without investment in one-to-one coaching and mentoring, it might feel that it is impossible to personalise the learning journey to professional behaviours and personal development. And the funding crunch that most providers feel makes this option financially unrealistic in terms of thepotential return for your business.

The Entelechy Initial Assessment

At Entelechy, we appreciate the importance of a diagnostic test to inform the learner of the work that needs to be done. Our 180Explore exercise asks the learner to choose those behaviours that are strengths and those that are growth opportunities and reflect on why. We then ask them to send the same list of behaviours to up to ten people who know them well, and ask them to select strengths and growth opportunities, offering context and explanation for their choices. The wealth of information gathered about the learner, and what development is needed, is both comprehensive and personalised.

The EA Platform encourages the learner to map their learning using this information. Not only is an individual plan created, but the apprentice is .empowered to choose the journey they wish to take to fulfil the standards.

Why is this such an important part of our solution?

Entelechy is a solution that puts the learner at the heart of their own journey. We believe they should be in control and learn how to develop themselves. We don't want to be the expert that tells anyone how to be better; we want them to discover how they can better themselves, with our guidance.

Our 360Explore tool promotes the need for personal reflection and the importance of external feedback in developing our potential. It is a learning experience and gives the learner all they need to know about what to focus on first, then second and on throughout their lives.

It is a tool that might also scan for the course-specific behaviours in the learner and help a training provider tailor delivery. But that is not its primary objective. A training provider has served its purpose when the learner no longer needs the support of facilitators to continue their improvement through life. We help training providers begin this journey with their apprentices.

And, rather usefully, it fulfils the very requirements Ofsted now demand of good and outstanding institutions.