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Ofsted to move to inspecting good FE providers every five years

The inspectorate has updated its further education and skills inspection handbook, giving good FE providers more time between inspections while also cracking down on those graded requires improvement

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The inspectorate has updated its further education and skills inspection handbook, giving good FE providers more time between inspections while also cracking down on those graded requires improvement

FE providers rated good by Ofsted will now be inspected within five years rather than three.

Since September 2015 Ofsted has undertaken short inspections at FE and skills providers that were judged good at their last inspection to confirm that the previous grade for overall effectiveness was still accurate and to check that safeguarding is effective.

From August the inspection time-frame for good providers will be extended from the previous three to “within five years from the last inspection”.

Toughened approach

The handbook was also updated following a consultation where nearly two thirds of respondents supported proposals to conduct a single monitoring visit of providers that require improvement, rather than support and challenge visits.

The inspectorate announced last November it was planning to toughen up its approach to inspecting FE providers graded requires improvement.

Such institutions will no longer have support visits that result in unpublished letters. Ofsted has carried out support and challenge visits since 2013 to providers given this overall grade, resulting in unpublished letters being sent to them.

Single monitoring visit 

An Ofsted report published in November said too few providers are improving from requires improvement to good and “overall, the proportion of providers judged to require improvement has increased”.

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.

In January Tes analysis revealed that 19 FE providers had not been inspected in the past decade.

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