HANDBOOK FOR THE ASSESSMENT
OF AoC BEACON AWARDS
Aim of the Beacon Awards
General criteria for Beacon Awards and the structure of
Assessment of Beacon Awards: overview of assessment
Assessment process : procedures at each assessment stage
- Stage 1 Shortlisting
- Stage 2 Site visits
- Stage 3 Final decisions
Quality Assurance of Assessment
Evaluation of Assessment
Appendix 1. Members of the Beacon Awards Steering
Appendix 2. Assessment forms
Appendix 3. Sample shortlist confirmation letter
Appendix 4. Evaluation form
Appendix 5.Assessor's fees and expenses
Appendix 6. Checklist of forms for assessors
Appendix 7. Appointment of assessors
AoC BEACON AWARDS
HANDBOOK FOR THE ASSESSMENT OF AoC BEACON
The Beacon Awards programme is governed by the AoC Charitable
Trust which is a registered charity, and is administered by the
Association of Colleges (AoC). The Beacon Awards Steering Group
provides advice and guidance on the delivery and development of
the programme. The Steering Group is made up of representatives
from Colleges, funding bodies and sponsoring organisations. The
Steering Group, acting as the Assessment Board, makes the final
decisions about award winners in the light of recommendations
from the team of assessors and the Chief Assessor.
This handbook is intended to provide guidance on applying for an
AoC Beacon Award and on the assessment for the awards. It
provides details of the processes involved in the assessment of
submissions and of the conditions attached to the submission of the
awards. It is intended that the guidance in this handbook will
ensure that parity is achieved between awards in terms of the
standard of the awards and in quality of the assessment of awards.
Assessors are responsible to the Director of the AoC Charitable Trust
for analysing submissions, carrying out site visits, writing reports on
these visits and making recommendations for awards.
Individuals with suitable experience and current knowledge of the
work of Further Education Colleges are invited to apply to join the
register of Beacon Assessors. Colleges winning a Beacon Award are
invited to nominate a member of staff associated with the winning
submission to be considered for appointment as a Beacon Assessor.
The final decision on the awards is made by the Beacon Awards
Steering Group. The assessment process is subject to quality
assurance and to an evaluation.
The Director of the AoC Charitable Trust is Alice Thiagaraj – 2-5
Stedham Place, London WC1A 1HU, Phone: 020 7034 9977, fax: 020
The Chief Assessor is Roger Marriott – phone: 01908 567374.
The Assistant Chief Assessor is Peter Lavender – phone: 07880
724055. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Aim of the AoC Beacon Awards
The aim of the AoC Beacon Awards programme is to highlight the
breadth and quality of education in Colleges throughout the UK and
increase understanding of Colleges’ contribution to UK educational
skills policy and economic and social development.
Recognise imaginative and exemplary teaching and learning
practice in Colleges
Draw attention to provision which encourages and supports
learners to approach challenges positively and creatively
Support learning and continuous improvement through the
dissemination of award-bearing practice
Promote and celebrate the further education sector’s commitment
to pioneering approaches to equality and diversity
The programme represents partnership in action by providing
significant benefits for the major players involved:
An award acts as a development grant to help realise the full
potential of a project based in a College of further education
An award serves to promote the business needs and interests of
The dissemination of the exemplary practice represented by the
award-winning projects is a major purpose of Beacon Awards
programmes. Project profiles of winning Colleges are written up
and disseminated to the FE sector after their announcement. The
Director maintains a website for the awards which contains much
valuable information on the awards scheme and lists of winning
projects. The AoC web site can be found at www.aoc.co.uk.
General criteria for Beacon Awards and the structure of
The Beacon Awards recognise exemplary initiatives (which can be
programmes, courses, projects or other forms of teaching, learning,
advice, guidance or support). The initiatives should recognise and
promote the interdependence of Colleges in the further education
sector and of business, professional and voluntary organisations to
their mutual advantage.
General Beacon Award criteria
To be eligible for an award, the initiative should show evidence of
imaginative yet sustainable teaching and learning practice or other
relevant provision. The application can be for an initiative which
can be a programme, course, project or other form of teaching,
learning, advice, guidance or support.
The application must fulfil the following criteria:
meet the specific requirements set out by the sponsors of the
award to which the submission relates
have regard to promoting equality and diversity in the
delivery of the programme
be subject to evaluation/ quality assurance to influence the
continuing development of the initiative
have been running for at least one academic year by 31 July
have features which actively promote exemplary teaching
be of benefit to one or more groups of students or trainees
who are identified and described in the application
have wider relevance and applicability which would make it
of value to other Colleges as an example of good practice or
Awards are made by around 15 sponsors; the awards are divided
into three categories: Teaching and learning, curriculum design and
development; Leadership and quality improvement;
Responsiveness, partnership and impact (see current prospectus for
details of the awards).
Awards are designed at the discretion of the sponsors either as UKwide awards or as awards for Colleges in England, Northern
Ireland, Scotland or Wales and take the form of monetary grants of,
on average, between £3,000 and £5,000 which are awarded on the
clear understanding that the total award monies will be set against
expenditures incurred in taking forward the development and
dissemination of each winning initiative.
It is a condition of entry that each College gaining an award
undertakes to inform its local community about its achievement and
about the support and interest provided by the sponsor.
Structure of the application
Submissions should address both the general criteria for Beacon
Awards and any specific criteria of the sponsor. The submission
should be no more than 3000 words and should come from a senior
member of staff who has had close contact with the initiative.
Written evidence from beneficiaries should be included in the word
limit. Reference can be made to other materials (i.e. multimedia
material, College documents etc.) which the assessors can request,
should they wish to do so. WHILST DETAILS OF THE COLLEGE
MUST BE SUPPLIED ON THE APPLICATION FORM THE
MAIN BODY OF THE SUBMISSION SHOULD BE
ANONYMOUS. SUBMISSIONS MAY BE RETURNED TO THE
COLLEGE TO REMOVE ANY REFERENCES IF THEY CAN BE
Submissions should be structured under the following headings:
Project summary – a brief overview of the initiative including a
clear description of target group
Aims and objectives – how they were established and how they
have resulted in the promotion of exemplary teaching and learning
How the project meets the sponsor’s criteria – a section which
clearly addresses each of the sponsor’s criteria as set out on the
relevant page in the Prospectus
Project management – a description of how the project is
managed including how quality assurance is used to improve the
initiative, and how the project meets equality and diversity
Outcomes and benefits to learners – how the initiative has
benefited learners and others involved with the project – this should
be supported by written evidence from beneficiaries who may be
students, trainees, employers or, in some cases, parents. This section
should also include data on enrolment, retention, achievement,
progression and how this project shows a commitment to equality
Dissemination and the future – key features of the project should
be highlighted demonstrating how it can benefit other Colleges and
how it will develop in the future
The submission must be accompanied by a completed application
form signed by the Principal/ Chief Executive of the College.
Initiatives which have previously won a Beacon Award are not
eligible for consideration for the same award a second time. A
College may apply for as many awards as it wishes but it may
submit only one application per award. A College which has a
project which falls into two or more categories may submit that
project for only one award.
Applications are treated as strictly confidential to the Steering
Group, Assessors and the Director. Material from any application is
made public only with the express approval of the College
concerned. All applications must be received by 3 July 2013.
The Director sends an acknowledgement for each application to the
Principal/ Chief Executive. Colleges are subsequently contacted
only if the project is shortlisted.
Award winning Colleges are permitted to use the Beacon Awards
logo, with the year of the programme beneath it, on College headed
paper and promotional material.
It is expected that within approximately six months of the
announcement of the award, the winning College will organise a
local presentation ceremony in consultation with the sponsor to
allow for maximum media coverage; the Beacon Awards office at the
AoC must be informed of the arrangements.
Assessment of Beacon Awards
Overview of Assessment
Assessment of the applications for Beacon Awards is the
responsibility of specialist assessors co-ordinated by the Director and
supported by the Chief Assessor. Normally, two assessors are
assigned to each award one of whom may represent the sponsor. A
Beacon Assessor (appointed by the Director) acts as the Lead
Assessor for each award.
Assessors are appointed following registration and the approval of
the Chief Assessor and Director. Assessors are expected to have
substantial experience of Further Education. Assessors are required
to inform the Director of any potential conflict of interest associated
with the Awards they are assessing and/or the Colleges applying for
The assessment process has three stages – short listing, an
assessment visit to the College and the final decision by the Beacon
Awards Steering Group. Assessors complete confidential written
reports at each stage. The reports are subject to moderation and
quality assurance by the Chief Assessor. Colleges short-listed (i.e.
those visited) for an award are asked to complete an evaluation form
providing feedback on the arrangements for assessment.
Assessors are expected to respond to queries from the Chief
Assessor on their reports and recommendations in order that the
Chief Assessor may present an overview of their reports and
recommendations to the Beacon Awards Steering Group.
The Chief Assessor completes an annual report which makes
recommendations for the awards to the Beacon Awards Steering
Group, and reports on the efficacy of the arrangements for
assessment. The Beacon Awards Steering Group, acting as the
assessment board, makes the final decision on awards and proposes
a small number of awards to be considered for the President's
Stage 1 Short listing
The initial assessment, leading to short listing, has regard to the
general criteria for Beacon Awards and the specific criteria for each
award (see the current prospectus). The outcome of this stage is a
list of applications for each award that best meet these criteria. Two
assessors jointly assess each application and complete a standard
selection analysis form (SAF)(see appendix 2). The SAF requires
assessors to identify the extent to which an application meets the
general Beacon criteria and the specific criteria for the award.
Assessors are required to include comments identifying points of
merit and any shortcomings in the submission.
The short-list is reviewed by the Chief Assessor and once approved
assessors contact the short-listed Colleges to arrange an assessment
visit. Colleges which are not short-listed may contact the Director
after the awards have been announced for feedback on their
Stage 2 Assessment visits
Assessment visits take place in September and early October and are
intended to match the ‘evidence on the ground’ at the shortlisted
College with the application. Visits will normally involve attending
the College for 4-5 hours and are conducted by two assessors. The
lead assessor will contact the College to outline the general
arrangements for the visit. Assessors should make clear any
requirements for additional information prior to the visit. The
Director will confirm the arrangements for the visit in a letter to the
Assessors are interested in exploring with the College, its staff,
students and stakeholders the benefits of the project to learners.
They will be mainly interested in the impact of the project on the
experience of the students, particularly any outcomes for learning
including achievements in terms of skills and/or qualifications
gained. Assessors will also wish to explore how the project is
managed including, its impact on equality and diversity, methods of
evaluation, quality assurance, the future development of the
initiative and its dissemination to other Colleges.
Colleges should ensure that they present clearly to assessors how the
project meets the specific criteria for the award, as this forms a key
part of the assessment report following the visit.
Assessors will provide brief feedback to the College at the end of the
visit. This will normally identify particular aspects of good practice
and suggestions for areas for development where appropriate. No
indication of the outcome of the visit in terms of decisions on the
award can or should be made at this stage.
Following the visit, assessors complete a visit report (see appendix 2)
which provides a written assessment of the project. Following the
visits to all of the short-listed Colleges, assessors complete an
overview report and agree the recommendations for the award. The
outcomes of this stage are judgements and recommendations for
awards to the Director of the AoC Charitable Trust.
Sponsors may, with the agreement of the Director, undertake Stages 1 and
2 of the assessment process in respect of their own award(s) in conjunction
with a Beacon Award assessor.
Stage 3 Final decisions
The Chief Assessor presents the assessors’ reports and
recommendations to the Beacon Awards Steering Group which
selects the award winners.
All Beacon Awards are awarded or withheld at the sole and absolute
discretion of the Beacon Awards Steering Group and those acting on
its behalf. No explanation is given following the making or
withholding of an award.
The Chief Assessor and the Director may identify a number of
winning projects which he feels to be particularly outstanding or
innovative to be considered by the Steering Group for submission to
the President of the AoC Charitable Trust so that he or she can
decide if any should receive a ‘President’s Award’.
Detailed guidance for assessors on each of these stages is given
Guidance to Assessors on the procedures at each assessment stage
Stage 1 Shortlisting
The assessment of applications for each award is undertaken by
two assessors appointed by the Chief Assessor and the Director.
Assessors should inform the Director of any substantial
involvement with particular Colleges e.g. as a member of staff,
Governor, or as a result of continuing consultancy with a
College which could present a potential conflict of interest.
One assessor in each pair assigned to an award acts as the Lead
Assessor and reports to the Director over the period of the
assessment and at the conclusion of the first stage of assessment
submits details of the agreed shortlist. Where one of the pair of
assessors is a sponsor, the Beacon Assessor acts as the Lead
Assessors should primarily assess the extent to which the
submission satisfies the sponsor’s criteria completing the
Selection Analysis Form (SAF). Assessors should also identify
any possible shortcomings in meeting the AoC Beacon criteria.
A grade should be allocated with indicative assessment
“A” – project meets all the criteria well and is suitable for
“B” – project meets most of the criteria
“C” – project fails to meet important criteria and is not
suitable for shortlisting
The two assessors assigned to each award are responsible to the
Director for assessing applications for that award and for drawing
up an agreed shortlist, of no more than three applications for
consideration at the next stage. The list of submissions for an
assessment visit should be based on an assessment of those
suitable for short-listing which best meet the criteria for the
award. In general, where there are fewer than six submissions,
only one College need be visited if no others meet the criteria. For
between six and 15 submissions, two Colleges should be visited,
above 15 submissions a maximum of three Colleges may be
Submissions from Colleges should be anonymous. Each College
will be allocated a reference code which the assessors should use
in correspondence with the Director. If a submission has not been
fully anonymised, assessors should note this on the SAF for
feedback to the College. Submissions may be returned to the
College for removal of any reference before being passed on to the
Applications from two or more Colleges working in partnership
or submissions from consortia of Colleges should be treated as
any other application, although one College must agree to be the
main point of contact to avoid confusion.
Assessors should read submissions, complete the SAF and then
discuss their findings with each other to agree which Colleges
should be shortlisted for a visit. If the two assessors are unable to
agree a shortlist, the views of the Director and the Chief Assessor
should be sought.
It is expected that assessors complete the assessment and SAFs for
at least five submissions a day.
Completed SAFs should be returned to the Director for all
Colleges by Wednesday 7th August 2013 for approval. The form
asks assessors to identify points of merit and areas for
improvement in the submissions. The comments should be fairly
extensive and should include an explicit reason for the decision to
shortlist or not. This summary needs to be self explanatory and
provide sufficient information to enable the Director to give
informed feedback to any non-shortlisted College.
The Chief Assessor and/or Director will review the SAFs as part
of a moderation process. The Director will inform the Lead
Assessor of the College contact details on the approval of the
Once the shortlist for an award has been approved, the assessors
should contact the relevant Colleges to arrange mutually
convenient dates and times for visits. Assessors should make clear
any requirements for additional information prior to the visit. The
arrangements for the visit will be confirmed in writing to the
Assessors should draft a letter (an example can be seen at appendix 3)
for the College specifying the arrangements for the visit. When
assessors wish to see a particular aspect of the project, or require
additional information to be made available either prior to, or
during the visit, they should ensure this request is included in the
confirmation letter for the visit rather than ask to see it on the day.
The letter confirming the arrangements for the visit is sent to
the College by AoC Beacon Awards Director on behalf of the
Assessors must also complete an overview report of each award.
This should be completed in two parts. Part 1 of the assessors’
overview report should identify any general areas for
improvement in submissions and the rationale for the final
shortlist. This part of the report should be sent to the Director
with the SAFs and recommended shortlist. Part 2 of the report
should be completed following the assessment visits.
After the announcement of Award winners, Colleges are sent
general feedback, by the AoC Beacon Awards Director, on each of
the awards they have applied for and are offered the option of
specific feedback to be given verbally.
Stage 2 Site visits
The purpose of the site visits should be to validate the evidence
provided in the submission, clarify any aspects of the submission,
collect additional evidence and assess the extent to which the
project meets the criteria for the award.
The Chief Assessor may, by arrangement, join any site visit by
assessors and may stand in for an assessor in cases of unavoidable
Any additional documents required by the assessors should be
requested from the College in advance of the site visit by the
Discussions with staff, students and other relevant parties in the
course of site visits should focus on the benefits of the project to
learners, particularly any outcomes for learning including
achievements in terms of skills and/or qualifications gained.
Assessors will also wish to explore and clarify areas of the project
such as: its future development and how it will be sustained, how
it is managed including, the impact on equality and diversity,
evaluation and dissemination to other Colleges.
Assessors should remember that all submissions are about what
the Colleges consider to be excellent work.
Assessors are not inspectors but are there to listen, to learn and to
ask questions, in other words, act as a ‘critical friend’.
Assessors should bear in mind that Colleges go to considerable
effort to ensure their visit showcases their work in the best light
possible. They often arrange for external stakeholders and former
students to be available to meet with them. Assessors should
display every courtesy to the people they meet on the visit. They
should endeavour to ensure the timetable for the visit is
maintained and be appreciative of the time external stakeholders
have taken to support the College and meet them.
The following procedural points may be helpful to assessors:
a half day visit (4- 5 hours) is often sufficient for assessors to
form a judgement on the quality of the project and avoid
placing too great a demand on the College
it is useful for assessors to agree who should lead on each
discussion point – this could be done prior to each visit by
asking the College for the use of a room for about half-an-hour
before each site visit
similarly, it is useful for assessors to request a room at the end
of the visit so that they can have a short meeting in private to
prepare a brief summary feedback on the visit
Assessors should give a short feedback (about 10 minutes) to
Colleges following the visit. This should not be critical but
recognise areas of good practice and suggest areas for
development where appropriate
Assessors should not tell Colleges how many other Colleges
have entered for the award or been shortlisted
Assessors should not tell Colleges what their recommendations
The Lead Assessor should write to the College liaison officer after
the visit thanking the College for all it has done to make the visit a
success; the letter should be copied to the Principal of the College
and to the Beacon Awards Director.
Assessors should produce a joint report of the visit which is sent
to the Director in electronic form (i.e. by email or on a USB stick).
The visit report completed by the assessors must include the
following: (see standard format for the visit report at appendix 2)
- College details
- Project summary
- A summary of the visit
- Assessment against the sponsor’s criteria
(the main evidence for the decision on the award)
- Project organisation and management
- Project outcomes and benefits
- Summary strengths and area for development
- Recommendation (Overall judgement on the match to the sponsor’s
criteria and recommendation for an award)
The visit report should not be more than three sides of A4, in
reasonable font size (i.e. no smaller than font size 10) and must be
agreed by the two assessors.
The copy of the assessors’ report given to the Steering Group will
be anonymised so assessors are requested to make no references
which could identify the College beyond the first section of the
Assessors should recommend one winner. In the unusual case of
two applications being of absolutely equal merit the assessors
may refer to the Chief Assessor for approval to recommend joint
winners. This must also be discussed with the Director since there
may be financial implications for the sponsor.
Assessors must complete part 2 of the assessors’ overview report
which should provide the rationale for recommendation and
identify any areas for improvement in the assessment of awards.
This report will be used to support the moderation and quality
assurance of assessment.
Assessors must keep to the final date for the return of notes to the
Director since this date is determined by the time scale needed to
allow the Steering Group to make its decisions. The final date for
receipt of all assessors’ feedback forms, overviews, reports and
recommendations is Wednesday 16th October 2013.
Stage 3 Final decisions
The Beacon Awards Steering Group acting as the Assessment Board
makes the final decisions about award winners in the light of
recommendations from the team of assessors and the Chief Assessor.
The Chief Assessor:
reads reports of all site visits made to short listed Colleges
reads the SAFs from assessors in order to gain an overview
of the quality of non-shortlisted submissions and the reasons
for not being shortlisted
reads a selection of the full submissions from Colleges
if necessary, contacts assessors through the Director for
clarification or further comment
produces a short commentary on the recommendations made
for each award
uses the commentaries to advise the Beacon Awards Steering
Group in its decision making
produces an overview report for the Steering Group
The Chief Assessor, together with the Director, may identify a
number of winning projects which they feel to be particularly
outstanding or innovative in any given year to be submitted to the
President of the AoC Charitable Trust so that he or she can decide
upon one to receive a ‘Presidents’ Award’.
Decisions about the AoC Beacon Award winners are taken by the
Steering Group at its meeting in late October/early November
The Steering Group reserves the right not to make an award. The
Steering Group does not give any explanation of its decisions nor
does the Director enter into any discussion about decisions or
about individual submissions.
In the situation where the Steering Group’s decision differs from
the recommendation made by the assessors, the sponsor may be
informed of this, but will not be entitled to appeal the decision.
The Steering Group appreciates that sponsors wish to maximise
the publicity in relation to their own winning College, however
they must not contact the College they have recommended as the
winner until this status has been confirmed at the announcement.
Award winners will be announced at the AoC’s annual conference
between 19-21 November 2013.
Quality Assurance and Evaluation of Assessment
The Chief Assessor is responsible to the Beacon Awards Steering
Group for the quality assurance of the assessment of the awards. All
assessors are required to attend training and new assessors are
supported by a Mentor. The Chief Assessor reviews the assessors'
reports to ensure the reliability of assessment, the consistency of
assessment and parity between awards. Colleges complete an
evaluation form following an assessment visit. The College
evaluations are used as a basis for identification of training needs
and for further development and improvement in the assessment of
awards. An overview of the arrangements for quality assurance is
Moderation and quality assurance of assessment
The Chief Assessor reviews all reports by assessors to ensure:
Assessment forms and reports are appropriately completed
with clear identification of strengths and weaknesses in relation
to the Beacon and sponsors' criteria
The short-list of submissions is appropriate and supported by
clear analysis in the assessment forms
Recommendations for the award are well supported by
evidence and assessment recorded in the visit report
The overview report provides a clear summary analysis of
strengths and weaknesses of submissions, identifies areas for
improvement in submissions and gives a clear rationale for the
recommendation for the award
Assessment is consistent between submissions and is
comparable in the standard across all awards.
Moderation is carried out in two stages:
End of first stage assessment - moderation of initial assessment
(short-listing) of submissions: For each award a sample of
submissions and SAFs is read and the assessors' overview
report (part 1) reviewed. The Chief Assessor considers the
appropriateness of the completion of SAFs and of the rationale
for the shortlist. The outcomes of the moderation/review is fed
back to assessors and reported to the Steering Group as part of
the annual Chief Assessor's report.
End of second stage assessment - review of assessors’
recommendations: For each award the assessors' visit reports
and overview reports are read. Where there is a lack of clarity
in the visit reports the submissions are reviewed and in cases
where the reports for the winning College(s) are found to be
insufficiently detailed assessors will be contacted for further
information or clarification. The review considers the
appropriateness of the visit report, and of the assessors'
justification of the award. The outcomes of the review are
reported to the Steering Group as part of the annual Chief
Assessor's report. In cases where the Chief Assessor finds the
reports anomalous the final decision on the award will be
referred for review by the Steering Group.
Feedback is provided to assessors at each stage of moderation and
all assessors receive a copy of the Chief Assessor’s annual report.
To further support improvement and development of assessment
short-listed Colleges have opportunity to evaluate and comment,
formally on the arrangements for assessment. The evaluation form
can be found at Appendix 4.
The form should be completed by the College and returned to the
Beacon Awards Director by 16 October 2013 . The forms are
summarised by the Director and reviewed by the Chief Assessor. A
summary report resulting from the analysis is included in the Chief
Assessor’s annual report to the Steering Group and forms the basis
of recommendations for changes and improvements to assessment
The forms will be copied to the Beacon Assessors for the award but
otherwise treated as confidential. Where evaluation consistently
gives rise to concerns over assessment for a particular award or
regarding the conduct of specific assessors the Chief Assessor will
conduct a review of the arrangements for assessment and
recommend suitable actions to the Beacon Awards Director.
Appendix 1. Members of the Beacon Awards Steering Group
Dame Pat Bacon
Chair, AoC Beacon Awards
Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Policy,
Colleges Wales, Wales Representative
Principal, Portsmouth College – Sixth Form
Qualifications Group Manager, Post 19, OCR
Southern Regional College – Northern Ireland
City of Glasgow College, Scotland
Director, Network for Black Professionals
Chief Assessor, AoC Beacon Awards
Young Peoples Programmes, EFA
Partnership Director, City & Guilds
Director, AoC Charitable Trust
Appendix 2. Assessment Forms
Below are two forms which assessors should use to assist them in the
reporting of the assessment process. The first is a template for
assessors to complete following the site visit of a shortlisted College.
VISIT REPORT – TEMPLATE
Visit Report AoC Beacon Award (title of award) 2013
Title of Project:
Date of Visit:
1. Project Summary:( Please bear in mind that this section may be shared
with the Beacon Awards Steering Group who will not have seen the original
application, so include a brief summary of the project as a whole as well as
identifying any unusual or innovative features of the project.)
2. Summary of Activities during Visit: (a brief summary of the meetings
and activities of the visit)
3. Assessment Notes: (assessment against sponsor’s criteria)
Identify strengths and weaknesses against each of the sponsor's criteria
4. Summary Assessment:
Project organisation and management: (identify key features that
support the success of the project or that need to be further developed)
Project outcomes: (identify the key benefits to learners and the value of
the initiative to other Colleges)
Overall Strengths and Areas for development: (summarise the main
key strengths and areas for development)
5. Recommendation (overall judgement on the match of the project to
sponsor's criteria and the recommendation of the assessors for an award)
The following is the Selection Analysis Form to assist assessors in the
shortlisting process. This form is available in electronic format and
will be emailed to assessors for use each year.
AoC BEACON AWARDS
SELECTION ANALYSIS FORM FOR SHORT-LISTING APPLICATIONS
Title and year of Award:
Title of Project:
To what extent are the Beacon criteria met
by the submission (identify specific
It is subject to evaluation/quality assurance
to influence continuing development of the
It promotes equality and diversity in the
delivery of the programme
It has been running for at least one
academic year by 31 July 2013
It has features which actively promote
exemplary teaching and learning
It is of benefit to one or more groups of
students or trainees which are identified
and described in the submission
It has wider relevance and applicability
which makes it of value to other Colleges as
an example of good practice or innovation
AoC BEACON AWARDS
SELECTION ANALYSIS FORM (PART2 SPONSOR'S CRITERIA ASSESSMENT)
Title and year of Award:
Title of Project:
Against each criteria set out by the sponsor
assess the extent to which the criteria are
Note : This part of the form should be continued as required.
AoC BEACON AWARDS
SELECTION ANALYSIS FORM (PART3 SUMMARY ASSESSMENT)
Title and year of Award:
Title of Project:
Please identify the following for feedback to Colleges should it be requested (bullet points).
What features of the initiative are
of merit or of interest?
What aspects of the
initiative/application could be
improved, should the College wish
to re-submit in the future?
Assessors’ Decision: SHORT-LISTED / NOT SHORT-LISTED (delete as appropriate)
Comments if any:
Appendix 3. Sample confirmation letter to shortlisted Colleges
Contact name and address
AoC Beacon Awards 2013/14 – (Title of Beacon Award)
Further to our assessor’s recent telephone call, I have pleasure in
confirming that your College has been shortlisted for the (Award).
The two assessors assigned to the award are (Lead Assessor) and
his/her co-assessor (Sponsor Assessor) from (Sponsor). As
discussed, they would like to visit you on (date) from (time) until
The assessors will wish to engage in discussions with managers,
stakeholders, partners and staff involved in delivering the
initiative. They would also like an opportunity to talk to learners.
It would be helpful if you would draw up a programme to
include evidence of the following:
(list evidence required)
Where possible, please include points that are additional to those
outlined in your submission as well as incorporating any other
aspect of your work which you would like the assessors to see.
It would be helpful if you could allow 15 minutes for assessors to
meet privately on arrival and at the end of the programme so that
they can provide feedback to the College at the end of the visit.
Apart from this you should feel free to structure the visit as suits
you best with the minimum disruption to you and your
Please confirm your receipt of this letter and that you are happy
with the arrangements.
I understand that you will send a programme and location details
to the assessors prior to their visit. Their contact details are:
Lead assessor address, number and email
Sponsor assessor address, number and email
(Please not that x assessor has the following dietary
requirements/needs car parking space – delete if not applicable.)
I enclose the handbook for the assessment of AoC Beacon Awards
which gives further detail on what the assessors will be looking
for in their visit as well as an evaluation of assessment form which
I should be grateful if you could complete after your visit has
taken place and returned to me by Wednesday 16 October 2013 at
Congratulations on reaching this stage of the assessment process.
I appreciate this is a busy time and I hope that as little
inconvenience as possible will be caused. I will be sending a copy
of this letter to the Principal. If you have any queries relating to
the visit, do not hesitate to contact me.
Appendix 4. College Evaluation form
AoC BEACON AWARDS: EVALUATION OF ASSESSMENT
TO BE COMPLETED BY COLLEGES FOLLOWING AN ASSESSMENT VISIT
The purpose of this questionnaire is to gain feedback from Colleges of the assessment arrangements for the AoC Beacon Awards.
Findings will be used in the overall evaluation of assessment and the improvement of practice.
Name of organisation:
(Please circle one number)
Sixth Form College
General FE College
Land Based College
Art & Design College
Independent Specialist College
Other: Please specify
Date of assessment visit:
Title of the project/submission
For the remainder of the questionnaire, please circle one number and provide any additional comments as appropriate.
(Where a statement is not applicable please circle Box 5.)
We were satisfied with:
1. The notice given for the visit
The quantity of documentation requested
prior to and during the visit.
The way the college’s documentation
was used during the visit
The conduct of assessors and their
management of the meetings.
We were satisfied that:
Assessors had the professional
competence to assess the submission
The assessors considered the evidence
The feedback at the end of the visit
week comprised a fair reflection of the
Please indicate by ticking the appropriate box below whether there were more gains from the assessment in helping the organisation/overall provision
to improve, or more negative effects.
8. The gains in helping to improve the provision outweigh negative effects
The gains and negative effects are equally balanced
The negative effects outweigh the gains
Thank you for taking the time to complete this form. If you have any further comments, which you believe would help improve the assessment,
please supply them below. In particular, is it helpful to know what went well during the assessment and what did not go so well.
Assessment would be improved by:
Form completed by (please enter name and position in College )......................................................................
Please return this form to Alice Thiagaraj, Director AoC Beacon Awards, 2-5 Stedham Place London WC1A 1HU
Appendix 5. Assessors’ Fees and Expenses
AoC Beacon Assessors are entitled to claim a daily rate plus reasonable
expenses. A day’s work should be calculated as being 7.5 hours, in line
with the contracted working day for AoC employees.
Visits should normally be completed in one day including travel. However
where travel would result in a working day longer than 9 hours it is
reasonable for assessors to claim an overnight stay.
Visit reports should be completed within 0.5 of a day. Assessors should
normally aim to complete a visit including travel, any overnight stays, and
report writing within 1.5 days.
Administration may be claimed for each award. Assessors should aim to
allocate no more than 0.5 days per award for administration to cover the
time to arrange visits, write letters and complete the overview report.
Expenses may be claimed according to AoC policy but assessors are
encouraged to seek the cheapest (acceptable) accommodation.
AoC Beacon Assessors are asked to bear in mind that the Beacon Awards
operate through the AoC Charitable Trust which is a Registered Charity
and the assessment, administration, events, PR and publications all need to
be covered by the sponsors’ donations. As such, the Trust greatly
appreciates the efforts Beacon Assessors make to keep their expenses to a
Assessors are asked to submit an invoice to cover their fees once they have
returned all their completed forms and reports to the AoC Beacon Awards
office at the end of the process. Expenses may be claimed for throughout
the process using the expenses claim form which can be emailed to Beacon
Assessors. An example of the claim form appears below. Expenses claim
forms can be emailed back to the office, provided scanned copies of all
receipts are also attached, or sent by post with the original receipts.
Association of Col
2-5 Stedham Place
N ew Oxford Stree
London WC1A 1H
Tel: 020 7034 9900
Budget Code escription N o. of
(including Event D etails)
Subsisten Meeting Meeting Hospitalit
Private car m ileage:- 45p per m ile
ALL RECEIPTS TO BE ATTACHED .
…………………………………………….. Checked by: ……………………………………………….. Ap p roved by: …………………………………….
IF YOU ARE CLAIMIN G MILEAGE PLEASE SIGN BELOW TO CON FIRM THAT YOUR CAR IS AD EQUATELY IN SURED FOR THESE JOURN EYS AN D IS LEGA
CHECK LIST OF DOCUMENTS TO BE SENT TO THE BEACON
Date sent to Beacon Office
Selection Analysis Forms
Visit letter to College
Site visit reports
Award overview reports
including Recommendations of
Copy of letter of thanks sent to
the College’s liaison officer
Appendix 7: Appointment and training of Beacon Assessors.
Appointment of Beacon Assessors:
Individuals with suitable experience and current knowledge of the work of
Further Education Colleges are invited to apply to join the register of
Beacon Assessors. Colleges winning a Beacon Award are invited to
nominate a member of staff associated with the winning submission to be
considered for appointment as a Beacon Assessor.
Appointment is made following assessment, by the Beacon Awards Director
and the Chief Assessor, of the match of the applicant's experience and skills
to the specification included in the job description (available at:
on_gold_awards/aoc_beacon_awards/assessment.cfm). The register is
maintained by the Beacon Awards Director. The Selection criteria for AoC
Beacon Assessors contained in the job description are:
Leadership and management within the further education sector
Current knowledge of the further education sector i.e. direct
experience of the sector outside the AoC Beacon Awards within the
last 3 years
In-depth knowledge of a specific curriculum or development area
Evidence of substantial teaching experience in the FE sector
Project management skills including the ability to effectively and
efficiently manage resources
Competent written skills
Ability to consolidate and analyse information to make an objective
assessment of provision and outcomes against the agreed criteria.
Assessors are required to re-register after a period of three years and to
attend the one day training for assessors on re-appointment. To be reregistered assessors will be required to submit to the Beacon Awards
manager a summary of their professional development and direct
experience of the sector outside the AoC Beacon Awards within the
previous 3 years
Training of Assessors
Beacon assessors are required to attend the assessor training at least every
three years. Sponsor’s assessors should also attend when possible but will
not be reimbursed for their expenses or attendance.
New Beacon Assessors are allocated a mentor and required to attend the
one day training conference. The role of mentor is to provide support and
guidance especially during the first two visits made by a new assessor. The
mentor will accompany both visits; on the first the mentee will mainly
observe but should lead the second visit and be responsible for writing the
report of that visit. On completion of the second visit the mentee is required
to complete a self-assessment form which should be agreed by the mentor
following a review of the report. On subsequent visits the new assessor is
expected to take a full role in the assessment processes.