I hope you find the article a useful read, I have aimed to give you a flavour of the new framework and the shift in focus, hoping it saves you some time until you can find a moment to read the full Handbook in place for September 2019. This is the first in a series of 7 short articles which provide an overview of the different aspects of the FE Inspection Handbook and the Education and Inspection Framework (EIF).
The new Further Education and Skills Inspection Handbook is based on the Education Inspection Framework (EIF). It has quickly become known as the EIF as we all love an acronym in FE. We have changed from the CIF to the EIF. One of the hardest things I found when I joined FE was the extensive use of acronyms, the sector has created its own unique language.
I like the focus of the new Education Inspection framework (EIF) it is more student centric. It puts the student experience first when making quality judgements rather than putting data first. Inspectors are asking more broadly ‘what is it like to be a learner at the provider’. There is a focus on finding out how good is the educational experience for every individual learner and how are they able to contribute to enhancing the quality of their own and others learning, assessment and achievement at college. LAA rather than TLA. The inspection process appears to look at the day in the life of a student from the starting point of their learning journey, building to a picture of a student’s holistic experience of college life. How their learning has been facilitated by leaders, teachers and cross college teams to secure individual success.
New is a focus on staff views, with staff being asked to complete an Ofsted questionnaire at the point of inspection. Inspectors are also interested in a positive culture, staff well-being and workloads (see p62-63)
There is also a big shift in focus towards curriculum design, cohesion and implementation alongside observing and evaluating the quality of the learners’ experience of their curriculum in the broader sense. Observations will look at the 3 I’s of curriculum; Intent, Implementation and Impact.
I like that the lead inspector will arrive on site the afternoon before inspection to help with the planning of the inspection. It gives the opportunity for discussion and clear prioritisation of inspection activities and 'deep dives'.
Anything in italics 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.
Ofsted continue to use a risk-based approach to inspections; this risk assessment process informs how often and what type of inspection takes place. The Self-Assessment report (SAR) still informs the risk assessment process. No specific format required for a SAR, key still is that the SAR process is an embedded part of the quality cycle and not just a document produced for inspection. Risk is still assessed on things like previous inspection report, outcome data, destination data, the views of learners and employers, any complaints to Ofsted or concerns raised by learners, parents’ carers, employers or government bodies.
Notice of inspection remains ‘up to two working days for all types of inspection’.
The Key Judgements have changed
Overall Effectiveness remains – the 4 key Judgements for a Full Inspection have changed and are now:
Judgement grades remain the same: Outstanding, Good, Requires Improvement, and Inadequate
Frequency of Inspection
Outstanding- remains the same, if no triggers are activated, providers are not normally subject to routine inspections.
Good – changed from 3 years to within 5 years - normally a short inspection1 or 2 days– maybe a full inspection if performance has declined. Inspectors will look to see if the provider is delivering Good Quality Career Advice and Guidance and if Safeguarding is effective, along with whether leaders and governors have capacity for continued improvement. If evidence confirms that the provider may be judged to be outstanding, the short inspection will be extended to a full inspection p31
Requires Improvement – changed from 12-24 months to a full inspection within 12 to 30 months – will usually have a monitoring visit (use to be a support and challenge visit) before the full inspection normally 7-13 months after previous inspection. Of note there will be a Published report from the monitoring visit recording progress
Inadequate – no change full inspection (re-inspection) within 15 months of their previous inspection
No change for Newly merged Colleges - normally a full inspection within 3 years of the merger – merged colleges viewed as new Colleges. No grades carried forward.
One additional responsibility to the role of the nominee is highlighting the importance of gaining the views of learners, carers, parents, employers and STAFF, letting them know that they can give their views through the relevant on-line questionnaires. Seeking views of staff at the point of inspection in an online questionnaire is new. A full list of what the nominee sends once you have had the call is on Page 17, this now includes a list of the providers staff. So important to know what your own staff surveys say and what response, actions and impacts have followed. Feedback received on Ofsted questionnaires may shape themes for the inspection team to explore further.
A Pre-inspection team briefing will be drawn up by the lead inspector and shared with the nominee, the curriculum being inspected will be reviewed through focused curriculum reviews known as ‘deep dives’ where inspectors will speak to learners, employers and key curriculum staff as part of the visit (details on page 19). Staff and learners will be asked to share their views with inspectors in private, so responses are not influenced by senior staff or the nominee. Evidence from curriculum reviews will inform other key judgements: behaviour and attitudes, personal development; and leadership and management.
‘Observation is primarily useful for gathering evidence about curriculum implementation’ p23 – observations are part of ‘deep dives’ where it seems inspectors will triangulate across subjects, units and a programme of study for one learner.
A full inspection is between 2-5 days on site, I am interpreting that the number of days relates to the size of provision. Short inspections normally no longer than two days on site, monitoring visits are 1-2 days.
Intent of curriculum is a focus of quality of education and training as well as in learning progress still being a key part of inspection ‘based on individual starting point, rate of learning, acquisition of knowledge, skills, behaviours and whether learners have achieved their individual challenging targets p24’. Curriculum Intent features large in this framework. Ofsted say that “Inspections will normally start with an in-depth discussion with senior leaders and managers about the providers curriculum to establish the intent of the curriculum”.
Thanks so much for reading, please email email@example.com with your thoughts or feedback or use LinkedIn. Hope you and your students have a fantastic first term. Wendy