AoC fears Ofsted will bring 'name and shame' culture to FE

June 2, 2000

Further education colleges fear they may be entering a "name and shame" culture under the proposed post-16 inspection regime.

Delegates at an Association of Colleges consultation conference on the inspection system, which is planned to start next year, said they were worried that Ofsted, which would take the leading role in most college inspections, will duplicate the strained relations it has in the schools sector.

Despite assurances from Stephen Grix, Ofsted's director of post-compulsory education, that there would be a well-balanced inspectorate to cover colleges, there are concerns about the competency of Ofsted's team to make sound judgements on a diverse FE sector.

Greater clarity was needed to explain which curriculum areas would be inspected to ensure that the sample would be balanced to cover the range of college provision, the AoC said.

The involvement of staff nominees at inspection team meetings was "essential" if the conclusions were to be valid.

John Brennan, the AoC's head of FE development, said colleges were also keen to defend the use of college self-evaluation in the inspection process.

He said: "Colleges are mature institutions capable of taking responsibility for their own provision. Ofsted is coming at it from a different position in that, on the whole, schools are not in the same position. We are hoping Ofsted will be able to move towards our viewpoint."

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