Press release

International inspectors meet to discuss improving the FE sector

The event is an opportunity for inspectors from across Europe to learn from each other.

Inspectors from across Europe will meet in London today (Thursday 22 January) to discuss how to improve the quality of learning in further education and training.

This is the first ever international conference to focus on evaluating the quality of the education and training that is provided to young people and adults after they finish their compulsory years at school. The event is jointly hosted by Ofsted and the Standing International Conference of Inspectorates (SICI). Inspectorates attending include those from Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium and Norway.

The event will be a vital opportunity for inspectors to learn from each other, as they look at how education and training can help prepare young people for higher education, further education and the world of work.

Areas for discussion will include:

  • how inspectorates can help countries to be internationally competitive
  • the experience in England and key messages in the Chief Inspector’s Annual Report for 2014
  • how inspectorates such as Ofsted challenge and support organisations that provide different types of education and training
  • the benefits of engaging with employers
  • the importance of vocational training in preparing young people for their future goals

Ofsted’s National Director for Further Education and Skills, Lorna Fitzjohn, will open the event with a keynote speech, outlining her priorities for the future of further education. She will say:

It is our job, as inspectors, to ensure all people taking part in post-compulsory education get the good quality teaching and learning that they deserve.

Whilst the terms used across Europe for post-compulsory education vary, we must all agree that the goal of learning and training is to help people gain the skills, knowledge and qualifications they need to achieve their aspirations.

In doing so we are enabling adults and young people to reach their potential, responding to the needs of businesses and employers, and supporting local communities.

During the conference Ms Fitzjohn will reiterate Ofsted’s findings in its 2013/14 Annual Report, including:

  • the teaching of English and mathematics in further education is not good enough
  • youth unemployment is still too high
  • not enough employers are offering apprenticeships to young people under the age of 25
  • employers need to play a greater role in government-funded training

On the second day of the event, Ofsted’s Chairman, David Hoare, will deliver a speech on the importance of vocational education. He will say:

Vocational training is regarded by many, as a second or even third class option.

School leaders have a responsibility to guide students in the right direction – academic or vocational. One path does not suit everybody… At the same time, employers need to engage with providers of vocational training.

He will tell delegates:

We are here today to learn from each other and I know [Ofsted] are very keen to hear from you about what you as inspectorates have done to raise the profile of vocational education in your countries.

The conference will be an important opportunity for Ofsted to share good practice with other inspectorates, as well as learn from their experiences, in order to improve the positive impact inspection has on the FE sector.

Notes to editors:

  1. The conference, Inspecting Post-compulsory Education and Training – helping to prepare the youth of today for the world of tomorrow, will take place in London on the 22 and 23 January.
  2. You can follow the event using the @OfstedNews Twitter page.
  3. The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) regulates and inspects to achieve excellence in the care of children and young people, and in education and skills for learners of all ages. It regulates and inspects childcare and children’s social care, and inspects the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass), schools, colleges, initial teacher training, work-based learning and skills training, adult and community learning, and education and training in prisons and other secure establishments. It assesses council children’s services, and inspects services for looked after children, safeguarding and child protection.
  4. Media can contact the Ofsted Press Office through 03000 130 415 or via Ofsted’s enquiry line 0300 123 1231 between 8.30am and 6.00pm Monday to Friday. Out of these hours, during evenings and weekends, the duty press officer can be reached on 07919 057 359.