Session title: Supported Inspection

Inspection for improvement rather than accountability

What is ‘supported inspection’?

Most publicly funded providers of education and training are held to account for the money they spend. The design of the systems to inspect this accountability aim to answer one fundamental question: does the investment represent good value for money?

External inspections are carried out ‘without fear or favour’ and set out to write a series of judgements about how the provision matches the aspirations laid down in the appropriate inspection framework. The inspection team, then, has no vested interest in the outcome of the inspection, but for a provider judged to be less than ‘good’ there can be serious consequences for its funding.

Supported inspection is different. To see just how different it is, look again at the comment above:

  • ‘The inspection team has no vested interest in the outcome of the inspection.’

Whereas for an internal supported inspection:

  • the inspection team has a clear vested interest in the outcome of the inspection.

The Supported inspection (Si, pronounced ‘see’) approach maximises the chances of receiving judgements of ‘outstanding’ from an external inspection. It does this not by practising issue-masking techniques and spin, but by helping the selected area carefully identify and remove any barriers to excellence ahead of its inspection.

Supported inspection, then, is not a replica of an external inspection; it is fundamentally about improvement, rather than regulation and accountability.



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