Ofsted's Annual Report 2018/19 is published, how does this impact on our subject?

Held over from December 2019, Ofsted have published their 2018-19 report. The report holds no surprises, and at its launch, 20 January 2020, Amanda Spielman, Ofsted's Chief Inspector, emphasised their focus on a broad and balanced curriculum – disappointingly, she also returned to Ofsted's previously cited claim, that there are some FE providers that offer 'superficially attractive courses that fill the rolls'. She identifies arts and media in this regard. We have summarised the key points below and will be responding to the report..

Regarding curriculum breadth and entitlement, Amanda Spielman said: 'We can’t afford, as a country, to lose talent, imagination or the scholars of the future because we restrict their education too early.

'We’ve seen schools that have been cutting back drastically on all children’s opportunities to discover the joys of languages, art, music, drama and humanities – so that most children have to give them up at age 12 or 13 ...Poorer children shouldn’t get a worse choice.'  

In addition to this, and as reported in 2019, Spielman made a reference to 'low-level' college courses: ‘I’m not happy that some colleges steer too many of their students towards superficially attractive courses that fill their rolls and attract funding’. Arts and media qualifications were cited in this regard. 

Whilst NSEAD support Ofsted as they begin to address the need for an inclusive, broad and balanced curriculum (key stages 1-4), we will challenge Ofsted's report and the suggestion that arts and media post-16 courses are low-level and are offered to fill rolls.

Read Amanda Spielman's full speech here and Ofsted's report here