From education to employment

FE and skills improvements have slowed, warns Ofsted

Improvements among FE and skills training providers have slowed and the performance has declined in General FE Colleges, according to Ofsted’s fourth annual report.

The research showed just 35% of General FE Colleges inspected this year were good or outstanding, and nearly half of Apprenticeship programmes were judged less than good.

The Association of Employment and Learning Providers said that, coming at a time of great change and challenging financial conditions, it was a “terrific achievement” that the percentage of independent training providers found to be good or outstanding increased by a point to 79%.

It said: “Ofsted inspections early in an academic year tend to focus on the worst performers and this should be made very clear in the report.

“Nearly 80% of provision overall is either good or outstanding and we need to promote good practice. Since September 2015, we have had another Common Inspection Framework in place after the previous one lasted a mere two years and providers now have to manage inspections under a new regime.

“AELP agrees that the reforms of apprenticeships must focus on raising the quality, rigour and profile of all apprenticeships and not on simply increasing the numbers of apprentices. The resulting system must also be simple and easy for employers to use and it should lead to the employer commitment and improvement in quality that we all want to see.”

Natalie Thornhill

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