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An outstanding observation

In the context of a second consecutive year where no college in England has been awarded an outstanding grade by Ofsted, Martin Doel, chief executive of the Association of Colleges, is quoted as follows: "We at least need to know the rules of the new game" ("'Shine a light' on FE, says Ofsted after grim verdict", 30 November). To my understanding, Sir Michael Wilshaw made the new game and its rules clear: "An outstanding provider must have outstanding teaching, learning and assessment" (A Good Education for All). However, given the complexity of educational provision within the FE sector, converting a definitive statement into universal institutional practice is challenging. Much of the problem can be explained by the need for colleges to seek additional revenue streams to remain viable. Consequently, Ofsted's required focus on "teaching, learning and assessment" by necessity becomes subordinated. The FE sector needs to consolidate its provision before diversifying still further.

Tony Fort, FEHE lecturer, Burnley.

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