Greenwich peer evaluation june 2013 13-1


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Greenwich peer evaluation june 2013 13-1

  1. 1. 1 Evaluative commentary: University of Greenwich CATS Pilot Project This evaluation has been prepared by Linking London for the University of Greenwich, as part of the peer evaluation process undertaken between the two projects between January and June 2013. It aims to answer the following three questions: 1. To what extent did the project meet its aims and objectives? 2. What, if any, are the additional benefits delivered by the project? 3. What lessons did we learn that we could apply to future projects? 1. To what extent did the project meet its aims and objectives? The aim of the project was to develop a common set of CATS procedures; pilot an integrated Higher Vocational Education Regional Prospectus and provide support to partner colleges in the offer of an ‘asset’ model of bridging, using the Building on Competence course. These aims have been met fully, and the web-based Prospectus will be trialled over the summer and its impact and use reviewed in September. 2. What, if any, are the additional benefits delivered by the project? This has been a well organised and efficiently run project, with evidence of good practice, particularly for example, in the use of steering group meetings as development sessions. There has also been a clear dialogue with partner colleges about key learning outcomes. The expertise of the Project Manager in facilitating the peer evaluation process across Linking London / University of Greenwich projects should also be acknowledged. The development of relationships through the project steering group and the support offered by the university to partner colleges for marketing courses via the Regional Prospectus point to deepened working relationships as a legacy of the project, which has to be seen as a good thing. (The Community of Practice form for February 2013 refers to the benefits of synergy resulting in more productive and creative working, as opposed to the competitive environment which often prevails). The development of the CATS protocol signed by College Principals has also proved a useful tool to strengthen working practices across the partnership and an additional benefit of the project here is that project partners are now more aware of the relationship between NQF, QCF and FHEQ qualifications than previously. Finally, the development of an MOU with SE Region TUCUnionlearn attests to project staff’s commitment to disseminate project outcomes as widely as possible, in a coherent and sustained way. 3. What lessons did we learn that we could apply to future projects? Having a clear, well organised structure to meetings / general project management is key, as the project has demonstrated and could well be applied to good effect in future projects. The model of sharing HE programmes (Applied Professional Studies (APS) and Higher Apprenticeship in Business and Professional Administration (HA) with partner colleges to encourage progression and maximise access to existing provision through a clear credit transfer system, is a model that could be replicated across other colleges in a future project. The opportunity for colleges to deliver flexible, part-time work based programmes is new and innovative.
  2. 2. 2 Offering the opportunity to college staff to gain the PGCert APS (Facilitating Work Based Learning) award demonstrates investment in staff and, again, is an example of good practice which could be applied to future projects, although possibly extra care need to be taken to tie it in with general college staff development offer, as well as earlier marketing, to secure a higher take-up of places. Again, trialling with work-based learners the potential to metacognitively reflect on past experiences at Level 3 to raise the level of learning to HE Level 4 is innovative. The project team worked closely with CFA, the Sector Skills Council for Business and Administration on developing the Higher Apprenticeship in Business and Professional Administration and, although CfA were not directly involved in the CATS project, this is another example of good practice that could be applied in future projects. Also, as delineated, the scope of the project was manageable, with the project building on existing relationships and this should be noted for future projects. However, if is important to work as far as possible within the constraints of the academic year – the validation of colleges to deliver APS and HA did not take place until March 2012, leaving little time for planning and marketing the programmes for 2012/13. The use of the web to publicise the Regional Prospectus means that clear information about fees and loans and the financial implications of different learning pathways is now in the public domain. Future projects can learn from the processes engaged in / replicate where appropriate. The process of educational change takes time and the greater the time taken to nurture relationships, the greater the project buy in, as here. Sue Betts & Pam Calabro Linking London, June 2013