Good news! Ofsted will announce later today that following months of public consultation they will finally be recalibrating the grading of the Learning and Skills Common Inspection Framework. A new grade, intended to identify colleges and training providers progressing well on the Journey to Outstanding, will carry the designation “Good with Outstanding Features.”
A senior spokeperson for Ofsted said that, “We raised the bar in 2012 to make clear that anything less than Good was no longer satisfactory. With most Learning and Skills providers now Good or better, it is time to go back to the bar again.”
Brackenbridge Community College is one of the FE providers that have been piloting the new grading system for Ofsted. Principal Verity Mumtaz said earlier, “Over 80% of colleges are now designated at least Good by Ofsted. We are finding it harder to differentiate ourselves on grounds of quality. This new grade will help. Unfortunately some colleges not in the pilot have been claiming this grade for themselves already. I think Ofsted need to address preemptive use of the new grade.”
In a move that will delight Ms. Mumtaz, Ofsted confirmed today that any colleges claiming the new grade, but not having been officially designated as such by Ofsted themselves, risk immediate no-notice re-inspection. Brian Goodenough, principal of Leadsworth Regional College has sought reassurance that his college is not also at risk following their claim in the local press and on billboards that they had been Ofsted graded “Good with two areas Requiring Improvement.”
“We are officially a Good college,” Mr Goodenough said, “and as a Good college we have many exciting opportunities here, including some now in our marketing department.”
Colleges are worried that the new Grade will redefine the baseline for what is an acceptable inspection grade. Ofsted have denied this, and in a reconciliatory move, have announced that they will also be redefining the Qualification Success Rate “National Average” as “above the bottom 20%” to reflect the proportion of colleges now recognised as Good or better.
Postscript. Yes, of course, as you spotted, the date stamp said it all. This was an April Fool. However, to labour the point:
- Despite its almost universal use, there is no such grade as ‘good with outstanding features’. You are Good.
- If over 80% of colleges are good or better, then well over a third of good colleges could have below average success rates. That’s the maths.