From education to employment

Annual “health checks” prescribed for all colleges in England

Colleges across the country have strongly endorsed the introduction of annual assessment visits, according to a survey by the Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED).

Designed to supplement the programme of full college inspections, these “health checks” will provide an interim assessment of key aspects of the colleges” provision and performance, with the findings supported by a published letter.

Every college in England will be visited during the 2006/ 2007 academic year. Normally one day, (two days where provision was judged unsatisfactory at the previous full inspection) the visits will be led by a Local Managing Inspector (an HMI), and accompanied by a full-time inspector from the Adult Learning Inspectorate (ALI) where the college has significant adult provision.

Colleges were already visited in the academic year 2005/06 and, although the results were not published, the programme received overwhelmingly positive feedback.

Maurice Smith, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Schools, said: “Given the fact that the outcomes of last year’s visits were by no means complimentary to all colleges, the results of Ofsted’s survey are a ringing endorsement of annual assessment visits.”

A survey conducted in July 2006 revealed that 95% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that the feedback, oral and written, has helped the college to improve.

Maurice Smith continues: “Such visits are part of Ofsteds approach across its whole inspection portfolio to make inspection less burdensome and more proportionate to risk. A clean bill of health at a brief annual assessment visit significantly reduces the need for full inspections.”

Overall, 84% of respondents were of the view that the benefits of the visits outweighed the negative effects, and 14% thought the effect was neutral.

Leona Baldwin.

Tomorrow – Liberal Democrat MP Stephen Williams exclusive with FE News

Related Articles