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Insights into Quality Assurance: Key Factors for a Productive Ofsted Inspection

Lou Doyle

We caught up with Lou Doyle, the Co-Founder and CEO of Mesma at #OneFileConf2023 to discuss all things Ofsted. Mesma offers a range of software solutions and consultancy services designed to help organisations with their quality improvement initiatives and readiness.  

Quality Ofsted and improvement 

Lou highlighted the way COVID-19 impacted the launch of the new inspection framework, causing a delay in its usage and understanding. She shared how she believes it’s a huge improvement compared to the old common inspection framework and how it has given the opportunity to really dive into not just the outcome data but think through the intent the implementation also. She feels this shift has had a positive impact on the perception of quality, as well as enabling us to acknowledge and address some of the challenges we face along the way. 

Tips for providers for Ofsted 

Lou’s mantra of “No surprises” emphasises the importance of being well-prepared for inspection, that way the provider can showcase themselves in the best possible light, effectively communicate their strengths, address any weaknesses, and ensure a smooth and productive inspection experience. Ofsted’s primary focus revolves around a simple yet crucial question: What is it like to be an apprentice with us? 

Having confidence in answering this question stems from several factors, including: 

  • Quality assurance and high standards. 
  • Reliable systems like OneFile and Mesma. 
  • Data analysis for insights and decision-making. 
  • Sharing compelling apprentice stories.  

By addressing these points, Lou feels you can approach inspections with confidence and effectively convey the apprenticeship experience you provide. 

Future of inspection 

Lou’s thoughts on the future of inspection are, short term we’ve seen Ofsted in part respond to feedback that’s come through very recently from some really challenging and difficult circumstances, seeing for example the consultation, Lou would urge everyone to engage with around the complaints process. We’ve seen some tactical changes, to how we might find out when were inspected, the notification associated with that and the way that we can create autonomy for leaders about how they share that outcome from inspection as well. 

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