Open Letter to Sir Michael Wilshaw


22 January 2016

 Dear Sir Michael,

 Your speech to Centre Forum, 19th January 2016

We were concerned and surprised to read that, in your recent speech given at Centre Forum, you stated that:

educational provision, for the many children who do not succeed at 16 or who would prefer an alternative to higher education, is inadequate at best and non-existent at worst.

This exact wording also appears on the transcript of the speech posted on the Ofsted website – and so presumably is not a case of mistaken reporting by the press.

Your assertion is damning. But it is also very puzzling.  We have looked back at the most recent Chief Inspector’s report, published on 1st December 2015. There, we find that only 3% of General FE Colleges and 3% of independent training providers were graded as ‘inadequate’ for Overall Effectiveness at their most recent inspection.  On the other hand, more than three-quarters of both those categories were rated by Ofsted inspectors as either ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’.

We would be grateful if you could let us know how to reconcile your recent assertion with the evidence produced by your own organisation, and detailed so clearly in your own annual report.

Should we accept the evidence of that data, or your quite contradictory claim above?

Yours sincerely,

Mick Fletcher

with Judith Cohen, Mike Cooper, Sally Faraday, Colin Forrest, Tricia Hartley, Kathryn James, Ian Nash, Carole Overton, Dan Taubman and Nick Warren

(members of the Policy Consortium)

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