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                                                   April 2004
Our starting point for this Newsletter has to be the very positive outcome from the HMIE review. It has been
acknowledged by HMIE that the College has done exceptionally well.

Clearly the College is maintaining a position at the forefront of delivering consistent good practice.

I hope you found the last Sharing Good Practice Newsletter helpful and interesting. This edition retains basically
the same format, but please tell me if you have ideas and suggestions to allow us to continuously improve. I have
added one additional section based on a conference I recently attended to offer a little food for thought.

                                            Across the College
A FERL Practitioners Programme is now running, once a month at 16pm on Wednesday afternoons. This employs
a workshop approach to allow staff to develop a better understanding of e-learning and to explore ways of working
with the College VLE.

The College has collaborated with seven other East of Scotland colleges to devise and run two innovative training
programmes. One course targets experienced lecturing staff and focuses on reflective practice, learning styles and
technology in the classroom. The other, aimed at support staff, has provided training in responsive service

Comments included:
“Made good contact with other Colleges and their people” and “I feel I have learned a lot about myself”

Good to see success for both College students and staff at the recent Adult Learning Awards.
                            Around the Curricular Departments
Core Skills Team:
Study Clubs have been set up in the technology department. These use flexible and integrated learning to embed
core skills in numeracy and IT.

Core skills staff development sessions tailored to each curricular department‟s needs are being developed.

Service Industries:
Preparations for Pre-Entry and Induction are well underway with a clear mapping out of pre-entry and pre-
induction activity, and a date fixed for the „taster day‟.

Business Administration:
The Steps for Success programme has been updated and is ready to be rolled out to our next intake of HN students.
Good to see one of our ex HND students progress directly to a MSc – Norman Chipakupaku. He organises the
sending of computers, which are no longer being used at Borders College, to Zambia. He has a team of 6 tutors
who teach business and administration to students in Zambia. He also collects mobile phones to provide small
remote Zambian villages with a means of communication.

He also takes any unwanted textbooks and is always looking for more!

Business Administration‟s „shared area‟ has impressed both HMI and colleagues from other departments. Staff
within the business Administration department can access a shared area on the network. Teaching resources,
PowerPoint presentations and other useful information is stored in this area and all Business administration staff
can access it.

Access to Learning:
An innovative self-advocacy course has been delivered to Life Skills students.

Inclusion days have been run for each curricular department and the learning centres. These have considered more
inclusive ways of teaching and producing materials in a form that is accessible to all students. Has included an
introduction to enabling technology in particular for use with dyslexic students.

Comments included:
“Made me aware that some students who I thought did not have disabilities actually have” and “Useful activities to
be used in classes”

A good start has been made to introducing staff to the mind-mapping software now available within the College.

Close links with managing agents (CITB, SECTT, SNIPEF, ReMIT) and employers. The department has a place
on the steering group of the newly formed Borders Construction Industry Forum.

Ongoing participation in SATTT (Scottish Association of Timber Training Teachers to develop and implement
national standards for Construction VQ‟s.

Student success in Scottish National competitions for the construction industry (including Painting and
Care and General Education:
As part of the schools links programme Hawick High School has pupils attending two afternoons per week. One
element of this work is a project to provide toys for the parent‟s room at the High School. To raise funds for this a
non-school uniform/fancy dress day was held followed by a sponsored car wash. This raised almost £300 for
books, posters, puzzles, toys, storage boxes and beanbags all of which have now been installed in the parents
Room at the High School.

Good to see one of the HNC Social Care student‟s achieving an Adult Learners award following a successful
placement at the Kelso Family Support Centre. The manager of the Centre said: “Maggie made an outstanding
contribution to the working of the team as whole”.

Landbased and Leisure:
An innovative partnership has been set up between the College and Scottish Borders Council to support Technical
Services staff in achieving Civil Engineering awards.

Leonardo projects will allow Gamekeeping students to visit Sweden and Horse Care students Ireland.

The „Get Qualified Get On‟ core skills initiative is encouraging students with poor achievement records to view the
subject in a more positive way.

Industrial liaison has been put in place with North Highland College and Badenoch Estate. Initiative in which
HNC Sports Coaching students gain real experience by coaching Uniform services students. Eliciting a good
response from both sets of students.

                                What’s new with Support Staff?
Quality and Curricular have developed a comprehensive series of databases to assist reporting and forward
planning. These are proving to be of considerable help to staff across the College. Scanning software has been
purchased to allow the Quality and Curriculum department to scan survey returns and speed up the process of

Admissions and Marketing have worked together to put information onto our website to help international
students apply for courses.

BC Consultants:
One of the Business Administration students has a placement at the Edinburgh office assisting the Childcare Team
with administrative support.
                             Good Practice from other Colleges
Landbased Industries:
Barony College (September 2003)
Programme teams met termly with elected programme representatives. In cases where numbers were small they
met the whole class. The college provided the programme representatives with guidance on their roles. Also
encouraged students to discuss learning and teaching at individual and group tutorials.

Elmwood College (March 2004)
Staff used a variety of effective strategies to promote debate and discussion. These strategies included emotive
audio-visual presentations and using brainstorming techniques to collect and assemble the views of students

Cumbernauld College (March 2004)
The model for SPA certificate in Homecare practice was highly effective. In partnership with employers, teaching
staff had designed a comprehensive college-based element to the programme, which lasted 3 weeks.

Elmwood College (March 2004)
Staff provided students at Intermediate NQ with the opportunity to take Duke of Edinburgh‟s award. Included care
therapy to frail elderly people and an outdoor activity element. Gave experience in a new and unfamiliar setting
and developed both skills and confidence in students.

Guidance and Support:
Elmwood College (March 2004)
Provided good opportunities for young people on the autistic spectrum to study in mainstream programmes with
one-to-one support. Have also provided for the needs of students from a distance by setting up a supported
accommodation service. Student‟s parent, care assistant, social worker, programme tutors, and the college
inclusiveness adviser all contributed to individual review meetings.

Computing and ICT:
Cumbernauld College (March 2004)
The college provided a learning environment of the highest quality through the recently opened Central Scotland
E-Skills Training centre. This includes a multimedia presentation area.
                               HMIE Reports: Current Trends
Recent HMIE Subject Review reports have consistently identified a need for Colleges to:

      Improve internal moderation
      Improve student retention and/or achievement/attainment
      Improve the range of teaching and learning methods and the quality of learning and teaching materials
      Improve guidance and support at induction, improve on-going guidance and support and prepare students
       better for the next steps

Over the past three years several common themes in main points for action related to other quality elements
required colleges to:

   o Improve self-evaluation:
         Be more analytical in the use of performance indicators and feedback from clients, employers and
           students to inform planning for improvements in the quality of the student experience and future
           curriculum development
         Evaluate the quality of teaching and learning more systematically and share good practice identified

   o Improve assessment methodology including:
         Assessment planning and scheduling
         Marking schemes, reassessment processes
         The award of merit at HN level
         Post-assessment feedback to students

Reports have also commented that Colleges should improve staff development and review processes to
ensure that:

      Teaching staff have their development needs suitably addressed
      New entrants to the profession receive adequate introduction to teaching and assessment

   The following points have commonly been raised in College Reviews by HMIE:

          Improve the effectiveness of the programme review process, analyse PIs more systematically, improve
           target setting and monitor achievement of targets better
          Improve the delivery and monitor the effectiveness of all access, guidance and support activity
          Develop quality assurance and quality improvement processes for all areas of activity that impact on the
           student experience
          Improve College planning processes and better align department plans with overall College plans

Over the past three years several common themes in main points for action required college to:

          Improve the effectiveness of staff development and review processes and embed those processes across
           all departments
          Evaluate the quality of learning and teaching more systematically
          Share best practice – particularly in approaches to learning and teaching
Looking ahead it is also worth noting the following pointers from our
own College HMI:
                    Key Anticipated CPD Themes Over the Next Two Years
     How learners learn (learning theory and practice)
     Core skills delivery
     Improving retention and achievement
     Refresher training for lecturers who achieved a TQ some years ago (10 years or over)
     Management training for first-line and middle manager

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