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Study programmes overview


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Study programmes overview

  1. 1. Sharing Innovative Approaches to Delivering 16-19 Study Programme Principles Context The Department for Education commissioned the Association of Colleges to undertake a project with colleges considering the implementation of Study Programmes in their first year of delivery, particularly looking for innovative approaches to meeting students’ needs. This project followed a previous commission in the summer of 2013 which surveyed colleges on their development of Study Programmes, highlighting the challenges faced and solutions to these which resulted in the development of 12 Case Studies1 . The new commission was carried out in two phases between January and March 2014. Firstly, a survey was conducted across the college sector, which contained questions on the following broad areas, of the project brief: • Strategic approaches and quality of teaching • English and Maths provision • Work experience, and • Employer involvement in qualification activity/delivery. The survey had a good response rate of 33% of all member colleges and following analysis of responses a number of colleges were approached in order to develop a set of case studies in each of the more detailed areas below, as outlined in the project brief: Strategic approaches and quality of teaching 1. Effective strategic changes to embed all the study programme principles. 2. Teacher/ senior leadership team experiences – what innovative approaches have they adopted due to their new freedoms/flexibilities. Work experience 3. Delivery of work experience as part of large academic/vocational programmes and/or within a sixth form College curriculum. 4. Delivery of work experience in subject areas where there are significant skills gaps and few work experience opportunities, for example engineering and construction. 1
  2. 2. 5. Delivery of work experience within highly deprived and/or rural areas with little access to industry or choice of employers within the locality. Maths and English provision 6. How FE workforce are contextualising English and maths teaching in a way that demonstrates their relevance to students who have previously failed these subjects at GCSE, and making use of student evaluation of teaching and learning to improve their practices and increase attainment. 7. How providers are handling higher volumes of students, assessing their ability levels and deciding how to prepare them for GCSEs including use of the stepping stone qualifications of functional skills and free standing maths. 8. Successfully encouraging students who have achieved GCSE grade C in maths to progress to Level 3 maths qualifications and Tech Level qualifications to achieve the TechBacc performance measure. Employer involvement in qualification activity/delivery 9.Achieving economies of scale regarding employer involvement as part of the students’ qualification time: how to best make use of an employer’s limited time to enrich a large number of students’ learning. 10. Working with employers to arrive at sector specific ‘real world’ assignments/project tasks for students to complete as part of their substantial vocational qualifications, and the role of employers in contributing to the assessment of these. The Case Studies Fifteen colleges provided case studies setting out their various approaches to implementing Study Programmes in 2013/14. A full list of colleges is provided in the Annex. Most of these colleges set their specific case study in the context of their overall approach to Study Programme implementation, so that the innovative practice which was highlighted should be seen as part of their overall approach. This means that most case studies cover more than one of the specific areas above, and in the short descriptions of each that follow we have highlighted the other areas covered by cross-referencing to the criteria outlined above. The Case Studies for 2014 are available in full on the AoC website1 . The purpose of this briefing is to highlight innovative practice, some of which goes beyond the original terms of the commission but shows how responsive these colleges are. Each case study has been colour coded to reflect innovative approaches matched to the outlined criteria above. Strategic appraoch and quality of teaching Work experience Maths and English provision Employer involvment in qualification activity/delivery 1
  3. 3. Innovative Practice The following are examples of practice designed to ensure Study Programmes are effective in meeting their educational goals and also meeting the needs of students more widely. Banbury and Bicester College: this is part of the Activate Learning group, which has a student – centred approach throughout its member organisations, based on an understanding of the motivation to learn. The main innovation here is through a highly structured approach to work experience and the development of employability skills, through combining college-based and work-based learning. Students are encouraged to form live learning companies. The first of these has been developed successfully in the hospitality sector. (2) (10) Bishop Auckland College: Curriculum planning for Study Programmes has involved whole teaching teams, with student representation. Weekly teaching and learning workshops reinforce staff knowledge and skills as the programmes progress though the year, shaped by student feedback. This creates a responsive programme and the feeling that staff and students work towards shared objectives. It has also ensured the embedding of English and Maths in the vocational curriculum offer. (6) (10) Blackpool 6th Form College: the innovation here is in the careful curriculum analysis done in building Study Programmes to support students’ progress and achievement in English and Maths. Teaching and learning are highly personalised, building from diagnostic assessment to applications of, for example, Maths in real-world settings. A high focus is placed on staff skills and progress monitoring. The place of English and Maths in enabling success in other examinations, and in career success, is emphasised throughout. (7) (6) Cambridge Regional College: This college has developed a “Passport to Success” for students, with categories of professional and personal skills which, in addition to their main vocational qualification, will enable students to progress to either employment or higher study. The college has also established, at each level and for every course, a set of learner skills and competencies which will provide both the basis of the Passport curriculum and a set of learner outcomes. (2) (3) (10) City College, Southampton: this college has predominantly vocational provision. The innova- tion required was to enhance work experience for Study Programmes in ways that could provide benefits to employers as well as to students. A new, cross-college standardised system to record and monitor work engagement activities was introduced and branded “Work Experience +”. This covered and logged both formal and informal experiences of the workplace, from placements to talks given by employers. It also makes efficient use of employers’ time and resources. (3) (9) (10) Dudley College: an effective learner voice programme has been developed here, which has helped shape how functional skills operate within Foundation level programmes. The College also has a successful Enrichment programme provided through effective timetabling, ranging from sport to enhancing employability skills with external partners, including internships in high-demand occupational sectors. Study Programmes are backed by comprehensive and enhanced staff development arrangements. (1) (2) (10) East Berkshire College: Students are encouraged to stretch themselves, to “expect to be challenged”. Work experience is a particular strength and has been extended to meet Study Programme requirements, in partnership with an external organisation deriving from the former Education Business Partnership. Once again, innovative timetabling has created a range of student-led enrichment activities to promote retention and achievement. (1/2) (3/4) (7)
  4. 4. East Norfolk 6th Form College: as part of its inclusive approach to learning the college has developed a highly-personalised curriculum for High Needs students. This grew from a funded action research project aimed at ensuring the participation of these students as Study Programmes were established. Students may select from two pathways through the programme, designed to enhance their individual learning capabilities and their vocational learning. The latter route includes supported work placements. (2) (3) (10) Gateway 6th Form College: to promote inclusion and address local participation concerns, post-16, Gateway has revised its approaches to English and Maths in the Study Programme curriculum. A better match has been created with the qualifications offered by local schools so that students feel familiar with assessment expectations. A new diagnostic assessment software tool was also introduced, to ensure students joined the right type and level of award. Re-focused Enrichment activities also encourage independent learning skills to be developed. (1/2) (7) (9/10) Leeds City College: this college took the opportunity to re-vamp its work experience programme with a strong emphasis on progression to work, a higher level course, and access to accreditation. Approaches to teaching and learning were also re-assessed; blended learning is being developed, with a substantial pilot project in the Motor Vehicle curriculum. The investment in staff development and resources here has paid off through students’’ successful completion of programmes. (1/2) (3/4) (7) Leicester College: as well as providing a strong core structure this college has developed a “Personal Professional Development Programme”. This supports the development of the whole young person, with employability skills, enterprise activities, staying safe and healthy, equality and diversity and current affairs. As an example, an external agency enables more employers to engage with the college. They help provide students with a realistic approach to developing recruitment and selection skills from both the candidate’s and employer’s perspective in going for a job. (7) (9) Plymouth College of Art: this college provides Study Programmes with a focus on the creative industries. The importance of Maths and English as employability skills is recognised through an enhanced programme of teaching and learning, embedding these skills with the aid of specialist staff. A particular innovation is focused support for dyslexia, throughout, from initial contact with students through the enrolment process, diagnostic assessment, on-programme learning and assignment planning. This utilises specialist approaches and software packages, as needed. (6) Trafford College: in developing Study Programmes this college recognised the requirement to respond to the needs of the local and regional economy, as well as those of individual students. The curriculum has been adjusted for relevance in this respect. The college has also partnered Career Academies UK to provide high quality opportunities for learners in key job growth areas, including provision of paid internships, industry mentors and a weekly seminar programme of master classes from employers. (1/2) (3-5) (9/10) Strode College: this college provides Study Programmes predominantly for GCE A level students. The innovation required here was strategic, at the start: Study Programmes had to be devised to operate as efficiently as possible, whilst meeting educational needs well. A curriculum audit was carried out, assessing provision against taught hours, recognising that new educational requirements would potentially have funding implications. The senior management team involved governors in these decisions, so that the implementation of Study Programmes was seen strategically and the educational changes – and resources - required were planned for the long term. (1/2)
  5. 5. Uxbridge College: the innovation here was to embed employability and employer engagement within Study Programmes. One aspect of this was to ensure students understood that English and Maths were skills for employability; as far as possible these were embedded. Students have responded well. Involvement of employers in Study Programmes has included engagement in the design, delivery and/or assessment of courses and course elements, as well as receiving students in the workplace for full work experience or work placements. (3-5) (9/10) Jim Aleander, 13th March 2014.
  6. 6. ANNEX The Colleges providing Case Studies on Study Programmes, March 2014. Banbury and Bicester College Bishop Auckland College Blackpool 6th Form College Cambridge Regional College City College Southampton Dudley College East Berkshire College East Norfolk 6th Form College Gateway 6th Form College Leeds City College Leicester College Plymouth College of Art Trafford College Strode College Uxbridge College