When the Education Inspection Framework was first published in May 2019 it was the first major change in years, representing a shift in both methodology and focus for inspections. Since then, we have seen more changes, with the most recent being implemented from 1 September 2022.
In this blog we look at the top five topics and changes that we think Ofsted want to see in 22/23 to help FE and Skills providers prepare for inspection.
1. Curriculum transitional arrangements
In recognition of the need to allow providers time to make the structural and cultural changes needed as a result of the new framework, Ofsted gave providers a grace period to develop their curriculum to meet the requirements of the EIF.
These transitional arrangements were extended because of Covid-19 but ended in September 2022.Having said that, Ofsted recognise that providers may not yet be where they want to be.
Chris Russell, National Director of Education at Ofsted has stated that:
We do not expect curriculum to be perfect or a ‘finished article’…. Indeed, the best curriculum thinking is always evolving to meet changing circumstances. Inspection supports this approach to continuous improvement.”
So even if you think your curriculum is great, go back and revisit how it could be better.
2. Sub-judgement on skills contribution (Further education colleges, sixth-form colleges and designated institutions only)
From September 2022 inspectors will be making a sub-judgement on how well colleges meet skills needs locally, regionally or nationally. This sub-judgement is linked to the quality of education, and leadership and management key judgements. Those providers who fail to deliver against skills needs may be subject to DfE intervention.
Even if you’re not in scope for the sub-judgement, you should be aware of whether your organisation is meeting skills needs and this should form a core part of your wider Intent, which is a key theme for all types of providers at Ofsted inspection.
3. Covid recovery
Ofsted acknowledges that providers will be dealing with the fallout from the pandemic for years to come and will want to see evidence of how your organisation is responding for example delivering catch up learning sessions or support to re-engage learners to pre-Covid attendance levels.
However, the expectation is that providers should be back to more usual ways of working. Sections of the EIF which included interim Covid-19 measures have been changed to reflect that. Ofsted will be looking at how much remote learning providers have retained since the pandemic and why.
If you are still delivering remotely you need to be able to show the “… clear benefits for learners and their curriculum” or move back to majority face-to-face teaching. Ofsted’s briefing paper Education recovery in further education and skills providers: summer 2022provides a clear picture of what inspectors have been looking at when visiting providers post-pandemic and what good and poor practice they have identified.
4. Sexual harassment and violence and online sexual abuse
The recently added section 282 of the Further education and skills handbook for September 2022 refers specifically to learners who are children or young people, but the handbook also makes clear that the expectation is that all learners must be protected and safeguarded, irrespective of age. Even if all your learners are all over 18, your staff and learners should be aware of the issue, how to identify learners at risk, and how to report any concerns – just as with any other safeguarding issue.
Whilst this isn’t new, it is crucial to get right. Are you measuring progress across the whole programme, not just since the previous review? Are you measuring against an agreed starting point based on their prior knowledge and skills, so that you’re not repeating content the learner already knows? Is the learner clear what progress they have made and what they need to do to successfully complete their learning? How do you identify learners that aren’t making the expected progress and what support do you provide to help them catch up if they do fall behind?
If you’re an apprenticeship provider, all of these must be tri-partite activities that include the employer so that you can jointly sequence – and change as needed - on and off the job learning, to support the learner to develop the knowledge, skills and behaviours they need to achieve.
To learn more about how Tribal's solutions can help you be Ofsted ready, get in touch today.
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