The TES is reporting that Ofsted’s chief inspector, Michael Wilshaw has hit out at the “alarming rate of underperformance and failure” in colleges, in his latest outspoken attack on the FE sector.
Speaking at the Baker Dearing conference today, Sir Michael Wilshaw said while there were some excellent FE colleges, nearly half of those inspected by Ofsted in the current academic year had been judged to be less than good.
“This is an alarming rate of underperformance and failure, especially when we remember that the majority of 16- to 19-year-olds are educated in the FE sector.” he told the conference.
“Right across the country, we find colleges that simply aren’t delivering what’s needed. In too many cases, inspectors are coming across weak provision, characterised by poor outcomes for learners and apprentices, high drop-out rates and sub-standard work experience placements that fail to develop students’ industry-specific skills.”
“They reflected my concern that too many FE colleges are still packing their curriculum with low-quality courses that fail to match the skills gaps in the local and national labour market,” he added. “And they betrayed my frustration with the fact that so many young people who failed to reach the grade in maths and English at 16 still haven’t got these key qualifications two years later.”
Martin Doel, chief executive of the Association of Colleges, said Sir Michael had failed to point out that the sample of inspected colleges was skewed by “Ofsted’s risk-based approach [which] focuses inspections on colleges with weaker results”.
Do you agree with his views that colleges need to improve? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter. ~ Sophie
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