Matthew Coffey, National Director at Ofsted, responds to FE Week analysis

I read with interest the article in FE week on a sample of colleges from the 157 group and their inspection judgements.

The first, and most important, point to make is that the inspection framework (CIF) has not changed. The article suggests that a new common inspection framework was introduced in September 2011. It wasn’t. We are introducing a new CIF in September 2012. Our final public consultation on the new framework has just closed and we are planning to publish it at the end of the month.

It may of course be entirely correct that colleges are being inspected for the first time under the 2009 framework. I also accept that our approach to the selection of providers for inspection has changed since 2009.

Selected analysis over a short timeframe will not give a fair representation of the state of the nation”

In 2009/10 around a quarter of providers were selected for inspection based on our published risk assessment process.

This increased to around half of providers in 2010/11 but excluded outstanding providers.

This year we have maintained the selection ratio although outstanding providers have also been assessed, and indeed some have been selected for inspection.

The consequence of this proportionate approach to inspection must not be underestimated. Selected analysis over a short timeframe will not give a fair representation of the state of the nation.

However, this should not detract from the key messages coming out of inspections at the moment. Teaching and learning continues to be a key issue as does the rigor of self-assessment.

I won’t attempt to write an annual report in this space but instead direct you to our quarterly published data which can be found on our website.

Individual published inspection reports explain the evidence behind our grades. Reports also contain details on how providers can improve.

Click here for updated FE Week Ofsted grade analysis, which includes the three most recent results


By Matthew Coffey

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