Inspecting adult learning and skills
We inspect adult learning and skills to provide information to providers, employers, learners and users to help promote improvement. This includes:
- a provider’s performance
- a provider’s quality and standards
- the efficiency and effectiveness of the education and training provided, and evaluation of how it meets learners’ needs.
A full inspection normally lasts between three and five days. The number of inspectors varies depending on:
- the size and type of provider
- how many learners they have
- the geographical spread and range of the provision.
When we inspect a provider inspectors look at the type of provision, different subject areas, and use a framework to guide them through the inspection.
- The Common Inspection Framework for Further Education and Skills 2009 sets out the characteristics of the grades and lists questions that inspectors must ask of every provider of education, training and development. It forms the second half of the Handbook for the inspection of further education and skills from September 2009.
Inspectors want to hear the views of employers and other stakeholders. They will observe classes and apprentices in the work place, look at good practice, and offer feedback to providers.
We look at the organisation’s self-assessment report which provides the starting point for inspectors. For further information, go to The self-assessment report. Someone from the organisation will be selected as a nominee and be involved in the inspection at every stage. For further information, go to The role of a nominee.
Providers judged to be satisfactory are likely to be inspected at least every four years. Those judged to be good at the previous inspection, may have up to six years between inspections. Following the passage of the Education Bill in late 2011, it is likely that outstanding general futher education colleges, sixth-form colleges, independent learning providers and adult and community learning providers will become except from routine inspection, as long as they maintain high standards of performance.Those graded inadequate can expect a full reinspection visit 12 to 15 months after the first one.
Alongside our regular inspections we also visit, inspect or contact providers and other bodies to gather evidence for use in our survey programme. These inspections offer providers an opportunity to give us more detailed information, which may focus on the type of training and education in a local area, or on areas such as literacy and numeracy provision. Besides contributing to individual survey reports, the evidence is also used in Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector’s Annual Report to give a national picture of strengths and areas for development.