Recording students job outcomes should be “requirement” says Ofsted

The inadequate focus of FE providers on the job outcomes of students was a critical talking point at Ofsted’s annual learning and skills lecture today.

Matthew Coffey, the national director of learning and skills at Ofsted, discussed in detail the Skills for Employment report published by Ofsted this morning.

The report found that too many courses focused on the achievement of qualifications and did not extend to training that led to job specific skills. It also revealed that many providers were not offering jobseekers challenging enough courses that were likely to increase their chances of sustained employment.

In an interview with FE Week, Mr Coffey said that it should be a “requirement” for providers to record whether students go into employment after leaving their course.

“There’s a real opportunity here and we should be taking that opportunity,” he said.

At the lecture Professor Ken Spours, from the Institute of Education, spoke about the need for a cultural change towards FE provision and called for Ofsted to be at the “forefront” of this change.

Mr Coffey agreed with Professor Spours and said that what concerns him is when people criticise Ofsted for its attention to data.

“People say our focus on data is a distraction and its stifling innovation and that really worries me. The point I really want to get across is that we look at whole range of information that informs our judgement on outcomes. We do look at where students go…We give a real richness behind that story.”