Education facilities in the UK are subject to rigorous OFSTED inspections, to maintain and go beyond acceptable standards. Although college OFSTED grades appeared to fall earlier in the year, they have now begun to increase significantly.
Increased OFSTED Grades
UK colleges have improved significantly. In 2017/18, 7 colleges have managed to increase their grades to ‘good’ or ‘outstanding. This is especially welcome since some of these colleges have seriously improved from their failing standards. The increased performance is a complete contrast to the previous month’s data. At that point, colleges appeared to be seriously behind sixth-form colleges and independent learning providers.
Good Progress Won’t Be Acknowledged
Frustratingly, the new education report will acknowledge inspections that were published only towards the end of 2016/17. As a result, this year’s report will appear to indicate a massive decline in college OFSTED grades. If we were to include the most recent findings, the number of colleges rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ has increased to 72% from 71%.
‘Outstanding’ OFSTED Grades Remain Low
If the focus were only on the amount of ‘outstanding’ grades, that is currently at its lowest. Only 1 across 124 inspections were graded as ‘outstanding’. In some cases, colleges had lost their top mark. Some went as far as plummeting to ‘needs improvement’.
Regular Inspections Required to Maintain Positive OFSTED Grades
However, the sharp decline for these colleges were due to seriously irregular inspections. The worst offenders hadn’t been inspected for an entire decade. This is a clear indicator that regular OFSTED inspections are essential for maintaining education standards. During the absence of OFSTED, colleges were left to decline. Colleges that had regular inspections were more successful due to issues being highlighted through those inspections. This allowed for the necessary and appropriate action to be taken.
Overall, UK colleges have had great success before entering 2018. To focus on the lack of ‘outstanding’ marks is highly negative in the wake of such promising results. Indeed, there is room for improvements but what is clear is that regular OFSTED inspections are beneficial and allows educational facilities to effectively tackle their weakest points.