DUNSTABLE COLLEGE CORPORATION
Minutes of the meeting of the Academic Board held at 3 15pm on
Wednesday 16 January 2007 in the Boardroom
Paul Bailey Will Howard
Nicola Barratt Bhupa Patel
Geoff Collins Charlotte Puddifoot
Derek Condon Ian Raynes
Ray Eaton Bob Shore
Eamonn Egan Sally Thompson
Jerry Goodwin Dorothy Tozer
Rachel Halling Chris Vesey (Chair)
In attendance: Sue Young Minuting Secretary
1. Apologies for absence
Apologies for absence were received from Andrew Hill, Charlotte Puddifoot,
Dorothy Tozer and Tracey Sanders.
2. Meeting held on 7 November 2007
2.1 Unconfirmed minutes: the minutes were agreed as an accurate record.
3. Matters arising: none, other than those included in the agenda.
4. Self-Assessment Report: update
Mr Goodwin reminded Members of the rigorous validation process which had
been undertaken over a two-day period. The College’s process was
considered to be very effective and had been commended by inspectors at the
Membership of the validation panels had included senior managers,
Governors and representatives from Bedford and Huntingdonshire Colleges.
The Governors’ Standards Committee had reviewed the grades awarded by
the validation panel and had subsequently moderated the self-assessed
grades where appropriate. The graded SAR had been approved by the
Corporation at its meeting held on 13 December 2007.
Overall, Governors had considered that some of the SARs were very good
and wished to convey their appreciation to those members of staff who had Principal/
prepared them. The process would include feedback to managers, on a one- Dir Ac Stds
5. Ofsted Enhanced Monitoring Visit
Members noted that Ofsted would be undertaking a two-day Enhanced
Monitoring Visit on Tuesday 22 and Wednesday 23 January 2008. The visit
would focus on the College’s progress in addressing areas for improvement
identified at the last full inspection. An assessment would also be made on
progress made to improve learners’ outcomes and on the broad accuracy of
the College’s Self-Assessment Report. Consideration was given to the
programme for the visit, to include briefing meetings in preparation.
The Principal considered that the College should be proud of improvements
achieved thus far. Discussion took place on all aspects of the College’s
provision and issues highlighted by the last inspection.
6. Boards of Study: deferred to next meeting. Next agenda
7. Analysis of Success Rates
Members received updated data on retention, achievement and success
rates, by College department. Variations on this analysis was available on the
Staff Portal (ProAchieve). Mr Goodwin cautioned that, from September 2008,
those courses performing below the LSC’s designated Minimum Level of
Performance would not receive government funding. The Principal noted that
the College continued to work to improve the quality of its provision and, for
2006/07 had achieved its target of 74% in terms of success rates.
8. Performance Indicators for the Autumn term 2007
8.1 Learning Observation Summary
Ms Barratt addressed her report which analysed grades awarded with
respect to observations (by Subject Sector Area) undertaken during the
Autumn Term 2007. During. Of the 91 sessions observed, there was an
improving picture, with an increase from 64% to 69% achieving “Good” or
better. It was noted that this improvement correlated with the decrease in
the number of “Satisfactory” grades awarded. Whilst the total number of
observations had decreased from 123 compared to 91, any shortfall could
be accounted for by observations undertaken by QIA advisers during
8.2 SPOC induction report
Ms Barratt addressed her report which focused on feedback from the
most recent survey. Analysis of outcomes would support the
development of appropriate actions to improve the effectiveness of
application and induction processes and so support continued
improvements in learner satisfaction across the College.
Ms Barratt was pleased to report that 855 learners had participated in the
process (13% more than the previous year). The reports generated
enabled the College to compare levels of satisfaction (measured by the
degree to which learners agreed with the statements contained within the
questionnaires) against year-on-year College data.
Each area would prepare an action plan to respond to issues highlighted HODs
by the process.
9. Marketing: league tables
Members received government league tables which listed GCSE and A-level
achievement in Bedfordshire and Luton. An analysis of trends indicated a
significant improvement in Luton (50%+ A – C).
10. Equal Opportunities
The Principal addressed unconfirmed minutes from the Equal Opportunities
Committee meeting held on 12 November 2007. Members noted, in
particular, the recent successful staff development training day which had
focused on equality and diversity. The Equal Opportunities Co-ordinator had
reported that previous policies had been replaced by the College’s Equality
Schemes (published on the website). An over-arching Equality Policy had
been approved by the Corporation at its meeting held on 13 December 2007.
The College had been accredited by Job Centre Plus as a Member of the
“Two Ticks” initiative. This symbol would be used on all College
advertisements and headed stationery.
11. Learner Voice
Ms Barratt addressed her report which gave an overview of activity within the
College relating to the Learner Voice initiative. A Learner Voice Group had
been established in College to meet fortnightly in order to discuss the
development of a Learner Involvement Strategy. This would include three
key themes: representation; consultation and participation.
Representation: by course representatives at meetings, outcomes from
which would be fed back to the learners.
Consultation: with learners on their experiences in College. SPOC forms
provided a useful tool in this process.
Participation: the enrichment programme and learners’ participation in
cross-College events and the community.
Staff and students were enthusiastic about the Learner Voice initiative which
should develop and become embedded into the culture of all course teams as
an essential part of good practice in teaching and learning. The two new
Student Governors would be an integral part of the process.
12. Policies and Procedures
The Clerk reminded Members of the ongoing review of College Policies and
Procedures. The Corporation had ultimate responsibility for ensuring that
aspects of the College’s working were governed appropriately by a set of
policies which were adequate and appropriate, both in number and scope.
The Corporation’s Policy GOV022 had established a framework for the
process. In most instances, the average period between reviews would be
three years (five years, where appropriate). Reviews could be undertaken All to Clerk
more frequently, however, if legal changes or good practice required. It was
hoped that the review would be completed within the Spring Term 2008.
13. Other business
13.1 Virtual Learning Environment
The Principal noted the ongoing training programme and encouraged
HODs to support staff to utlise on-line resources.
13.2 Not Engaged in Education or Training (NEET)
Mr Goodwin reported that NEET numbers (locally) had reduced to
6.6.%. This improvement had been attributed to the College’s
undertaking to keep some courses open until the end of September.
This had provided an opportunities for this cohort of disaffected young
people to be enrolled on a College course.
The Chair thanked Members for their attendance and for their contributions. The
meeting ended at 4:35 pm.
Chair ......................................................................... Date .............................................