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Ofsted Handbook - Inspection of FE & Skills

Ofsted have now released the Handbook for the inspection of further education and skills from September 2009. The Handbook is the full version of the summary that was released earlier in July. Click here to visit the Ofsted website to download the handbook.  

We have read the document and sifted out the highlights for you.  However, the highlights were quite extensive and we ended up with a four page document.  This is a bit lengthy for a news item, so we've produced a PDF document that you can download below with all of our highlights and have pulled out a few of the most interesting and listed them below.

Timetable - providers will have to supply a timetable of group and individual sessions taking place during the inspection period. The lead inspector will use this to select the sessions learners and employers to be seen during the inspection. They will not normally indicate which sessions they plan to see

Workplace visits - providers will need to supply details of learners who aren’t normally at the main sites eg work place, external venues. The lead inspector will decide which workplace visits they wish to undertake and will ask the nominee to inform those employers involved.   Where possible the visits will be planned to observe a member of staff carrying out activities with learners, but they may visit the learner regardless of this! 

Learners Views - a template will be provided to distribute to all learners and employers inviting them to respond to the inspection team, using email where possible usually by the week prior to the inspection. Meetings will be arranged during the inspection to enable learners to meet inspectors, including meetings with samples of learners selected by inspectors and open invitation meetings.  

There is a great focus in the Common Inspection Framework on involving learners in developing policies, provision and activities. This builds on the learner voice concepts and involvement strategies that are common in the FE sector. Ofsted are likely to expect similar strategies across all provisions, not just colleges and LSC provision. 

Grades - the same grading regime applies but illustrative grade characteristics have been provided in many of the key questions. It makes interesting reading and will help providers grade their own self assessment more accurately and work out the minimum standards they should be aiming for in key areas.

Safeguarding - having reviewed all of the Common Inspection Framework entries relating to safeguarding, we think that many providers will have a lot of work to do to ensure they achieve a satisfactory grade.  Remember this is a limiting grade so providers need to start to plan now to ensure they achieve the minimum standard while obviously striving for the outstanding!  We can provide support and training in this area, so contact us if you need help!

Equality & Diversity - to achieve a satisfactory grade there should be active promotion of equality and diversity; the staff profile should reflect that of the learner population; the impact of equalities policies and action plans should be monitored and targets set for improvement.  If providers do not analyse outcomes for learners to monitor the impact of equality and diversity policies, they may end up with an inadequate grade.  This is a limiting grade!

So that's the main highlights - download our PDF for the rest of the interesting bits!


Inspection of FE and Skills

Click the PDF logo to download our hand picked highlights from the Ofsted Handbook.

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