Paul Curry is principal officer for Further Education at Ofsted

It is vital that we provide our young people with the skills, opportunities and services they need to lead healthier, happier lives. Traditionally, Ofsted has been concerned with students' abilities to achieve success in their education and this remains important.

However, we recognise that learners' physical and emotional wellbeing is crucial in helping them to enjoy their education and training, and to enable their progression to work or further learning.

What are the advantages of building health and wellbeing into the Ofsted inspection framework?

The main focus for many learners at a college is to achieve a qualification; therefore our inspections place considerable emphasis on attainment of qualifications - an important component of measuring success.

A key question in our last inspection framework - 'How well do learners achieve?' - focused closely on achieving qualifications and the progress made by learners.

Whilst the Every Child Matters themes - Be Healthy; Stay Safe; Enjoy and Achieve; Make a Positive Contribution and Achieve Economic Wellbeing - were also considered, they are now more prominent in the new framework, which came into operation in September 2009.

The new framework focuses on educating the whole person - not just in an academic sense.

Arguably if, for example, you feel safe, healthy and enjoy your learning experience, your capacity to study and achieve is greatly increased.

We believe that by placing the Every Child Matters themes at the centre of our inspection judgements, this will encourage all providers to consider and recognise the progress, development and achievement of the whole person.

What does the new framework mean for colleges in real terms?

Well, whilst we previously looked at the list of health and wellbeing activities on offer at colleges, we will be looking for such developments to be taken further.

We would hope to see a more systematic approach to planning and evaluating health related activities: using learner health and wellbeing data, to ensure the activities and services offered by colleges meet learners' needs and are informed by local health priorities.

There is also a greater focus on the learner voice: have learners been involved in developing the health awareness programme, and ultimately does their involvement ensure high levels of participation?

In addition we would like to see examples of partnership working with local health agencies and any evidence of changes in attitudes through evaluation.

Why are colleges so important when it comes to tackling the health and wellbeing priorities across the country?

The college sector is significant and caters for around 3.5 million learners. The majority of these learners are adults and many have their own families. Therefore the influence of the sector is amplified in terms of changing attitudes and lifestyles of many more people.

On 19 January, I spoke at the first Healthy Further Education (FE) conference to an audience of colleges, health professionals and local authorities. I was able to reinforce the place of health education in the inspection framework.

The Healthy FE programme encourages mutually beneficial partnerships through tools, guidance and regional networks.

Colleges can play an important role in promoting a local health strategy and health partners can support colleges in meeting their own health and wellbeing objectives.

For example, colleges might consider ways to work at a strategic level with health organisations, especially their local hospital trust, GPs and specialist health clinics.

Once these relationships are established, they can learn from each other, fund joint projects and share resources. It is not expected, nor is it realistic, that colleges can tackle the health and wellbeing problems of staff and learners without the support of other organisations in their local community.

This type of work should be recognised in colleges' self assessments and may be considered in inspections.

The Ofsted Handbook for FE and skills sets out in more detail what inspectors might consider in judging health and well being.

Is there a role for Ofsted through the inspection framework to encourage colleges' engagement in learner health and wellbeing?

We are not here to tell colleges what to do, and I would not want them to feel that they have to engage with the Healthy FE programme because Ofsted requires it. Ofsted's role is to inspect to raise standards and improve lives for children, young people and adults of all ages..

We are one partner in the process of improving health and wellbeing provision for learners, and our rationale is that by incorporating the 'Be Healthy' agenda into the inspection framework, we are recognising the importance of this theme in developing the 'whole person'.

We hope that with the Healthy FE programme, and the revised Ofsted assessment criteria, learners will have the opportunity to make informed choices about their own health and wellbeing.

Ofsted acknowledges that the 'Be Healthy' agenda is part of a whole college experience. Improved health and wellbeing services should support improved student attendance and attainment, assist learning and teaching, and empower people to look after themselves and make better life choices.

Paul Curry is principal officer for Further Education at Ofsted

You may also be interested in these articles:

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Advertisers

Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel had a status update on Twitter 11 hours 40 minutes ago

RT @FENews: #SkillsWorldLIVE is now live: @TomBewick will be joined by special guests @mimsdavies IS LIVE right now... live and direct from…
View Original Tweet

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.

Podcasts

We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.

Events

FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page