Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Waiting Game

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Waiting Game

Article excerpt

Colleges are still in the dark over when - or even if - Ofsted will introduce campus-level grades

Whatever happened to Ofsted's proposals to bring in campus-level grades for colleges? In early July, FErret's colleagues were told by the inspectorate that a consultation on giving separate grades for each campus, as part of inspections of institutions at corporation level, would be getting under way later that month.

Only, what with Brexit and the wholesale reorganisation of the machinery of government, this never happened. But, with the area reviews looking like a stepping stone on the way to fewer, larger colleges operating across several sites, the changing landscape poses a problem for Ofsted, and it is clear that change is needed.

As Joe Docherty, chief executive of NCG, the biggest college group of all, put it at the time: "Ofsted finds it practically impossible to inspect NCG and understand its constituent parts."

And, without change to the inspection system, it could actually act as a deterrent to the formation of more college groups across the country. Think about it: if you were a successful college thinking of taking on another, underperforming institution, would you really want to risk your overall grade dropping if the inspection failed to acknowledge the strengths of your most successful constituent parts? …

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