Social care common inspection framework (SCCIF): residential provision of further education colleges

17. Monitoring visits

Why we carry out a monitoring visit and what to expect from it.

17.1 Timing and frequency

We carry out a monitoring visit if the residential provision has been judged as requires improvement to be good or as inadequate. The visit assesses the college’s progress against the areas for improvement identified in the inspection report. It usually takes place within 6 months of the inspection.

Residential provision in FE colleges is usually inspected at least once in a 3-year inspection cycle. If it has been found to require improvement or be inadequate following an inspection, the next inspection usually takes place within 2 years.

The monitoring visit helps to determine when the college should be re-inspected based on the risks assessed.

17.2 Arranging monitoring visits

The inspector and provider will agree a time for a phone call and the first monitoring visit to:

  • confirm the areas of improvement as set out in the inspection report
  • discuss and agree the priority actions the college will take
  • discuss and agree other appropriate means of support and challenge

17.3 Improvement activity

Senior managers and the governing bodies should decide what needs to be done to improve and obtain the support they need. Inspectors support and challenge the college during this process.

Examples of ‘support and challenge’ strategies inspectors may use or recommend include:

  • inspectors meeting with link governors to explain, using Ofsted evidence, how the governing body can help the college improve
  • establishing stronger links with other colleges to learn from their strengths, and to work together on shared issues
  • inspectors offering to arrange a visit for senior leaders and governors to another college
  • a meeting between the inspector and other staff at the college to review progress against agreed action plans and to share good practice
  • meetings with groups of young people who are resident at the college

If the inspector conducting the monitoring visit judges that the college is not making sufficient progress, for instance with respect to safeguarding matters, funding bodies may be notified and the re-inspection may be brought forward.

17.4 After the visit

Within 19 working days of the visit, the inspector sends the principal the reporting letter that sets out the required actions with timescales for completion, and any further issues discussed at the visit.

The reporting letter is not be published on the Ofsted website. However, where inspectors have concerns about poor progress, the letter and appropriate information arising from a visit may be shared with relevant authorities.

17.5 Other monitoring visits

We may also carry out a monitoring visit where we have a cause for concern. Where this is the case, the monitoring visit may be unannounced.