A draft common inspection framework, published today by the Office for Standards in Education and the Adult Learning Inspectorate, reveals how the new system, to be introduced next April, will work.
Inspections will focus primarily on the experiences and expectations of individual learners.
Significantly, the inspectors will take account of how colleges and other providers have "added value". They will look at what students have achieved, taking into account their previous attainment. Students will need to have made at least the progress expected of them.
As well as the quality of teaching, training and learning, they will look at the range, planning and content of courses, the resources available and how efficiently they are used, and the extent to which provision is educationally and socially inclusive.
"Inspectors will ensure that the views of learners about their education and trainin, and the support and guidance they receive, are sought and considered."
The inspection of school sixth forms and colleges will be harmonised as closely as possible.
"Inspections will be carried out in a way that secures the co-operation and confidence of those being inspected. The inspection should make a valuable contribution to improvement," says the paper. The inspectors will keep their demands for information to a "realistic minimum" .
They will look at both the adequacy and suitability of staff, and also at the use of specialist equipment, learning resources and accommodation.
Managers will need to show they have effective measures to eliminate oppressive behaviour, including all forms of harassment. Governors will need regularly to monitor their own performance. The "best value" principles of comparison, challenge, consultation and competition will need to be applied in securing resources and services.
The paper is going out for consultation, and responses should be in by January 5, 2001.