Ofsted to get tough on providers graded 'requires improvement'

Ofsted is proposing to scrap 'support and challenge' visits and unpublished letters, and move to a single monitoring visit with the findings to be made public

Stephen Exley

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Ofsted is planning to toughen up its approach to inspecting FE providers graded “requires improvement”.

Since 2013, it has carried out “support and challenge visits” to providers given this overall grade, resulting in unpublished letters being sent to them.

A report published today by the inspectorate says “too few providers are improving from requires improvement to good” and “overall, the proportion of providers judged to require improvement has increased”. “We feel the time is now right to review our approach to providers that require improvement,” it adds.

The latest proposal is that, instead of “support and challenge” visits, it will conduct a “single monitoring visit with a published report that has progress judgements”. This would take place between seven and 13 months after the previous inspection.

This, Ofsted argues, will “provide a clearer sense of direction and help providers improve” and help learners and employers “see the progress providers are making”. It will also “ensure that our constrained resources are directed to where they will have the most impact”.

Identifying weaknesses

The monitoring visit reports will tell readers:

  • What the provider has achieved since the last inspection and what improvement they still need to make.
  • Show what steps the provider has taken to tackle the weaknesses identified at the previous inspection and how effective these steps have been.

 

The Ofsted document can be viewed here.

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Stephen Exley

Stephen Exley

Stephen Exley is a freelance writer, director of external affairs at Villiers Park Educational Trust and former FE editor at Tes.

Find me on Twitter @stephenexley

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