From education to employment

LSIS support is felt across the sector

Rob Wye is chief executive of the Learning and Skills Improvement Service

Recently a number of colleges have been feeling the benefit of LSIS’s support post-Ofsted inspection.

In January of this year, Walsall Adult & Community College (WACC) became the first community provider in the country to be graded outstanding by Ofsted under its new framework. Walsall has one of the highest rates of unemployment in the country, and the number of people claiming out of work benefits is one third above average. In spite of these challenges, the college, which had receive support from LSIS, received the highest grade possible in its Ofsted report.

Later on, in March, City of Bath College received its highest inspection rating in an overwhelmingly positive Ofsted report, with its innovative approach to preparing students for employment receiving praise from inspectors. The college was praised for helping students develop the valuable employability skills that prepare them for their future careers to ease their progression into further study or employment. Inspectors also highlighted the high quality of teaching, the continuing professional development of students and the ‘harmonious and purposeful environment.’

The college had worked closely with LSIS as they pursued improvement; now the principal, Matt Atkinson, is confident the college can move not just from satisfactory to good, but from good to outstanding.

Kirklees College and Northumberland College have also experienced improvements in their Ofsted grades after receiving support from LSIS. Andrea Machell, the vice principal of Kirklees College, told us that the relationship they forged with us, and other colleagues introduced to them by us, provided the college’s staff with a greater insight into how colleges improve and how to learn from the best practice in the sector.

One of our priorities for the sector is to mobilise effective and timely intervention both to avoid and resolve cases of failure. In the case of K College in Kent we provided our new brand Escalated Intervention Service (EIS); it was the first time the service had been called upon and a team from LSIS helped the college’s senior management shape their plan for the college’s future. The SFA now has plans to adopt a process that resembles our EIS.

LSIS has been dedicated to developing programmes, services and resources to work with providers to improve quality, deliver what their students need and achieve positive inspection outcomes. It is good to see the impact of such improvements, and that these are now really visible – a sign of the legacy LSIS will leave for the sector.

Rob Wye is chief executive of the Learning and Skills Improvement Service, which aims to accelerate the drive for excellence in the further education and skills sector

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