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New Inspection Arrangements

Ofsted have recently announced that from September 2014 onwards any college who receives an overall judgement of 'requires improvement' will be subject to re-inspection within 12 to 24 months - as compared to the previous timescale of 12 to 18 months.

Whilst this may not seem a significant change it can mean an additional 'data' year to demonstrate improvements to the quality of provision/ success rates.

A whole raft of inspection reports were published at the end of the 2013/14 academic year - and a significant number received an overall judgement of 'requires improvement' - these colleges remain subject to re-inspection within the 12 to 18 months cycle and the results achieved at the end of the 2013/14 academic year could be used as the 'inspection dataset'.

A review of all published inspection reports in 2013/14 identified 'In-year data analysis shows.....' as one of the most common phrases used by inspection teams in drafting inspection reports. In all instances the 'In-year data' showed an improvement in success rates!

Whilst consideration is given to 'In-year' data the inspectors cannot rely upon this in drawing their conclusions in the same way as they can rely upon published data.

It is vital therefore that you maximise success rates in advance of the final ILR submission for 2013/14 if you are likely to be selected for inspection during 2014/15 - not only for those of you that are carrying a 'requires improvement' judgement - but for any college experiencing a fall in success rates between 2012/13 and 2013/14 as this could trigger an inspection.

Having undertaken several inspection support assignments during the last academic year we thought that it would be useful to note below some common errors found as part of the 'closure' of the ILR for achievement purposes - and hope you find these of use in helping you achieve an accurate submission:

  1. Quite simply - ensure all achievements are processed - too ofter we hear 'MIS have closed the ILR and we can't make any changes to the dataset' - Achievements should always be processed!
  2. Ensure that if the qualification listed on the achievement certificate is different that than on ILR - a change of circumstance form us completed/ someone investigates why this has happened - the learner shouldn't be recorded as a fail by default!
  3. Make sure you get the withdrawal date right - sometime learners who withdraw at the start of the academic year remain on-programme incorrectly - if they haven't reached the minimum qualifying period then they should be recorded as such.
  4. Process your withdrawals for any learner on a two year programme promptly - many downward trends are caused by a phenomenon called 'orphaned learners'!
  5. Don't make the same error twice - investigate a downward trend early to understand why you are struggling - too often we find the wrong learner on the wrong course!

If you would like to discuss any of the issues above further please feel free to contact us at ets@icca-ets.com