Ofsted visits from January 2021: all you need to know

Ofsted has published details on what further education providers can expect in the new year
7th December 2020, 4:46pm
Kate Parker

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Ofsted visits from January 2021: all you need to know

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archived/ofsted-visits-january-2021-all-you-need-know
Ofsted Visits From January 2021: All You Need To Know

There will be routine inspection of further education providers from January 2021, Ofsted has announced.

Last week, the inspectorate announced that all full, graded Ofsted inspections had been postponed to the summer.

In new guidance to FE providers published today, the watchdog has announced that three types of routine inspections will begin again in the new year: 

  • New provider monitoring visits to new providers that have not yet received a monitoring visit.
  • Monitoring visits to providers judged to "require improvement" for overall effectiveness that have not yet received a monitoring visit since their last full inspection. 
  • Re-inspection monitoring visits to providers judged "inadequate" for their overall effectiveness that have not received a monitoring visit since their last full inspection or that are due their second re-inspection monitoring visit (if they continue to be funded). 

The inspectorate also confirmed it will continue monitoring visits for inspections if there is significant cause for concern, and that there will be "support and assurance visits" to colleges and providers that provide education for 16- to 19-year-olds, and survey visits to colleges and providers as part of a thematic survey of the first T levels, commissioned by the DfE.


Background: First college rated 'outstanding' in new Ofsted framework

Ofsted annual report: What it says about colleges

Covid: Delay in return to Ofsted inspections welcomed


Support and assurance visits

Ofsted has said that before the visits, inspectors "may request copies of relevant quality improvement and/or self-assessment documents used by the provider". 

During the visits, inspectors will talk to providers about progress made in dealing with any weaknesses identified in their most recent inspection, and what steps leaders have taken to ensure all learners receive a full curriculum. 

The visit will last one working day - but Ofsted said this could vary according to circumstances and provider type and added that some elements could be carried out remotely. 

After the visit, Ofsted will write to the principal or chief executive, outlining the findings. This letter will not be published, but may be shared with relevant funding bodies.

New provider monitoring visits

Providers will have up to two days' notice of a new provider monitoring visit, and the inspectors will review progress in leadership and management; providing high-quality education or training; and ensuring effective safeguarding arrangements. 

Providers will be judged to have made either "insufficient progress", "reasonable progress" or "significant progress". 

After the visit, there will be a brief published report, which providers will receive a draft of within 18 working days of the visit. Providers will be able to give feedback about the process through a survey. 

The provider should expect to receive a full inspection within 24 months of the report. If the provider is judged to be making "insufficient progress" in one or more categories, the inspection will happen within six to 12 months. 

Monitoring visits to providers judged to 'require improvement' for overall effectiveness

Inspectors will make progress judgements on the main areas for improvement identified in the last full inspection report. A lot of the same procedures are followed as above, the difference being that the provider will receive a full inspection within 18 months of the publication of the monitoring visit report. 

Re-inspection monitoring visits to providers judged to be 'inadequate' at their last full inspection

Again, the same procedures are followed as above. However, when a provider receives its first re-inspection monitoring visit from January 2021, it will normally receive a second one within six months. And when a provider has received its second re-inspection monitoring visit, it will normally receive its full re-inspection within eight months. 

These visits are dependent on the provider continuing to be funded. 

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