Independent tertiary institutions for further education can be accredited not only by Ofsted, who advises the Secretary of State of Children, Schools and Families about the suitability of private tertiary institutions for advanced registration as independent schools, but also by the BAC – British Accreditation Council, which has offers a quality assurance scheme for independent further and higher education since 1984.
BAC accreditation is internationally recognized: therefore, this is a guarantee for GCSE or A-level students abroad that the independent tertiary institution in which they are enrolled is considered genuine by immigration officials and is a leading institution of further education.
BAC accreditation lasts for four years. Inspections are carried out in various ways, including visits that are announced and not announced to private tertiary institutions by inspectors and submissions of annual returns by tertiary institutions.
BAC inspectors focus on various fields to assess the quality of education provision in independent tertiary institutions. They usually observe a number of classes on campus for a certain period of time, and ask GCSE students or sixth / A-level students what they think about their teacher and the activities offered by independent tertiary institutions. They also asked students about the extra support they received outside the classroom. They assess the level of teaching (for example if creative and imaginative) and the level of active participation of GCSE and A-level students: therefore, small class sizes with personalized teaching approaches, which are usually the priority of private tertiary institutions for further education, are viewed favorably by BAC inspector.
BAC also considers whether independent universities have specialist facilities, such as computer and multimedia facilities, and can assess the quality of the work produced, for example at the Arts Center.
The social programs offered by private tertiary institutions are the other main points of assessment: for example, BAC inspectors will look at choices of educational activities (such as cultural trips) and sports available for GCSE students and A-level students. Finally, BAC will consider the work of independent college administration, such as scheduling, and how student complaints are handled by college staff.
Ofsted carries out inspections in cycles which last around three years. Ofsted inspections focus on the quality of teaching at independent colleges of further education and assess whether sixth-form/A-level students achieve their goals in terms of entry to higher education and admission at the university of their choice.
Aspects covered by Ofsted inspections include the attitude of the private college’s students to learning, the level of individual attention offered to them, their involvement in lessons, and how their progress is monitored by the college staff. So, like BAC, Ofsted will award high marks to independent colleges of further education where class sizes are small, with a high level of individual attention.
Ofsted inspector also considers how private tertiary students are assessed, from the point of view of questions and assessments, and evaluates whether the preparation meets the exam specifications, that is if the assessment task is relevant to the expected results.
Another important aspect for Ofsted supervisors is the choice of courses, both in terms of available subjects and the choice of courses (eg two years, 18 months or one year sixth level A course / course).
The Ofsted report also considers the additional services and support offered by private tertiary institutions for further education; for example, teaching English as a second language, tutorial programs, and the availability of extracurricular educational activities.
Student welfare is Ofsted’s main concern. Inspector Ofsted looks at whether independent colleges encourage their students to practice sports and whether sports classes are compulsory or optional: so, Inspector Ofsted has a good impression of private colleges where healthy living is actively encouraged. Health and safety, including campus building standards and student accommodation, are other key points that contribute to the Oftsted report. Finally, inspector Ofsted assessed the moral and personal development of GCSE and A-level students in independent tertiary institutions: their manners and timeliness, as well as their understanding of different global or cultural issues.
BAC and Ofsted accreditation is very important for independent universities for further education because it offers a comprehensive assessment of private universities and determines their reputation, including abroad. The BAC and Ofsted report offers valuable guidance for achieving excellence in teaching and highlights areas that should be the focus of tertiary staff to provide the highest quality of further education for GCSE and A-level students.