From education to employment

Ofsted: FE has much to celebrate, but more needs to be achieved

Work-based learning providers have shown considerable improvement, with 48% of those inspected rated good or better compared to 42% a year ago, a report by the UK’s education regulator has found.

Ofsted’s Chief Inspector’s Report for 2009/10 reveals considerable improvement across the FE sector, with particular emphasis on colleges, adult learning and within the work-based learning sector.

This year’s report saw Ofsted inspect 410 learning and skills providers – with work-based learning providers and colleges accounting for nearly three quarters of these.

Of the providers inspected, the “more established” work-based learning providers were more likely to be judged good or outstanding compared with newer providers, the report adds.

More than 82% had improved or maintained their performance since their previous inspection.

The report states: “Outstanding providers of work-based learning listen to their learners. They ensure that, by collecting and using feedback on learners’ experiences, their interest and motivation are maintained.”

Of the FE colleges surveyed, 57% were judged to be good or outstanding, and 70% of adult and community learning were also deemed to be of a similar stature.

However, the report also found some shortcomings and room for improvement throughout the sector.

For example, although it found teaching offered by adult and community learning providers inspected this year to be good, none were rated as outstanding.

Elsewhere, provision contracted by the Department for Work and Pensions is the weakest area of post-16 learning, with the highest proportion of inadequate providers – 28 out of 34 providers were judged to be inadequate in terms of outcomes for learners.

“It is true that we expect more from schools and colleges today, and more from our teachers,” said Ofsted Chief Inspector Christine Gilbert.

“But we also know a lot more about how to deliver good, inspiring lessons that motivate and engage children, young people and adult learners. The report has much to celebrate. However, more needs to be achieved.”

Mark Astley

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