From education to employment

Andrew Thomson, chief executive of the Quality Improvement Agency on the Ofsted Annual Report publi

Ofsted’s 2006/07 Annual Report published on Wednesday shows that colleges and providers in the further education system are rising to the challenges set by the Leitch Review in helping to drive up the level of skills and qualifications among the working population. However, it is also evident that, as a sector, we are still falling short of delivering the level of excellence of which our best organisations have shown we are capable.

The major concern of the Report’s findings within the FE sector is, in my view, its capacity to improve. Three quarters of those colleges judged as satisfactory this year were also judged to be at the same level as their last inspection, while two-thirds of satisfactory colleges were deemed to only have a satisfactory capacity to improve. The main thrust of the National Improvement Strategy is to lead from the front by encouraging and promoting excellence. For this to work, satisfactory organisations need to respond to the help available and make strong and rapid improvement.

For example, the Quality Improvement Agency has developed the Excellence Gateway through which users can access hundreds of good practice resources and they can share their own resources with other staff.

There is an astounding amount of knowledge and expertise within further education about how to do things really well. The future stands on the capacity of vigorous self-improvement to work the way it is already doing with many organisations. The QIA is ensuring the “golden secrets” of success are shared in the most effective ways as we work together towards the outstandingly good further education system that we all want it to be.

Andrew Thomson, chief executive, QIA

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