New Ofsted inspection prompts call for radical reform

April 7, 2000

School standards watchdog Ofsted's first inspection of further education provision has led to calls for sweeping reform of 16-19 education across an East London region.

The report, published today, points to radical restructuring of national education provision under the forthcoming education and training body, the Learning and Skills Council.

Ofsted's report into 16-19 provision in Hackney and Islington represents the first "area-wide inspection" introduced under the white paper Learning to Succeed. It forms part of a national programme that will result in Ofsted taking lead responsibility for all college inspections when the Further Education Funding Council is abolished in favour of the LSC.

The inspection found poor staying-on rates, "well below average" A-level results and insufficient cooperation between the area's schools and colleges. Poor data on student destinations was "a cause for concern".

The report recommends three options for reform: removing all post-16 provision from local schools and concentrating it in the cost-effective FE colleges; opening sixth-form colleges to replace or supplement existing provision; developing niche markets for specific areas of the curriculum.

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