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A new approach to Self-Assessment and Quality Improvement

Updated: Nov 25, 2020

Self-Assessment Reports (SARs) and Quality Improvement Plans (QIPs) are far too often just a tick box exercise. They are more than often top - down and are not aligned to the reality in the classroom and the everyday challenges that staff and students face. They are often unwieldy documents (100+ pages) that get dusted off and rapidly edited when Ofsted make the call!

As the Quality Manager in a Central London Further Education College, I used this as an opportunity to develop a new approach to SAR's and QIP's. I tore up the old 134-page document and started from scratch! I also used it as an opportunity to embed the new Ofsted - Education Inspection Framework (EIF) into the fabric of the Colleges quality systems and to inform staff of the implication of new framework to their everyday practice.

I asked Section Head managers to redo their local SAR based on simplified pro-forma, I signed off and risks (RAG) rated the previous year’s QIP and carried forward unachieved targets. I summarised the provision, learner numbers, success, progression and headline key performance indicators using infographics. I summarised the key strengths and areas for development for each of the EIF criteria for the whole curriculum. Data summaries from pro-achieve where relegated to an appendix and the new QIP was based on 6 manageable key improvement themes and the whole document (Including appendices was a total of 32 pages!

We printed the SAR/QIP as a glossy booklet and shared it with all staff, key stakeholders and Governors (was obvs signed off first!). We devolved QIPs to sections and updated regularly with plenty of evidence ( I have even developed live QIPs at other colleges, integrated with data dashboards), we used it to celebrate the previously unknown fact that we were best in the country for A*-C GCSE English results for GFE!

Feedback from Ofsted during a monitoring visit stated " Leaders have improved how they evaluate and report on the quality of the provision, such as how they evaluate support for learners and their achievement of qualifications. They summarise the key strengths and weaknesses succinctly and accurately in their annual self-assessment report. This analysis provides a strong basis for improving quality. Leaders’ planning as a result gives managers a clear steer on the actions they need to take"

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