Inspecting learning and skills training for people in custody

Handbook for providers and Ofsted inspectors on inspecting training and work activities for young adults and adults prisons and young offender institutions.


Handbook for the inspection of learning and skills training for young adults and adults in custody

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This handbook describes the main activities Ofsted inspectors undertake when they inspect learning and skills and work activities in prisons and young offender institutions in England as part of joint inspections led by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons (HMI Prisons).

The handbook sets out the judgements that inspectors will make and report on. These reports contribute to the section on ‘purposeful activity’ in the HMI Prisons inspection reports.

Published 3 March 2014
Last updated 5 December 2018 + show all updates
  1. Revised to take into account HMIP’s revised Children’s Expectations published 26 November 2018.
  2. Removed reference to support and challenge visits and replaced with monitoring visits post-consultation, pages 6 – 10 of the FES handbook. Changes to support and challenge publication to reflect recent policy change to stop these visits other than for providers inspected prior to 10 November 2017 (as detailed in consultation). Changed inspection time-frames for good providers to ‘within five years’ in paragraphs 10,114 and 116 of the FES handbook. Minor additions between paragraphs 58 and 91 of the FES handbook to better reflect the information inspectors will request in relation to subcontractors, levy funding and new providers as well as clarifying that inspectors will access electronic documents and conduct work scrutiny as part of evidence gathering activity. Limited changes to the grade descriptors for apprenticeships in the FES handbook to ensure criteria accounts for standards as well as framework apprenticeships, so more emphasis placed on preparation for final assessment and working towards high qualifications in English and maths.
  3. Removed references to the National Careers Service throughout, including the separate judgement relating to it, to take account of the changes to arrangements for careers guidance in prisons from April 2018.
  4. Minor changes to inspection methodology in paragraphs 38-39.
  5. Handbook for use from September 2017 published. Updated for revisions to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons guidance for the inspection of prisons for men.
  6. Handbook for inspection from 1 September 2015 updated to include information about judging the quality of teaching, learning and assessment: paragraph 83, page 25.
  7. Handbook for use from September 2015 published
  8. First published.