The recent release of the Ofsted consultation on a new inspection framework for FE and training providers (as well as for other sections of the education system) was extremely interesting. One of the things that particularly jumped out was the suggested move away from achievement rates (long mooted), to more formally considering progress and destination.
As Ofsted’s deputy director for further education and skills Paul Joyce told FE Week:
“Data remains an important part of the inspection process and it is vital that providers continue to use it effectively. However, as part of the new ‘quality of education’ grade, less emphasis will be placed on achievement rates alone. Having said that, as part of looking at the impact of the curriculum, we will place greater emphasis on progress and destination data.”
Indeed, we have already seen that recent Ofsted visits are very much looking at this issue, and of course the elusive goal of fully populated destinations data has been an aspiration for providers for years now. However, what are some of the other constituent parts of being able to influence and measure progress, impact, and indeed destinations?
Here are three things to consider:
Firstly, having a solid idea of job trends in the local economy is surely vital. As we wrote back here in response to Amanda Spielman’s speech at the 2018 AoC conference:
“Using Labour Market Insight (LMI) for your region, you can review your current curriculum against local employer demand to identify areas of current misalignment and potential opportunities for new courses … you can then compare specific course areas – both existing ones and new opportunities – to evaluate demand for associated occupations and industries.”
Secondly, a similar approach to understanding specific skills demands and trends in the local economy is equally important. For instance, in our recent report, Focus on the Demand for STEM Jobs and Skills in Britain, we used data to show not only how different areas of the country and different industries often have very niche STEM job demand, but we also showed how Job Postings Analytics can be used to identify the hard skills that employers are looking for. This kind of insight can then be used to make a business case for adding new skills modules into existing courses, or introducing new courses altogether.
Thirdly, the Emsi Economic Impact Study (EIS) is a proven way to demonstrate economic growth associated with a college and the return on investment it brings to various partners. This can be applied to whole college operations, or to more discreet areas of the business such as apprenticeships (see our case study on Leeds City College, for instance, who commissioned an Apprenticeship EIS last year).
As ever, we remain committed to data innovation, and we are striving to work with our clients to help them receive and understand as much insight from external data as possible. One of our new data sources is a c.300 million plus database of professional profile data. This can be used to answer crucial questions such as:
- Where do students end up once they are in the professional workforce?
- What is their career path?
- Which employers are they working for?
- What skills have they gathered?
This could play a vital role in helping providers to have a more informed view about where individuals end up within the labour force and what progression pathways they take. Keep an eye out for more on this data coming soon.
As the consultation progresses (and as we’ve seen, actual Ofsted visits are already reporting on this), will FE colleges (and other providers) await the final inspection framework details, or will they try and stay ahead of the curve in being able to confidently articulate their impact and relevance to their local economies and communities? We at Emsi are ready to work with those providers who are ready to own the narrative.
To find out more about how our insight can help your organisation be better prepared for the new inspection framework, get in touch.