Ofsted confirms new stricter rules for grade 3 providers

Ofsted has confirmed it will apply stricter rules to FE providers judged ‘requires improvement’, and will now carry out monitoring visits to them and publish the results.

The education watchdog confirmed the crackdown this morning in its response to the consultation it ran in November on the rule change.

Under previous rules, providers that were given a grade three were given subsequent support and challenge visits that result in unpublished letters until they are re-inspected within 12 to 24 months of the inspection.

Ofsted has now changed this and will carry out monitoring visits which will then be made public, applying it to visits since Novemebr 10, 2017.

A total of 251 responses were gathered in the consultation, of which 65 per cent agreed with the proposal.

“In light of the responses to the consultation, we will be taking forward the proposal,” Ofsted said.

“For providers that are judged to require improvement, we will conduct a single monitoring visit, normally around 7 to 13 months after the inspection at which the provider was judged to require improvement.

“The re-inspection of requires improvement providers will still normally occur 12 to 24 months after the previous inspection. We will keep the re-inspection timing under review to ensure that the provider has enough time to improve on issues identified at the monitoring visit.”

The inspectorate said the monitoring visit will result in a published report that has progress judgements.

“Published monitoring visit reports will explain what the provider has achieved since the previous inspection and what improvement they still need to make.

“Inspectors will use the progress judgements set out in Part 1 of the Further education and skills inspection handbook.”

Ofsted added that this rule will apply to any provider found to require improvement since 10 November 2017 (i.e. those notified of inspection on or after 10 November).

It will write individually to providers directly affected and will make “necessary revisions” to the ‘Further education and skills inspection handbook’.