10. Preparing for an inspection
What happens before an inspection.
10.1 Analysis and planning
Pre-inspection analysis and planning are an important part of all SCCIF inspections. Inspectors are allocated a full day to prepare for an inspection of the residential provision of FE colleges. They use this time to review the information Ofsted holds, and to ensure that the fieldwork is focused and used to best effect in collecting first-hand evidence.
The information Ofsted holds includes:
- previous inspection reports
- any concerns and complaints received
- the lead inspector’s pre-inspection analysis of evidence – this may include, but is not restricted to, any self-assessment report (or equivalent evaluation report) and development/quality improvement plan submitted by the college
- where available, published performance data for the previous three years such as recruitment data, achievement rates, any value-added data, destination data and employment rates
- completed questionnaires from young people and other stakeholders
- the college’s own website, which may contain relevant policies and procedures and the college’s statement of principles (or equivalent)
- outcomes of any monitoring visits
- information from the local authority’s designated officer about any child protection enquiries or concerns that are ongoing or that have occurred at the college
- any additional background information about the local economic and social context relevant to the college
Some of this information is drawn together in the provider information portal (PIP). In addition, the inspector should familiarise themselves with relevant background and context information such as the most recent inspection of the local authority where the college is situated.
The inspector carries out an analysis of the available evidence and information and must record their planning notes on the inspection database.
The plan for the inspection should identify:
- lines of enquiry
- areas of apparent weakness or significant strength
- areas where further evidence needs to be gathered
The focus of the inspection may change during its course as further evidence emerges.
Each year, Ofsted uses online questionnaires to gather a range of views about different types of setting. Where relevant, this includes the views of:
- children and young people
- parents and carers
- foster carers
- adult service users
- other interested parties such as placing social workers and independent reviewing officers
Ofsted sends links to the questionnaires annually to each college by email and asks them to distribute those links on its behalf. The responses are submitted directly to Ofsted.
Responses are shared with the inspector for the service or setting and are used to inform the planning and scheduling of inspections. Where there are no responses, this also forms a line of enquiry for the inspection.