FE and Skills Inspections : 2012/13 review

FE and Skills Inspections : 2012/13 review

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Introduction

It seems like just yesterday the FE sector was gearing up for bloodshed under a new Ofsted common inspection framework (CIF).

Ominously, a toughened-up regime was promised with the hallmark of, among others, a notice period slashed from 10 working days to just two (albeit that notice effectively being four days coming as it would on a Thursday for inspection the following Monday).

And who could forget the annual report in November that pulled no punches in its assessment of the sector, pointing out how 13 colleges were graded as inadequate in 2011/12, compared to four the previous year.

It further pointed out how, for the second year running, Ofsted claimed they had not judged a single college to be outstanding for teaching and learning.

“The learning and skills sector needs re-orientating towards a moral determination to provide high quality and relevant provision, which should include reputable apprenticeship opportunities for young people,” it said.

But we have in fact had a year under the new CIF and this supplement offers a reflective look at what’s happened. Will Ofsted be able to draw upon more inspection results with which to hammer the sector in the next annual report?

Ofsted’s own gradings, ratings and classifications have been adopted, but they’ve been pulled together here by the FE Week team.

As such, we’d like to think we’ve got all our numbers right and included all the relevant inspection reports, but if we haven’t please do let us know.

Nevertheless, we begin on the page opposite with a broader look at some of Ofsted’s appearances in FE Week last year.

And it’s important to note that with this supplement’s aim to reflect on the sector’s inspection results, there is also an intention to provide critical reflection on the CIF as well, posing difficult questions for Ofsted itself.

The new CIF is more closely examined therefore on page 4, where Denise Bown-Sackey, principal at London’s Newham College of Further Education, asks whether it, and Ofsted, is fit for purpose.

And while many might label Ofsted boss Sir Michael Wilshaw a ‘schools man’ as a former secondary head teacher, the same claim cannot be levelled against his national director of FE and skills, Matthew Coffey, whose vocational learning story is told on page 5.

It’s finally onto the matter of inspection report stats on page 6 with a focus on general FE and tertiary colleges. Joy Mercer, Association of Colleges policy director, and Lynne Sedgmore, executive director at the 157 Group, give their views on the past year on page 7.

Three members of the Policy Consortium then look even more closely at Ofsted and its inspection results across pages 8 and 9.

The independent training provider sector is next to have its inspection performances come under review, on pages 10 and 11, with subsequent commentary from Stewart Segal, chief executive of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers.

Sixth form college inspection results are examined on page 12, where James Kewin, deputy chief executive of the Sixth Form Colleges’ Association, evaluates 2012/13.

Ofsted inspector Alex Falconer outlines one of the biggest challenges facing FE
and skills providers in the year ahead
on page 13.

A quick-fire Q&A with Mr Coffey on the CIF takes this supplement up to page 15, where there is a piece by Dr Fiona McMillan on where the Education and Training Foundation fits in the Ofsted equation.

Note: We have adopted the Ofsted provider classifications, and in the 2013/14 edition of this supplement we hope to include results for community learning and skills providers, dance and drama colleges, higher education institutions, independent specialist colleges and the independent learning provider – employer.