For me measuring quality impacts and actions is an intrinsic part of providing great education. Not only for Ofsted to ensure everyone is inspection ready, but more importantly to ensure leaders and staff are securing the best possible experience for every student and member of staff that make up the college community.
We know from the plethora of leadership research available that people are the College’s greatest asset. You can have state of the art building and the latest technology, but it is the people that make a students’ experience the best it can be. Buildings alone cannot be aspirational for others, guide and support others or provide access to the latest knowledge needed for skills development. It is the people.
It is people who make a culture, it is people who provide excellence in learning, assessment and achievement. My experiences teach me that a great college is about its people, staff and students alike. I welcome a quality assessment framework that focuses not only on high quality student experience but also has a key focus on the wellbeing of staff.
The new inspection process is undoubtedly a more dialogue-based approach to Inspection. The process seems to be fundamentally constructed on inspectors getting out and about and talking to learners, staff, parents/carers, employers and the wider college community. Inspectors are keen to hear what life is like at college, what do the learners say about their own and others learning journey? There is a clear move away from previous frameworks where data played a vital part in how inspectors reached judgements. It is now a much more person-centred quality assessment framework with people and culture central to the process.
The three core activities of providing and gaining a great education remain central in the new key judgement on ‘the quality of education’. However, the focus appears to have shifted towards the impact of LAT rather TLA. Learning and assessment are threaded throughout the EIF with teaching central to but supportive of learning and assessment. There is a clear steer for leaders on the effective management of assessment, the EIF states that it is important that ‘leaders understand the limitations of assessment and do not use it in a way that creates burdens for staff or learners “.
The effectiveness of curriculum structure is a large part of this key judgement. With the introduction of measures around curriculum intent, implementation and impact. Inspectors are interested to see does learning take place in a coherent way that allows learners to constructively build their knowledge and consistently develop skills and application.
When I read through the EIF, application of knowledge and skills, pedagogical approaches and ‘stickability’ of learning are three areas I feel are critical in enabling learners to grow into independent self-managing learners. I would suggest teaching learners ‘how best to learn within the curriculum’ is central to rapid and sustained in-learning progress. That is understanding and sharing the pedagogical approaches that teachers are using is more important than ever in enabling learners to continue their individual learning journey both outside and inside their lessons. I am passionate about the Finnish education system where the starting point for each student is an explanation on how the teachers are going to teach them. That is the pedagogical approach to be used when delivering the curriculum. The basis of co-creation in learning and a ‘means to’ the students becoming more self-directed and self-sustaining in their learning, e.g. when they are out with employers or in skills competitions.
As in all the other three key judgements, the body of the criteria are in the section on Good. You have to be seen to be secure in meeting the Good criteria and in addition meet the outstanding criteria to be judged to be outstanding.
In summary, I like to look at key words and phrases in documents it helps to give me a flavour of the essence of the content. Key words that spring out of ‘The quality of education’ key judgement and provide a flavour of the focus are;
An ambitious curriculum which is coherently planned, exceptional, curriculum intent, implementation, impact, sequencing learning, skills & knowledge, in-learning progress, all learners, SEND, High Needs, disadvantaged, engagement & commitment to learning, teaching and training are of high quality, learners work embodies consistently demanding curriculum goals, challenge, aspirations, sustained and rapid improvement over time, readiness for employment or next steps, assessment, achievement, securely & consistently, progression, best possible outcomes and a positive learning environment that values and nurtures difference.
I think that’s my favourite phrase in the whole Further education and skills Inspection handbook is ‘a positive learning environment that values and nurtures difference’. How powerful an aspiration is that?
Anything in italics in the article is my own view or interpretation otherwise I have taken the information directly from the new Ofsted Further Education and Skills Inspection Handbook, published in July 2019, reference 190021.
Thanks so much for reading, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts or feedback or use LinkedIn. Hope you and your students have a fantastic first term. Wendy
Below are the GRADE DESCRIPTORS for the key judgement on ‘The Quality of Education’. They describe how “Inspectors will take a rounded view of the quality of education that a provider delivers to its learners”.
For the quality of education provided to be judged outstanding, it must meet the following criteria:
Requires Improvement (grade 3)
· The quality of education is not yet good
Inadequate (grade 4) – the quality of education is likely to be inadequate if any one of the following applies:
· The curriculum has little or no structure or coherence, and leaders have not appropriately considered sequencing
· Learners experience a jumbled, disconnected series of lessons/training that do not build their knowledge, skills or understanding
· Learners’ experiences in lessons or sessions contribute weakly to their learning and intended curriculum
· The curriculum does not prepare learners for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of life in modern Britain
· Weak assessment practice results in teaching that fails to meet learners’ needs
· Learners do not develop or improve the English and mathematical skills they need to succeed in their next stage, whether that is in education, training or employment or in greater independence.
· The attainment and progress of learners are consistently low and show little or no improvement over time, indicating that learners are underachieving considerably
· Learners with SEND do not benefit from a good-quality education. Staff’s expectations of them are low. Staff do not identify learners’ needs accurately and are therefore unable to support learners’ development effectively.
· Learners have attained the qualifications, skills or behaviours appropriate for them to progress to their next stage of education, training and employment.