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A case study from within further education

Participating Organisations The Landex model of collaboration is through a Specialist Colleges Membership Company and Federation. The member colleges involved include: England - Askham Bryan, Berkshire College of Agriculture, Bicton, Bishop Burton, Brooksby Melton, Capel Manor, Kingston Maurward, College of West Anglia, Derby (Broomfield Campus), Duchy, Easton, Hadlow, Harper Adams University College, Hartpury, Chichester (Brinsbury Campus), Moulton, Myerscough, Northumberland College at Kirkley Hall, Oaklands, Otley, , Plumpton, Reaseheath, Rodbaston, Sparsholt College Hampshire, University of Lincoln, Walford and North Shropshire, Warwickshire (including Pershore Campus), Wiltshire College Lackham, Writtle College. Northern Ireland Enniskillen College, Greenmount College, Loughrey College Scotland - Barony, Oatridge Wales - Coleg Sir Gar, Coleg Gwent (Usk Campus), Llysfasi, Pencoed, Welsh College of Horticulture

Purpose and Intended Outcomes Landex replaced Napaeo, an unincorporated representative body for land based colleges. The intention was to build on all that Napaeo did with the additional drivers being a desire to improve the quality of provision amongst the member colleges, develop more effective employer engagement and achieve these through robust self regulation. The main purposes and aims of Landex are to assist partners in the following ways: Advocacy - To understand and articulate the collective needs and professional opinions of member colleges Quality Assurance - Through robust self-regulation and facilitated improvement development programmes add value and quality of experience for all learners and other stakeholders within member colleges. Communication - To ensure effective dialogue with a wide range of regional, national and international agencies and organisations and to promote the role
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and capacity of member colleges Reputation and Credibility - To support Member Colleges individually and collectively to enhance their credibility through achievement and success

Background and Context All member colleges use extensive land and estates for the provision of learning. Collectively they have over 12000 Hectares of farms, gardens and estate incorporating a range of commercial enterprises. Most colleges offer residential provision. Member colleges deliver full time, part time and most forms of flexible learning courses. These range from pre entry to post graduate across most of the subject areas. In addition to providing a high proportion of land based Further Education member colleges are delivering almost 60% of all Higher Education in land based studies. Landex is a company limited by guarantee the members of which are all land based colleges; it is funded through member subscription. The Board of Directors,13 strong and all college principals are appointed on the basis of regional and national coverage and representing FE and HE interests as well as merged and independent institutions. Policy including a Quality Improvement Strategy is set and approved by the Board which meets 6 times per year. It is delivered through the Chief Executive supported by a Director of Quality Improvement (DQI,formerly a lead inspector with ALI) The Quality Improvement Strategy (QIS) prescribes minimum qualifying standards for membership and a procedure for continuous supported improvement. It is intended that these minimum standards will be raised through the early years of Landex activity. Procedures for verification of college self assessment are carried out by the DQI and incorporate the concept of lighter touch for colleges with a minimum grade 2 in leadership and management. The guiding principles of the QIS are        To make the most of what member colleges already have To analyse and research to inform future action towards quality improvement To build on actual and potential areas of strength to help enhance and influence existing external perceptions of quality To use the collective expertise of Landex members to add rigour to individual college validation activities To provide professional development towards quality improvement for all members To use the collective expertise of Landex members to provide targeted improvement through partnering activity To promote both inclusion and rigour to identify good quality where it exists and to actively support members towards achieving it

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Emerging outcomes and Impact so far During the first year of operation:  The infra-structure of the organisation has been established, Board of Directors, personnel etc. The Board of Directors has met 7 times and Landex has held its first AGM.  Quality Improvement Strategy including minimum standards for membership has been approved. Criteria relate to the quantum and breadth of activity in member colleges as well as to a range of key qualitative factors. The criteria incorporate FE, HE, school related provision, commercial enterprises, employer engagement and project management capacity.  Director of Quality Improvement(DQI) has visited each member college, analysed quality status of the collective membership and identified strengths, weakness and potential improvement activity  An initial programme of CPD activity has been completed including sessions on Every Child Matters for residential wardening staff, Agenda for Success for Principals and QA Directors, Improving Employer Engagement for Work Based Learning Managers, Developing Sustainable Colleges for senior personnel, Monitoring Teaching and Learning Standards for those involved in assessing teacher performance.  All CPD events have entailed best practice inputs from members on a commercial basis and where appropriate external inputs  A draft programme of CPD and other improvement events has been approved for the next 2 years  A programme of self assessment verification visits by the DQI to each member college will commence in September 2007. This will incorporate peer appraisal and the partnering of member colleges.  The DQI has embarked on a benchmarking project for the membership to include issues relation to attendance, progression and monitoring of teaching and learning standards  Landex has held its first annual conference with key inputs from the Chief Executive LSC, Industry Leaders and senior personnel from HEFCE  Landex has been proactive in the formulation of a Sector Learning Partnership (SLP) within the Sector Skills Council (Lantra). This partnership seeks to bring coherence to demand and supply of education and training within the sector and to enhance employer engagement.  Through the SLP, Lantra and Landex are in consultation on the new standards for employer engagement and centres of excellence with a view to seeking parity with Landex criteria.  Landex is in discussion with QIA in an endeavour to avoid duplication of input in pursuit of excellence  Landex continues to represent the sector on a wide range of education and industry related issues including the development of the new diplomas and the implementation of Leitch

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Factors for Success/Strengths of this Model Key factors for success are perceived as:  Unity of purpose within the membership. All members including those who are already strong need to see value added.  Strong and effective governance and leadership  Avoidance of unnecessary bureaucracy and the need to be a ‘lean’ organisation given the total dependence on member subscription  Landex will need to be widely associated with high quality. The brand name will need to be built and consolidated. It is acknowledged that this type of organisation is only as strong as its weakest link  Robust verification of standards consistent with a culture of supported continuous improvement.  The need to ensure that standards relate to the full range of member college activity including demand led elements and are not confined to the narrower inspection framework  Wide recognition amongst stakeholders with particular emphasis on employers and employer bodies  Synergy with other quality initiatives including Framework for Excellence

Issues  The challenge of getting the vast majority of potential members on board  The tension between members at different levels of quality and of being able to provide value added to all  Following consultation strong support in principle from industry leaders and from funding bodies and the DfES  The need to address the needs of HE members and take account of the uniquely high proportion of land based HE delivered through FE colleges  The need to find a way of including sector colleges in Wales Scotland and Northern Ireland even though the structures and systems are totally different  The need to focus on driving up standards for an industry sector (It is believed this is the first and still the only sector based approach to the quality initiative)  The extent to which peer referencing becomes part of the improvement model  The acceptance that there is a loosely defined timescale to deliver success – 2-3 years?  Linking with other self regulation initiatives including the current developments of the Self Regulation Implementation Plan (Landex is actively involved) The need for other quality improvement initiatives e.g. QIA Support for Excellence to be flexible enough to support Landex type initiatives rather than duplicate resources

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Next steps In its second year Landex needs to build on progress so far and further progress many of the issues listed above. The key task is one of building credibility and reputation through delivery of agreed objectives. In due course in association with Lantra Landex may want to consider specifying and validation of qualifications as indicated in Leitch

Vic Croxon, Chief Executive.

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