Striving for Excellence is a programme of Masterclasses designed to help existing providers of training, government or privately funded, to improve their current operational practices - aiding retention and improving timely achievement of qualification or other positive outcomes. The programme will be useful for all providers of training including programmes funded through the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) the European Social Fund (ESF) and commercial organisations. Delegates can attend Masterclasses as part of a series or attend individual sessions according to their need. Each class will have the flexibility to run on an open basis, or be tailored to meet specific organisational needs.
Eight Masterclasses are currently developed and outlines of these are listed below.
- Use of a full and appropriate initial assessment of skills including, where necessary, literacy, numeracy, job related skills and experience and previous qualifications
- Diagnostic assessment
- Completing individual plans of learning
- Carrying out reviews of progress, contractual or otherwise
- The role of the assessor
- Working to the national standards for assessors (A1)
- Assessment methods: their similarities and differences
- Planning assessment; selecting the most appropriate method
- Recording assessment activity
- Validating of assessment decisions made by unqualified assessors
- Verifying assessments: a short overview
- The role of the internal verifier
- Working to the national standards for internal verifiers (V1)
- Developing a verification strategy
- Verification activities
- The role of the external verifier
- Planning for an external verification visit
- Why are observations needed?
- Planning and implementing observations – single and joint
- Making a judgement and giving a grade
- Recording the outcome
- Providing feedback
- Sharing best practice
- Observing other key learning processes
note: This Masterclass can focus on qualification based programmes, or on skill development programmes dependant on individual or group need.
- Key skills - exemptions, proxies and relaxations
- Key skills in the workplace, relevance and realism
- Basic skills, levels and means of progression
- Skills for Life: What are they?
- Initially and diagnostically assessing Key Skills and Skills for Life
- Selling the programme to the employer
- Navigating the qualification minefield
- Means of employer engagement
- Employer commitment
- Employer-based training – trainer and critical friendr
- On- and off-the-job learning: a perfect situation
- Health and safety in the workplace
- Quality models and techniques
- Quality assurance versus quality improvement
- Quality assurance systems
- Policy and practice
- Quality improvement techniques
- Collecting and using feedback
- Continuous improvement
- Why bother?
- Who should be involved?
- The process and the product
- Through the learners’ eyes: what is their experience of a quality training programme?
- Making judgements
- Self-assessment and business planning
- Self-assessment and the development and quality improvement plans
- Writing the self-assessment report: the fundamental importance of accuracy
The Principal researchers and Masterclass facilitators
Kevin Dowson has been employed as a full-time inspector with the Adult Learning Inspectorate for the last four years, leading over 30 inspections and participating in a further 50, frequently reporting on quality improvement and the quality of providers’ self-assessment reports and processes. These individual projects have provided a detailed and in-depth understanding of the implementation of quality improvement measures and their relationship with the self-assessment process. Additionally he has worked on a variety of projects, the most recent of which being the design and implementation of a methodology for the inspection of training funded by the European Social Fund. He is now an additional inspector with Ofsted and uses the knowledge gained from many inspections to promote and develop good practice across providers of training.
Margaret Barkway is currently working in conjunction with SkillSmart Retail, the sector skills council for the retail industry and with CfA, the Council for Administration to develop and improve strategies for assessment and verification. This includes improving assessment techniques and the delivery of A1 qualifications for new assessors. Previous contracts have included long-term development projects with a major awarding body. She is an additional inspector with Ofsted, having previously worked with the Adult Learning Inspectorate for four years. Her organisation, MIB Training is an outstandingly successful provider of privately funded training and support services.
Dr. Ken Fisher is primarily concerned with high-quality consultancy and advisory work, standards verification, examining and inspection. He has had extensive experience as a lecturer and manager in further and higher education and, since 1998, considerable experience as a part-time inspector for the Training Standards Council, the Adult Learning Inspectorate and Ofsted. He has specialist knowledge of business administration, ICT and Skills for Life. As a manager in a general FE college and a senior lecturer in a higher education institute, he was heavily involved in curriculum and programme design, development, implementation and evaluation. He is a skilled evaluator, project manager and self-assessment report writer and a fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
Striving for Excellence programme of Masterclasses will be delivered:
- Either as open course or on-site, tailored to organisational needs
- By at least two facilitators, expert in the Masterclass content
- In groups of no more than 25
- Supported by a detailed delegate pack
- Open courses will be:
- Delivered in comfortable surroundings
- Held in easily accessible venues
- Include refreshments and lunch
- Discounted for multiple attendance
- Bespoke courses will be:
- Managed to include local issues and priorities
- Delivered at an agreed inclusive cost
For further information on any of the above, please contact me, Kevin Dowson using any of the links below.