Ofsted is seeking views on a proposal to carry out monitoring visits to FE providers judged ‘requires improvement’ and publish the results.
Under current rules, providers that are given a grade three by the education inspectorate are given subsequent support and challenge visits that result in unpublished letters until they are re-inspected within 12 to 24 months of the inspection.
A consultation launched this morning states that Ofsted is looking to change this and get stricter by carrying out monitoring visits which will then be made public.
“We are proposing that for providers that are judged to require improvement, instead of carrying out support and challenge visits that result in unpublished letters, we conduct a single monitoring visit with a published report that has progress judgements,” the consultation document said.
It adds that while around 80 per cent of providers are currently rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’, the inspectorate’s evidence shows that “too few providers” are improving from ‘requires improvement’ to ‘good’, and “overall, the proportion of providers judged to require improvement has increased”.
The changes are being proposed because using progress judgements and publishing reports “will provide a clearer sense of direction and help providers improve” and “we need to be more transparent in what we do so that learners, apprentices and employers can also see the progress providers are making”.
“We want to ensure that our constrained resources are directed to where they will have the most impact,” Ofsted added.
Monitoring visit reports typically tell readers what the provider has achieved since the last inspection and what improvement they still need to make.
They also show what steps the provider has taken to tackle the weaknesses identified at the previous inspection and how effective these steps have been.
It is proposed that this single monitoring visit for grade three providers will take place around seven to 13 months after the inspection at which the provider was judged to require improvement.
But it explained: “This will apply to any provider found to require improvement from the beginning of this consultation (November 10, 2017), subject to the outcome of this consultation.”
This means that carrying out and publishing one of these new monitoring visits will not apply to any providers currently rated grade three.
The consultation opened today (November 10) and will close on December 22. The response will be published in February 2018.
You can submit your views to the consultation here.