Wilshaw slams ‘alarming rate of underperformance and failure’ in colleges

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”.

More at: Wilshaw slams ‘alarming rate of underperformance and failure’ in colleges

Do you agree with his views that colleges need to improve? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter. ~ Sophie

Are you a trainee teacher, NQT, teacher, headteacher, parent or  just someone who cares about education and has something to get off  your chest in a Schools Improvement Guest Post? Follow this link for more details at the bottom of the page.

Don’t forget you can sign up to receive our daily email bulletin (around 7am) with all the latest schools news stories. Your details will never be given to anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any stage. Just follow this link.

We now have a Facebook page - please click to like!



100 things you should have done at school before the age of 11
Half of teachers will lose a fortnight or more of their summer break to work
Categories: Further Education.


  1. AndyDefinite

    SchoolsImprove Wilshaw seems to spend his entire life slamming schools+colleges following an education system he has promoted and enforced.

  2. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Firstly Wilshaw only does negative and secondly the remorseless slashing of funding for FE may have something to do with it

  3. According to the latest data (downloadable below), 20% of general FE colleges, sixth form colleges and specialist FE colleges were Outstanding at their last inspection; 61% were Good, 14% RI and 4% Inadequate.  This is better than the data for 16-19 academies where 10% were Outstanding 30% good, 40% RI and 20% Inadequate.  
    Fed up with Sir M’s negative comments – roll on his retirement.  Not that his successor’s likely to be any better.

Let us know what you think...