School sixth forms will receive a separate inspection grade for their quality of teaching from September, Ofsted has confirmed.
The inspectorate said it was important for young people - and their parents - to have a clear understanding of how well a school's sixth form was doing, so that they could make informed choices about where to continue their education after the age of 16. It added that the inspection grades could influence the judgement of a school's overall effectiveness.
The news was welcomed by the Sixth Form Colleges' Association and the Association of Colleges, which both campaigned for the change. James Kewin, deputy chief executive of the SFCA, said: "We believe this will help learners to make informed judgements about where to study.
"It will be very interesting to see the details of the proposal. We believe the judgement for the sixth form should act as a limiting grade for the whole institution, and that inspection practice, particularly the use of data, should be consistent across all sixth-form providers."
Joy Mercer, director of policy at the AoC, said: "Colleges, school sixth forms and academies have the same funding. All deliver study programmes and have the same accountability to the Department for Education. So it makes sense for potential students to have a like-for-like comparison from Ofsted.
"AoC would like to see school and academy sixth forms having the same inspection regime as colleges."