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Sample LIS publications
LIS guidance note on self assessment
LIS exemplar position statement on equality and diversity
Inter-relationship between QI and SAR cycles
LIS guidance note on SSAs at tier 1 and 2
LIS Apprenticeship Progress Review Diamond
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An overview of our main services to help you improve your provision:

Helping individual institutions in the sector achieve good or outstanding teaching, learning and assessment – we’ll equip you with the tools to help you improve the confidence and ability of your teachers to deliver better teaching, learning and assessment to your learners, through supportive but rigorous observations that focus on promoting improvement and the identification and sharing of good practice. We will provide you with the training, paperwork and systems to move your staff forward, encouraging their collaboration in the sharing of resources and good practice, so your staff will deliver in true teams. These are systems that will make the difference you want to see.

Observation system development and training to improve teaching, learning, assessment and support - sadly internal observation systems rarely feature as strengths during inspection but with the right direction they can do. We can show you what inspectors focus on and what makes an outstanding session. Too often colleges and providers focus on process, such as a lesson plan, rather than the resultant teaching and learning. Joint observations, or single observations by experts, can validate existing completed observation paperwork along with the accuracy and robustness of the observations carried out by your staff. Many colleges have benefitted from a series of joint ‘walk-throughs’ to check both the observation system and to provide robust evidence of how good practical and theory training really is, along with pointers that really work on how to improve it.   As well as training your observers in what to look for and how to grade we can tell you how good your teaching improvement processes are and how to improve their impact. For example, how to identify, log and spread good practice so that it is implemented elsewhere. The training and observations can give you reliable evidence of how good your support for learners is or how effective your tutorials are. We can tell you how the best colleges and providers have improved the teaching of their staff and the learning experience of their students.

Mock inspections or curriculum audits of specific areas within a college or provider – gain an exact picture of where you are, what you do well, what could be improved and how to best present your provision. If you chose one or two areas where your provision is ‘below the bar’ or where you feel teachers are not where you would like them to be, paired or individual observations can give precise information on how to improve performance and what to prioritise to move things on. A written report will highlight the most applicable best practice from the sector and can be used for self-assessment evidence and for your management of teaching and learning improvement. This work could also be for a cross-college aspect such as equality and diversity in the classroom, or the effectiveness of support.

Themed ‘walk-throughs’- twenty minute observations of areas that you would like to gain an overall picture of the current practice in your college with. For example, punctuality and how it is dealt with, prompt starts and introductions to learning, assessment of learning, use of ILT, linking learning to other sessions, functional skills, health and safety, tutorials, target setting, theory teaching, practical teaching. A written report will highlight any best practice seen along with recommendations for improvement.

Quality improvement policy and systems development - how good are your policies and systems? Are they doing what they are supposed to do if improvement is to happen? We will review and help to improve your key systems, especially course or programme reviews. We can ensure that you make the best use of learner and employer feedback to demonstrate improvement and to act as a rich source of self-assessment evidence. We can also help your internal verification systems drive timely achievement.

Supporting leaders, managers and governors to understand their role and part in monitoring performance and promoting improvement – we’ll work with you to understand exactly where you are now and provide tailor made support that responds specifically to your needs, whether it be individual one-to-one support or workshops for groups of people such as curriculum leaders or governors.

Sharing exemplary practice and systems in self-assessment and development planning with you, leading to quality improvement actions that move you forward self-assessment can be the single most powerful quality improvement tool if done well. Your report is looked at on an annual basis by the inspectorate along with performance data and can be an influence on whether you will be inspected. We’ll support you in developing your capacity to self-assess all of your work honestly and robustly so that your staff ‘own’ the resultant self-assessment reports and improvement plans, understanding their part in moving you forward.  Know what sub-SARs to produce and how to use them effectively. Wherever you are in your improvement journey, we will help you focus on maintaining upward movement and having a self-assessment report that will be a continuing strength to draw upon in your development.

We can get you ready to meet the new demands of the ‘Common Inspection Framework’  required for your SAR in Autumn 2013 – what to grade beyond the four areas to make your report useful to you and getting the report structure and the way you produce your report right. A robust self-assessment process uses the quality improvement procedures you already have effectively, ensuring that proposed grades stand up to inspection. Judgements based on sound evidence are difficult not to agree with. How to involve the right people, including governors, in moderation and monitoring of your development (action) planning to move your areas for improvement (weaknesses) and ‘satisfactory’ areas on.

Conducting a confidential ‘health check’ of your organisation by two of the top and most experienced very recent HMIs (and previously lead inspectors with the FEFC, TSC and ALI) – we’ll examine your leadership, management, performance and quality improvement against and beyond the requirements of the September 2012 Common Inspection Framework in a way that can only be achieved by scrutiny from the right people. Depending on institutional size and complexity, this totally confidential and focused ‘health check’ will ensure you know your provision inside out and leave you with no surprises should you be inspected. It will help you to decide and prioritise the actions required to move your provision on.  

Preparation for inspection (including the different aspects as a result of short notice) – we’ll support you in developing your capacity to show your institution in the best light, honestly but robustly, as it should be. With just two days notice of inspection it is worth being ‘institutionally ready’ so that all your staff show themselves at their best. We can dispel the myths and take the ‘angst’ out of inspection.  We will show you how to focus staff and learners on the important things that will make a difference. Having the right systems in place means that you can respond effortlessly when that call finally comes. If you are new to the role or just want to ensure that you do the best possible job as a nominee we can support you in getting everything ready and ‘right’. Wherever you are in your improvement journey we will help you focus on the things that matter, maintaining your upward movement. If you are previously good or outstanding we can show you the factors that have helped others improve further or to at least maintain their position.

An aspect that has been requested by several colleges, especially where there are managers not used to inspection, is to take such key staff through the types of questions and evidence they might need to refer to. We can also take you through the difference between having ‘apprenticeships’ rather than college based learning selected for one or more SSAs.

Position statements for key areas of your provision – these are concise, evidenced statements that describe key areas of your provision as they are now - they will help lead inspectors to make the same judgements and arrive at the grade that you are. If you think you are likely to be selected for inspection position statements demonstrate your movement since your self-assessment and can easily be updated for the first day of short notice inspections.

How to effectively manage and improve subcontracted provision – get advice from the author of the Ofsted report ‘Ensuring Quality in Apprenticeships’ on how to manage and improve your subcontracted provision, whose own quality assurance of extensive franchised provision was described by the FEFC as ‘exemplary’.

Providing a ‘critical friend’ service to check and validate self-assessment, observations of teaching and other key quality processes such as course reviews – confirmation that you are moving in the right direction constructive, informed, reliable and confidential advice from someone who knows how inspectors think and who has twice been judged outstanding himself in inspection. We’ll work with you to confirm you are doing the right things in the right way, responding specifically to your needs. We can help you to demonstrate to inspectors that you know your provision and are self-critical. A critical friend can help validate your own quality improvement findings and identify any gaps in evidence.

Providing resources that really impact to help you improve particular areas of your work – for example, materials to train governors, staff and learners in areas such as equality and diversity, course reviews, self-assessment reporting, general quality improvement and the improvement of teaching, learning and assessment through observation and improvement planning. If you have a particular area you would like to develop contact Phil as far in advance as possible to help you develop the right materials.

Equal opportunities and diversity training and embedding in teaching and learning - too often a key area for improvement in the new inspection regime that impacts negatively on teaching and learning judgements made by inspectors. Understand how to go about reinforcing learner understanding of equality and diversity in lessons as a naturally occurring process and where this is more difficult as part of tutorials, cross-college events or reviews. Understand what your staff, governors and learners should know about equality and diversity and whether your induction for them is appropriate, enjoyable and memorable? Learn how to demonstrate that your college has an inclusive culture of respect and opportunity. Understand what your marketing materials are saying about you to different groups of potential learners. How the best colleges and providers have gone about improving under-represented groups in particular SSAs. Planning ahead and then using data to understand performance at different levels of management.

Post-inspection action planning -  who better to advise you on analysing and prioritising the key actions needed to move your provision onto the next level following inspection?  If you are judged as ‘inadequate’ or ‘requires improvement’ you need to plan quickly in order to improve in order to have the maximum improvement in the short time before another inspection. Even if you are judged as ‘good’ we can help you to take the right next steps to becoming outstanding.

Providing ‘Masterclasses’ in key areas that are often cited as areas for improvement in inspection, providing resources that deliver and can be adapted by the institutions that attend - these will be a day or half day of hard, but rewarding work. They should only be attended by staff who have the ability and authority to introduce the ways of working that are covered. Attendance at a masterclass gives your institution a licence to adapt the materials shared with you. The Masterclasses are completely different from anything that has been offered by others, and in terms of possible improvement impact these will be the best money your institution has ever invested. Masterclasses can be delivered ‘in house’ for key staff at a college or training provider.