The emphasis on making changes and improvements to benefit the learner made a huge difference to the focus and impetus of all staff.

Assistant principal, GFE Colleges, South East.

GFE Colleges Review of provision: Supporting your continuous improvement

For GFE Colleges, engaging in a review of provision is an excellent way to gain an external perspective on the quality of the learning provided by your organisation, the confidence your team have to articulate clearly what they do and why they do it, and what actions and changes can be implemented to make improvements.

Improve your Ofsted Inspection Confidence with a review by JMC

We provide Further Education and Skills Providers with a review process that is carried it by a team of inspectors who have proven experience of working in the FES world and, almost always, in the wider world of employment. All of our team members are  experienced in inspection and have sound knowledge of the provision they are reviewing.

Types of College we support:

GFE Colleges, including tertiary colleges and FE/HE colleges

GFE colleges are one of the main providers of further education in England and outnumber all the
other types of college combined. GFE colleges offer a wide range of programmes.
They have a strong focus on supporting learners to develop valuable workplace skills through providing technical and professional education and training. Almost all offer apprenticeships and have close partnerships with employers, so high levels of employer engagement are crucial.

Sixth form colleges

Sixth form colleges are the second most common type of FE college in England. They cater primarily for the 16-19 age group.

Specialist designated colleges

Specialist designated colleges are independently founded charities regulated by their own trust
deeds. Their remits vary greatly: some provide adult education, others offer specialist provision for
learners with learning difficulties and disabilities.

Land-based colleges

Land-based colleges provide education and training in areas relating to animals, plants,
farming, and the environment. They offer courses from entry to post-graduate level.

Art, Design and Performing Art Colleges

Art, design and performing arts colleges offer specialist courses for those wishing to
pursue a creative career. They offer a range of courses at different levels, including entry level courses, higher education courses and short courses.

National Specialist Colleges (Independent Specialist Colleges)

NSCs (also known as Independent Specialist Colleges) offer specialist support to young
people with learning difficulties, disabilities and/or mental health problems.

NB: should you offer residential provision this can be reviewed either separately or as part of the full review process.

Excellence in all we do

Our teams are led by an experienced lead inspector (LI). In addition to having worked in the GFE sector and, mostly, in the wider world of employment, the vast majority of our teams have current experience within the GFE sector. Many are governors or trustees of an educational establishment, whilst others have worked in a range of settings on an interim basis, so bringing to the review first-hand knowledge and understanding of the challenges faced in the GFE sector.

Our teams include:

  • Former HMI
  • Current Ofsted Inspectors
  • Former GFE senior leaders
  • Former Ofsted leads in areas including High Needs, English and mathematics, Apprenticeships and governance.

The LI will be your first and main point of contact should you decide to engage in our review process. The focus is on improvement and development of your provision. Your lead inspector, supported by the whole team, will help you to understand the strengths and development needs of your organisation and work with you to identify how to implement and embed these changes. The process is grounded in being supportive and the team will offer a mixture of mentoring, training and coaching, all of which can be as a whole organisation, in specific teams, or on an individual basis, to suit your needs.

The review you carried out and the subsequent visits to monitor and review progress against the action plan really helped us to move forward and have confidence in what we do.

Head of Education, ISC, Midlands

Requiring improvement or inadequate judgement

  • You may have recently been inspected and judged to be requiring improvement or inadequate
  • Or you may have recently had a monitoring visit (either as a new provider or a provider in one of the categories above) and have had one of more area judged as making insufficient progress.

We can support you on your improvement journey through progress reviews, developing and implementing a post inspection action plan, training and coaching. Find out more about this here.

Pre visit audit

Prior to any visit the team will review your website, key policies and procedures, minutes of senior leadership and governance meetings, as well as reviewing your learner tracking system.

We will also carry out a pre visit telephone or teams meeting to discuss themes for the visit with the key point of contact, most typically the person who would be nominee at an inspection, and key senior leaders. This meeting will help to set the scene for the visit, understand any sensitive issues, explore and agree key themes and deep dives. The meeting ensures the direction and focus of the review meets your needs. It also provides an initial coaching session with regard to preparation for external visits and inspections.

Areas of focus for GFE Colleges & other Colleges

We will be guided by you as to the focus of the visit but areas that might be of interest include:

  • Quality of Education
  • Safeguarding
  • Governance
  • Meeting local needs and employer responsiveness
  • Full review of provision
  • Review of residential accommodation
  • A themed visit on a specific funding area such as high needs, adult learning, employer responsiveness etc.

Review visit

Depending on the size of the organisation and the agreed area of focus, the visits will normally take place over 2-4 days. The team will provide ongoing feedback dusting the visit. Following the visit you will receive a report, including a brief action plan. (A more detailed action plan can be produced after you have received the report should you find this helpful).

All reports are quality assured by our central team this ensures accuracy and relevance, as well as ensuring that the report covers the areas of focus agreed during the pre visit audit and meeting.

Use of Evidence in GFE Colleges

As far as possible all judgements will be made using first hand evidence and will include the following activities:

  • Sector subject deep dives
  • Individual themed deep dives of learners (a mix of those making good progress and those who are identified as making slow progress)
  • Observations of learning and scrutiny of learner’s work
  • Meetings with governors/trustees
  • Meetings with learners
  • Meetings with employers
  • Documentary evidence, particularly tracking of learner progress
  • Meeting with staff at all levels, including some back office staff
  • Safeguarding records and actions

 NB: all meetings can take place in person or remotely by phone or video conferencing.

How much will it cost?

This depends on four key factors:

  1. Size of the team
  2. Number of days
  3. Breadth and scope of the inspection
  4. Locations and nature of the provision: e.g. size, complexity, number of types of provision,  (national provision requiring on-site visits will usually incur a slightly higher cost)

NB: All of our work can be carried out remotely, on-site, or a combination of both, depending on your needs, locations and preferences. Tell us what works for you and we will meet those preferences.

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