Ofsted boss tells MPs all 16 to 19-year-olds should be taught in schools

Ofsted boss tells MPs all 16 to 19-year-olds should be taught in schools

Ofsted boss Sir Michael Wilshaw has said all 16 to 19-year-olds should be educated in schools, during a parliamentary session in which he attacked the FE sector again.

He was speaking in front if MPs at an oral evidence session of the Education Committee, chaired by Neil Carmichael, this morning.

“My view is that 16 to 19 should be done in school,” the Ofsted boss said.

Vulnerable learners who need a familiar environment “head off towards the FE institution which is a large, amorphous institution on a number of campuses and do badly. They get lost. Drop out,” he continued.

Sir Michael said that schools moving together into a clusters provided a “really great opportunity” to ensure high quality vocational education.

“If I was running one of those I’d have primary schools, I’d have secondary schools and I’d have a couple of UTCs [university technical colleges] as well,” he said.

“I’d make sure the progression was good, and I’d know the vocational offer that we were providing was of high quality.”

His comments come six weeks after Sir Michael hit out at an “inadequate at best” FE sector during a speech for the thinktank CentreForum – criticism against which the sector subsequently defended itself.

He also attacked the FE sector in today’s evidence session.

“The FE sector is in a mess – that’s why the government is reviewing it at the moment,” the Ofsted boss, who is due to retire in December, told MPs today.

“Youngster who don’t do very well at 16 often don’t do very well two years later, particularly in English and maths where the results are pretty poor,” he said.

The reliance on success rates to secure funding meant that “too many youngsters are put on level one courses when they should be challenged to do level two,” he said.

“We also find in too many GFE institutions that they haven’t thought carefully enough about their curriculum. The curriculum is often irrelevant to the local workplace and national employment,” Sir Michael alleged.

Core skills are “badly taught and results are pretty poor” in FE, he said.

Many FE colleges have amalgamated into large institutions, Sir Michael said, and “I’m not sure they’re delivering what the nation needs”.

Mr Wilshaw also defended his criticism of the standard of careers advice in colleges, which he said was based on inspection reports and destination data.

Colleges are “pretty poor at collecting destination data,” he said.

“They’re quite happy when they phone somebody up to say where are you working? Well, I’m doing a part-time job at MacDonalds, and to leave it at that.”

Read more about today’s evidence session as well as the sector reaction in next edition of FE Week.  Feel free to leave a comment below