New education inspection framework published

Ofsted has updated its guidance on the new education inspection framework that comes into force from September 2019. Ofsted will refocus inspections of schools, early years settings and further education and skills providers, to make sure that learners are receiving a high-quality education that puts them on a path to future success.

Ofsted inspectors will spend less time looking at exam results and test data, and more time considering how a school, college or other education provider has achieved their results.

Full guidance is available within the framework but the highlights below give an indication of what Odfsted will be looking for.


Guidance for different types of provision

Adult learning programmes

1.        Adult learning comprises a rich variety of learning and training, such as programmes for those with SEND, vocational training, employability training and community learning.

  • Inspectors will judge, where appropriate, how well the curriculum, including the wider curriculum, for each strand of a provider’s adult learning programme has a clearly defined purpose that is relevant to the education and training needs and interests of learners, and to local employment opportunities, and supports local and national priorities.
  • Inspectors will judge how effectively leaders, managers and governors focus public funding on people who are disadvantaged and least likely to participate in education and training, and work with other partners to widen participation and support learners’ progression to further learning and/or employment relevant to their personal circumstances. 
  • Inspectors will assess how well leaders and managers use community learning funding to develop learning programmes and projects that develop stronger communities, where appropriate.
  • Inspectors will judge how effectively staff work with learners, employers and other partners such as Jobcentre Plus, to ensure that teaching, learning and assessment enable learners to develop personal, social and employability skills that prepare them well for their intended job role, career aims and/or personal goals.
  • Where appropriate, inspectors will judge how well providers record and recognise learners’ progress and achievements to inform teaching and support programmes to help learners reach their goals. 
  • Inspectors will also consider whether arrangements for safeguarding young people and vulnerable learners are appropriate and effective.



1.        Inspectors will consider how well leaders and managers ensure that the apprenticeship curriculum meets the principles and requirements of an apprenticeship. 

  • Evidence will include the extent to which the provider’s staff engage with employers to: 

-    complete the apprenticeship commitment statement
-    plan the initial assessment, training, assessments, review points and milestones throughout
-    agree any additional qualifications to be included 
-    monitor and support apprentices, including those with SEND and those who have high needs, to progress quickly, gain new knowledge, skills and behaviours and achieve to their full potential.

  • Inspectors will judge how well trainers, assessors, coaches and mentors communicate up-to-date vocational and technical subject knowledge that reflects expected industry practice and meets employers’ needs. 
  • Inspectors will determine whether apprentices acquire that knowledge effectively so that they demonstrate the required skills and behaviours that enable them to complete their apprenticeships, contribute to their workplace and fulfil their career aims by progressing to their intended job roles or other sustained employment, promotion or, where appropriate, moving to a higher level of apprenticeship or qualification. 
  • Inspectors will also consider whether arrangements for safeguarding young people and vulnerable learners are appropriate and effective.


Provision for learners with high needs

2.        Part 3 of the Children and Families Act 2014 explains the current arrangements for young people with learning difficulties and/or disabilities. The Act aims to encourage education, health and social care services to work together. Local authorities must describe the provision available to young people in the area by publicising the ‘local offer’. A young person has a learning difficulty or disability if he or she has: 

  • a significantly greater difficulty in learning than most others of the same age 
  • a disability that prevents or hinders him or her from using the kind of facilities generally provided for others of the same age in general post-16 institutions.

3.        Inspectors will consider the extent to which leaders, managers and governors use the funding for learners with high needs so that their individual learning programmes challenge learners to: develop their independence; improve their communication skills; make relevant personal choices and decisions; and prepare themselves for adult life.

4.        Inspectors will judge how successfully learners participate in good-quality and individually tailored learning programmes that lead to paid or voluntary employment where appropriate (including to supported internships, traineeships and apprenticeships) and/or to greater independence in their everyday lives. 

5.        Inspectors will evaluate how effectively leaders and managers coordinate all specialist support, including speech and language development, behaviour management, occupational therapy and physiotherapy, so that learners develop the skills they need. 

6.        Where appropriate, inspectors will determine the extent to which the choice of accreditation helps learners progress towards further learning, vocational training, employment and independent living. 

7.        Inspectors will judge whether procedures for recognising and recording learners’ progress and achievement are rigorous and purposeful and support the achievement of all learners. 

8.        Inspectors will determine whether staff are suitably qualified and/or have appropriate expertise to support learners or specific groups of learners. They will determine whether learning resources, including assistive technology, are to the required standard and specification and whether they are used effectively to support learners to overcome their barriers to achieving their challenging learning goals. 

9.        Inspectors will judge how successfully learners develop skills to enhance their employment opportunities and independence in their everyday lives in real-life situations, including meaningful work experience, and how well they take an active part in their local communities.

10.    Inspectors will judge how well learners following academic or vocational qualifications make progress and achieve, compared with all learners on the same programme. They will also judge whether learners progress into appropriate paid or voluntary employment, further learning or other activities. 

11.    Inspectors will also consider whether arrangements for safeguarding learners are appropriate and effective.