We use the results of the four-yearly inspection to specify the structure of the follow-up regulation of the governing body and the schools. Follow-up regulation may be prescribed if we detect something that must be remediated or improved. If everything is as it should be, then the next inspection of the governing body will take place in four years’ time in principle.
If follow-up inspection is required, we always take the governing body’s or school’s specific situation into account. For example, the number of schools falling under the governing body, the size of the schools, developments in quality and quality assurance, the severity of any shortcomings and risks, and the relevant regulation history. In other words: follow-up regulation is always bespoke.
There are four possible scenarios for the structure of follow-up regulation and four different outcomes. Also see the 2017 inspection framework for each educational sector.
Scenario 1: Quality assurance in order and no shortcomings at the school
Outcome: confidence, no follow-up regulation
In the best scenario, everything is in order: the governing body’s quality assurance and financial management are in order, and there are no or only very limited shortcomings. We are confident in the governing body, and the next inspection will take place in four years’ time in principle. In the interim, the governing body may request a further meeting with the inspectorate to exchange views on the current state of affairs or on new developments.
Scenario 2: Quality assurance in order, but shortcomings detected at the school
Outcome: agreements with the governing body about its role in quality inspection and/or remedial inspection.
This scenario applies if we detect shortcomings at the school level, whereas the governing body’s quality assurance and financial management are in order. In this case, the governing body will have a role to play in the follow-up regulation. We will formulate remedial measures for the schools, and we will make arrangements with the governing body regarding its role in the follow-up regulation and our role in the follow-up regulation. The situation will dictate the exact division of responsibilities. How severe are the shortcomings? What will the consequences be if the situation is not resolved expediently?
Scenario 3: Quality assurance not in order
Outcome: remedial inspection by the Inspectorate
If we detect shortcomings in a governing body’s quality assurance, then we will impose remedial measures. Improving quality assurance will be a key component of these measures. The Inspectorate conducts all remedial inspections, both of governing bodies and of schools where shortcomings have been detected. In this scenario, chances are high that the shortcomings detected will have underlying causes of a complicated nature.
Scenario 4: financial management not in order
Outcome: a combination of the above
A combination of the scenarios described above applies to governing bodies whose quality assurance is in order, but whose financial management has shortcomings. The governing body receives some scope to implement quality improvements, but the remedial inspection of improvements to financial management is entrusted fully to the Inspectorate.
The Inspectorate conducts a re-inspection in the following cases:
- a very weak school/programme
- an inadequate school/programme
- a programme (intermediate vocational education) whose examination quality is inadequate
- inadequate quality management at governance level
- inadequate financial management.
Remediation and improvement
The four-yearly inspection report includes the agreements made with the governing body. These agreements always cover the division of roles between the governing body and the Inspectorate, and the deadlines for correcting any shortcomings. The agreements can be adjusted in the interim if the process of remediation or new developments give cause to do so.