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Introduction to supplement
A host of knowledgeable contributors have made this Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS) supplement,
put together by the team at FE Week, an invaluable source of advice and guidance on provider improvement.
Contained within are relevant and upto-date news items, pieces from industry insiders, along with features and coverage of events to provide inspiration as to what those in the learning and skills sector might do to better their institutions.
Of course, these are the well-known aims of LSIS and so where better to start the indepth nature of this supplement than with a full analysis of the recently-produced How Colleges Improve report.
Based on inspections of more than a dozen colleges, it was commissioned by LSIS and Ofsted and highlights the
importance of strong governance at colleges.
The report and reaction to it from within the FE sector from the likes of Ofsted national director for learning and skills Matthew Coffey, LSIS chief executive Rob Wye and Association of Colleges director of education policy Joy Mercer, are featured on page 4.
This is preceded by two news items on page 3 that will be of interest to anybody who deals with Ofsted. The first item centres on concerns about Ofsted reports issued under the new common inspection framework (CIF). It looks at whether colleges are getting the feedback they would want.
The second news item reveals the extent to which colleges see Ofsted’s recentlylaunched Learner View — billed as a Trip Advisor-style measure of success or failure — as offering a useful aid in the quest to raise standards.
But getting back to in-depth coverage, this supplement delves into the work of LSIS on page 5, where the reader will find an interview with Abi Lammas, one of LSIS’s regional development managers (RDM). The role of RDM involves working with providers who want nothing more than to improve their service.
Our experts’ section kicks in from page 6 and features Chris Thomson, principal of Brighton Hove and Sussex Sixth Form College, Rebecca Yeomans, Operations Director at B2B Engage, Michele Sutton, principal of Bradford College and Richard Atkins, principal of Exeter College.
Further expert pieces come from David Sykes, director of The Skills Network, Tony Lau-Walker, chief executive of Eastleigh College, Rob Wye, LSIS chief executive, and finally, Ofsted’s national director of learning and skills, Matthew Coffey.
Chris Thomson gives an insightful account as to how Ofsted inspections are seen as a distraction to his main concern — meeting the learning needs of students, and Rebecca Yeomans explains the improvement journey her firm made in just 11 months to go from satisfactory to good Ofsted gradings.
On page 7, Michele Sutton talks about how her college coped with inspection despite the absence of a key member of staff, and while it may well sound nightmarish, but a 21-minute Ofsted inspection warning was exactly what Richard Atkins got — and yet his college emerged with outstanding ratings. On page 10, where David Sykes covers just what providers can expect under Ofsted’s new CIF. The need for a truly critical self-assessment is then made clear by Tony Lau-Walker.
The How Colleges Improve report returns as the subject of pieces from its two authorising bodies, with Rob Wye, from LSIS, and Ofsted’s Matthew Coffey highlighting its implications and recommendations.
Coverage of two key sector improvement events completes this supplement. The first, across pages 12 and 13, is
from a Westminster Briefing debate on professionalism in FE that took place just a day after Lord Lingfield’s review into the issue was released.
The second event, on pages 14 and 15, was an LSIS funded event on preparing for inspection under the new CIF that was led by Megan Whittaker — an additional Ofsted inspector of more than 10 years. So there you have it — plenty to digest and plenty to discuss.
But no matter where you as a provider are placed in terms of Ofsted’s gradings, all here at FE Week wish you the very best in achieving improvement.