Tes FE People of the Year: Paul Joyce

Ofsted's Paul Joyce managed to sell the FE sector a system that was far from popular elsewhere in education – and did so with a smile
1st January 2021, 12:00pm
Julia Belgutay

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Tes FE People of the Year: Paul Joyce

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archived/tes-fe-people-year-paul-joyce
Paul Joyce Has Been Recognised As One Of Tes Fe's People Of The Year 2020

It is fair to say that Ofsted's announcement that the inspectorate would carry out visits to schools and colleges from this autumn was not universally welcomed. In fact, in the schools sector, it was met with significant resistance.

In FE, however, any objections to the decision, which followed the regulator's suspension of inspections in March after the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, were much more muted. The reason was unlikely to have been FE having had an easier ride in 2020 - nor Ofsted inspectors generally being more welcome in the FE sector. It could be suspected, therefore, that this was at least in part due to the man selling the new approach: deputy director for FE and skills, Paul Joyce.

The visits, he told Tes in July, would be "collaborative visits", different from inspections, and would aim to "support the sector". He stressed they were not inspections by another name, but added that "there will be no grade judgement on those visits, and we want them to be collaborative conversations with leaders and managers in colleges and providers".


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And, rather than being met with suspicion, Joyce's appearances at online conferences and webinars on behalf of the inspectorate were welcomed and viewed, by and large, as helpful. 

Getting the sector to buy into Ofsted's work during the pandemic was not Joyce's only success this year.

Looking back at the past year, he told Tes in early December that Ofsted's annual report showed "how well the education inspection framework has been received by the sector - albeit after a limited number of inspections".

He said feedback to inspectors and from stakeholder engagement had been very positive: "They like the curriculum focus, and they like the focus on the learner experience and the delivery of competencies and skills. I thought it was a good framework for FE, we did a lot of consultation and a lot of engagement with the sector, so I expected it to land fairly well, but I am pleased it has landed this well."

As the sector awaits more information on what Ofsted's plans will be for 2021, and when inspections can resume, here is hoping Joyce can maintain that collegiate approach.

 

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