LSIS makes a difference
A jump of one grade in a college’s next Ofsted inspection – that’s one of the many ways LSIS is making an impact on the FE & Skills sector.
A recent internal audit has highlighted how we are providing support to the sector and I wanted to share the results with you. The increase in Ofsted grades is just one of the achievements of which we are very proud. What was clear from the review was there were three primary areas that were benefitting from our support: improving the quality of the sector; improving the skills and capability of professionals in the sector; and helping providers improve outcomes for their learners.
Recently the sector has witnessed a drop in college Ofsted inspection grades. In 2009-2010, about a quarter of colleges that were previously judged to be good or outstanding saw their grade decline. Obviously this is a worrying trend for the sector, however, support provided by LSIS is helping to tackle this. Colleges and providers that were helped by LSIS, improved on average by one grade at their next Ofsted inspection.
Hertford Regional College is an example of how such support can help. The appointment of a new principal and senior management team brought about the desire for improved success, and work with LSIS Improvement Adviser Service commenced. A multi-faceted approach was planned including the development of a new self assessment report, much more self-critical than previous reports, and targets for improvement of reports produced by management information systems (MIS) to make sure they supported managers in the drive for improvement.
At the next (September 2010) Ofsted monitoring visit it was noted that there was improved link between self assessment and improvement plans due to of clearer identification of areas for improvement and appropriate actions. In addition, it was stated that the rigour of monitoring these action plans had increased over the last year, particularly where concerns about the rate of improvement existed. Following this, the college’s principal, Andy Forbes, told us : “Almost all our key performance indicators are now moving in the right direction. We still have some work to do, but we’re now confident we can move not just from satisfactory to good, but from good to outstanding.”
The second tangible benefit of LSIS’s work that was highlighted in our audit is the improvement of the sector’s professionals. Continuous Professional Development (CPD) is something we are committed to driving forward; for example we have found that 93% of providers who received functional skills support from us are now implementing the advice and guidance to improve their functional skills offer. We have also established that more than 90% of sector professionals that LSIS has supported in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) have improved the quality of their teaching. That’s real improvement!
CPD is vital for all who work in the sector at all levels, including senior staff; in March we set out our three priorities for 2012-2013, one of which is to forge excellent leadership and management. We are doing this by providing training for aspiring principals and of those we have helped, more than half have achieved a senior leadership role. In addition, 92% of student governors are applying learning gained from LSIS support, as they undertake their role.
On May 30th, Ofsted announced its new approach to regime: from September this year, providers will need to demonstrate outstanding teaching, learning and assessment to be judged outstanding overall (although, not all teaching needs to be outstanding). This reinforces the message to providers that they need to focus on the learner experience and success, and this is the third area that our audit highlighted demonstrable success. For example, LSIS is providing funding to maintain the central coordination and support functions of the national Community Learning Champions support programme. To date 37,000 people have moved into paid employment and 22,000 people have moved on into education or training after participating in the LSIS supported Community Learning Champions scheme.
Although we are proud of these achievements, LSIS isn’t and never will never be complacent. We will build on these successes to move to our next stage of refreshed provision, which we will be introducing from September 2012 onwards. We will continue to demonstrate our commitment to improvement, and to enabling the sector to improve itself.
Rob Wye, Chief Executive, LSIS
Last updated: 14 January 2013