OfSTED Inspection Return
OfSTED announced this week that full inspections will not return until next summer but there will be a gradual resumption of monitoring visits. This means that due to Covid, full OfSTED inspections will not have been conducted for almost 15 months. Essentially, there has been either no or just light touch monitoring of education and delivery for over a year and it would suggest that there is going to be a fairly hefty backlog to work through. It also implies that for many new providers who joined ROATP back in 2017 / 18 that they may not have a full inspection for at least the first 4 years of their contracted delivery.
Has OfSTED been forgotten?
As a business with an interest in OfSTED inspections and quality assurance, we have noticed that the conversation volume about OfSTED has been significantly dialled down. It would seem that while there are some clear Covid symptoms; persistent cough, high temperature etc there is another – OfSTED forgetfulness.
We did a bit of research yesterday on the search interest on Google related to OfSTED and inspections. Whilst education and training providers have been busy adapting their teaching and training because of Covid, it would appear that they have also been busy forgetting about OfSTED. The following are search interest over time percentages on some keywords.
(Numbers represent search interest relative to the highest point on the chart for the given region and time. A value of 100 is the peak popularity for the term. A value of 50 means that the term is half as popular. A score of 0 means that there was not enough data for this term).
Search term – “OfSTED”
Search term – “OfSTED Inspection”
Search term – “OfSTED Inspection Framework”
Search term – “Curriculum Intent”
Preparing for the return of OfSTED
When OfSTED inspections stopped March 2020 the Education Inspection Framework (EIF) had been in existence for just 6 months. The education and training providers inspected in those 6 months had very little time to prepare their curriculum plans and ensure their delivery fully met the framework requirements. There may have been some latitude given by inspectors to reflect this but regardless, not a single independent learning provider was judged “outstanding” in that period. Indeed there were exactly 100 inspections carried out until the end of February 2020 and of those 49% of providers had a “requires improvement” or ‘inadequate” grade for their overall effectiveness. The remaining 51% or providers were graded as “good”.
By the time inspections resume in the summer of 2021, education and training providers will have had the EIF for almost two years, which means that they have had almost two years to get their curriculum planning right – OfSTED may show a little less tolerance when inspections resume.
One of the most important ways to prepare for an OfSTED inspection is to ensure your curriculum planning is robust. We have written about the importance of using a tool such as our Stedfast system which makes curriculum planning really easy, saves time and increases efficiency. Education and training providers need to consider how they approach curriculum planning. More importantly, they need to get back into the mindset that OfSTED will return. In October 2019 there were almost 40k per month of searches of “Education Inspection Framework” on Google – a year later there are only 7k per month with the lowest in this 12 month period being Aug 2020 with just 4k searches in the month. Remeber – OfSTED will return.