Julia Belgutay

An inspector calls...but only once a decade

A total of 19 FE providers have, for various official reasons, been spared the ordeal of a full inspection for a decade. While many might count them lucky, Julia Belgutay finds that Ofsted’s risk-based approach can bring pressures – and risks – for those left to their own devices ➧

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“Ofsted outstanding since 2006-7,” proclaims Cirencester College’s website proudly. And it’s true: it has been rated “outstanding” since an inspection that took place in February 2007.

But this was carried out by Ofsted’s predecessor, the Adult Learning Inspectorate (ALI) – and inspectors haven’t been back to carry out a full inspection since.

Ofsted stopped routine inspections of “outstanding” providers in 2011; it returns only if its risk-assessment process identifies a decline in performance.

For principal Jim Grant, the long break between inspections is unsettling. “You keep thinking, ...

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