The percentage of providers given grade three or four ratings by Ofsted this academic year has increased, as has the percentage rated Outstanding. As reported by FE Week, 66% of organisations in the FE and Skills sector have been rated ‘Inadequate’ or ‘Requires Improvement’, whereas this figure stood at 36% in 2013/14. Four organisations have been rated as ‘Outstanding’ this academic year, while three providers have lost their outstanding status.
It is perceived by many that changes in the FE and Skills sector, particularly for English and Maths, are contributing to the shift in Ofsted results. Chief Executive of the AELP Stewart Segal, who will be speaking at The Skills Conference 2015, has stated that he believes that changes in English and Maths programmes, as well as changes to apprenticeships and funding rates, have contributed to the ‘challenging environment’ which these results stem from. He also said that it’s important that the ‘period of change’ is recognised in the inspection results. Like Stewart Segal, Gill Clipson of the AoC has acknowledged that the emphasis on foundation English and Maths is ‘influencing final inspection outcomes this year’. She stated that colleges in particular are having to deal with an increased number of learners who have not attained good GCSE English and Maths results – there has been a 47% increase in enrolments for maths alone.