Our Future Vision

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STRATEGIC PLAN 2008/09-2011/12

Our Mission

Excellence in Learning and Skills

Our Strategic Aims

 Personalised learning to enable learners to achieve their potential

 Expand access to learning and seize opportunities to impact on the Northern

 Achieve outstanding success through professionalising the College

 Develop an efficient and sustainable College

Our Values

      We value the delivery of outstanding service

      We value people committed to learner success

      We value an environment which promotes equality, diversity and safety
1   Introduction

    This document outlines our strategic intentions for achieving outstanding success
    at Darlington College.

    The College is moving ahead with its next phase of development and positioning
    itself to be at the centre of educational developments and economic regeneration in
    the sub-region. Some local young people experience exclusion from school and
    work. Re-engaging these young people is a high priority. We have a strong track
    record of turning young lives around and have successfully engaged many within
    the community who were previously excluded or unsuccessful. Our plans are
    central to shaping a new 14-19 landscape and developing new employer led
    pathways to success.

    As the new industrial and commercial sectors of the North East and Yorkshire and
    Humberside emerge the challenge into the future will be to ensure a match
    between employer demands and the skills of the workforce. Ensuring this fit is a
    critical task for the College.

    We have extensive and responsive workplace learning. We are breaking new
    ground in creating partnerships with employers to design and deliver training and
    qualification in the workplace.

    We are determined to make learning accessible to increase the number of people
    gaining qualifications and meet employer demand for skills.

    Access to higher education will be substantially increased with the development of
    further foundation degrees, short courses and professional programmes in
    partnership with the University of Teesside.

    The College plans will support Darlington’s aspirations set out in the Sustainable
    Community Strategy ‘One Darlington; Perfectly Placed’ which has established the
    framework for the funding, activity and the leadership required to improve
    outcomes for children and young people.

    The One Darlington priority has many strands including:

     Tackling deprivation wherever it exists, narrowing the gaps in life chances
      across the Borough and focusing on reducing inequality for the most deprived
      and disadvantaged
     Making sure that groups of people who may be at risk of discrimination or
      disadvantage are included, with equality of opportunity and access to services
         Protecting vulnerable people
         Valuing each person for who they are
         Encouraging volunteering
         Regarding happiness, fulfilment and well-being of individuals as a legitimate
          concern for the community as a whole and doing what is possible to support
          individual to enjoy their lives and achieve wholeness and mental well-being all
          of which will be developed through the five themes of:
         Prosperous Darlington
         Aspiring Darlington
         Healthy Darlington
         Greener Darlington, and
         Safer Darlington.

      The College is committed to working effectively with our partners – employers,
      public sector, community groups, schools and the University of Teesside so that
      together we can achieve a skilled and qualified workforce playing our part in
      developing a vibrant regional economy.

2     The Communities We Serve - Population, Prosperity and Deprivation

2.1   North East

      The Learning and Skills Council North East Commissioning Plan for 2008/2009
      indicates that:

       The proportion of the working age population qualified to level 2 has increased
        to the national average but more than 500,000 adults in the North East do not
        have a level 2 qualification
       Achievement at level 3 has increased to 45.8% below the national average of
       The percentage of adults without functional literacy and numeracy skills is high
        and geographically concentrated
       There is an expectation that the number of jobs requiring intermediate and
        higher level skills will continue to grow
       A key challenge is to raise demand from employers for higher level skills to
        drive forward productivity gains
       The sectoral mix of employment in the North East will continue to change,
        which means that many people of working age will have qualifications no
        longer relevant to the economy, and they will need to repeat a level 2 or 3
        qualification to enable them to progress in employment
       The challenge for learning providers will be to respond to the changing
        structure of employment and to work closer with employers to deliver learning
        which meets their needs
       The North East region prioritises the following sectors as growth sectors in the

           Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals
           Automotive
           Defence and Marine
           Food and Drink Manufacture
           Renewable Energy
           Knowledge Intensive Business Services
           Tourism and Hospitality
           Commercial Creative
           Health and Social Care

The Tees Valley Region

The Tees Valley City Region is based around the five towns of Darlington,
Middlesbrough, Hartlepool, Stockton-on-Tees and Redcar and Cleveland and also
includes the Borough of Sedgefield. The sphere of influence of the Tees Valley extends
from Peterlee and Durham City in the North to Northallerton in the South and from
Richmond in the West to Whitby in the East. The City Region including the area of
influence has a population of 875,000 of which 650,000 live in the five Tees Valley
Authorities of Darlington, Middlesbrough, Hartlepool, Stockton on Tees, Redcar and

Around 846,000 live within thirty minutes of Darlington of which 521,000 are of
working age and around 2.7 million live within an hour of Darlington of which 1.7
million are of working age.

Economic Growth

The Tees Valley has been falling below the regional average of GVA per head of
population largely as a result of the massive shift in the employment structure of the
Tees Valley, and the steep decline in manufacturing employment. Since 1971, over
93,000 manufacturing jobs were lost linked to the major rationalisation of the steel
industry in the UK.

The Tees Valley economy is based on the largest integrated heavy industrial complex in
the UK. There are three main components:

          The petrochemical cluster at Wilton, Billingham and Seal Sands is the largest
           integrated chemicals complex in the UK with 70,000 jobs including the world’s
       largest polyethylene plant. The Wilton Centre is the largest non-military research
       centre in Western Europe and a world-class engineering design and plant
       maintenance industry employing 5,000 people in the Tees Valley.

      The Redcar Steel complex is one of three main UK producers.

      Teesport, the second largest port in the UK handles 10% of UK traffic. Oil and
       gas based chemicals, iron ore import, coal imports and steel exports account for
       about 75% of trade. The port is the only deep sea port on the East Coast and has
       the potential to become a deep sea container port catering for the growing Far
       East trade creating I the long term 5,500 jobs.

The chemicals industry requires a skills strategy which meets the needs of the industry
estimated at requiring 8,000 new recruits at graduate/technician levels and a further
4,000 to replace those retiring.

Largely as a consequence of its heavy industrial activity, Tees Valley is now developing
a unique combination of energy related activities, including biofuels, biomass, hydrogen
and oil and gas.

      The area has developed a strong logistics industry based around the port and
       distribution of chemicals, steel, engineering products. The Tees Valley has
       diversified and Darlington has become a major logistics centre serving the North
       of England.

      Financial and business services including the more advanced call centre functions
       have been developed in Darlington, Teesdale in Stockton, Middlesbrough and
       Hartlepool Marina and drive the office market in the towns

      Newton Aycliffe has developed in electronics.

      The creation of a science/technology park at Netpark in Sedgefield and the
       provision of a real and vertical knowledge economy hub

      The University of Teesside also hosts the Centre for Process innovation which is
       the National Centre for Nanomaterials and Industrial Biotechnology.

      The University of Teesside through its Digital City development is creating a new
       industrial sector in the Tees Valley supported by Darlington College’s centre of
       excellence in digital media
          There has also been substantial growth in tourism, based on building along the
           River Tees, the coast, maritime and railway heritage

          the pubic sector, notably education and health services have grown

          The expansion of Catterick Garrison will provide 10,000 new people to the City

          Over the last three years 12,800 jobs have been created primarily in the service

The important transport linkages are Teesport with regular container and goods services
to Europe, Asia and the Mediterranean and Durham Tees Valley airport with its links to
Heathrow and Amsterdam.

The East Coast Main Line with stations in Darlington, Northallerton and Durham.

The A1 soon to be upgraded to motorway standard and the A19(T) links to the South
and A66(T) to Scotland and Ireland.


Great emphasis is placed on upskilling the workforce to obtain NVQ3 and 4 level
qualifications with below average performance in the Tees Valley with these levels.
There remains an above average performance of the workforce with no qualifications.

Darlington and Stockton had the highest proportions with NVQ4 or above qualifications
in the Tees Valley and conversely the lowest proportion without qualifications.

2.2       A Picture of Darlington

          Sitting astride the East coast main line railway and the A1(M) motorway at the
          southern end of the North East region, Darlington has come to be recognised as the
          gateway to the North East and to the Tees Valley City Region. The borough’s
          assets of location and accessibility have formed the foundation in recent years of
          the highly successful Gateway strategy for economic regeneration.

          Key projects include office development at Morton Pal s, new logistics
          development at Faverdale, the development of Darlington Town Centre, Central
Park Lingfield Point and the promotion of rail heritage with Locomotion at Shildon
and the Weardale Railway; a major improvement project for Aycliffe Industrial
Park is proposed.

The borough is a compact area of 76 miles with a population of 99,400 people.
People from Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds make up 2.1% of the
population, although this figure does not include the majority of Gypsies and
Travellers who constitute the largest BME group. There is significant community
of people of Bangladeshi origin. Migration from the east European countries of the
new expanded EC is recent for which there is no data. It is estimated that by 2011
over 21% of the population will be of retirement age. Key employment trends
indicate that employment in Tees Valley will total 8000 by 2014.

Darlington is ranked 95th most deprived area in the country, with 45% of the
population living in 10 wards that are amongst the 25% most deprived in the
country. Seven wards are amongst the 10% most deprived, and 31% of the
borough’s population live in them. (2007 Index of Multiple Deprivation). There
remains a gap of 0.7 percentage points in unemployment rates between Darlington
and the UK average, whilst pay levels remain low. Average pay levels are 7.1%
lower than Tees Valley and 17.7% lower than the average for the UK (2006).

Although Darlington has relatively low levels of unemployment there are
relatively speaking a large number of low level employment opportunities in the
town which require few or no qualifications and do not provide any ongoing
training opportunities.

Matching the skills available in Darlington to support the growth of high value
companies; and focusing on high value sectors – particularly business, financial
and professional service, engineering design and construction and knowledge
intensive businesses, improving skills training and employment prospects for
residents, including the use of targeting training and recruitment clauses in public
procurement are priorities in the One Darlington: Perfectly Placed Sustainable
Community Strategy.

Academic performance of pupils varies across the Key Stages. The percentage of
pupils achieving 5 A*-C grades is slightly better than the national average.
However 4 out of 7 secondary schools perform below the national average.

The data set below is based on learners in 2006/7. It identifies that Darlington has
fewer learners as a % of the working age population than the rest of the Tees
Valley and the lower proportion of learners on skills for Life and level 2
                   Working age                     Skills for Life   Level 2           Level 3
                   Population       Learners as    learners as       learners as a     learners as a
Partnership Area   (‘wap’)          a % of wap     a % of wap        % of wap          % of wap

County Durham             303,929          20.8%              3.1%              6.1%              3.0%
Darlington                 58,789          16.5%              3.0%              5.0%              4.0%
Redcar                     83,361          21.1%              4.0%              6.4%              4.7%
Hartlepool                 52,541          21.3%              3.9%              6.3%              4.5%
Middlesbrough              81,461          22.3%              4.3%              6.2%              3.9%
Stockton                  109,895          22.1%              3.2%              5.4%              4.2%
LSC Area South            689,976          20.9%              3.4%              6.0%              3.7%

Note: ‘wap’ working age population.

2.3   North Yorkshire

      The 2001 census projects that by 2015, the population of North Yorkshire will be
      607,000 of whom 45% will be over 50 and 3.2% over 85 years. The county’s size
      and population sparsity bring specific problems to those living in rural isolation.
      Some areas suffer from high levels of disadvantage including Catterick Garrison,
      Colburn, some of the coastal towns and some of the rural upland areas.

      The Learning and Skills Council Yorkshire and the Humber Regional
      Commissioning Plan 2008/2009 indicates that:

        Attainment at level 2 in the Region is significantly below the national average
         (66% compared to 69.7% nationally)
        16% of the working age population are without qualifications
        Attainment at level 3 is the lowest in the country at 43.3% compared to 49.2%
        In 2005/6 37,000 achieve a Skills for Life qualification, however the proportion
         of the working age population with low attainment in literacy and numeracy
         remains significantly higher than the national average
        The number of economic migrants for Eastern Europe has grown and will
         continue to increase in future years. These individuals often take up
         employment in occupations less skilled than their actual skill level due to
         barriers presented by their level of English Language
        The number of people taking level 2 apprenticeships has declined

2.4   Catterick Garrison – A Super Garrison

      The College has a unique relationship with the MoD at Catterick Garrison.

      Catterick Garrison sits 4 miles west of the A1 and 2 miles east of Richmond. The
      Garrison consists of 2,400 acres of land with surround training areas of a further
      19,000 acres. The Garrison has responsibility for about 34 square miles.

      There are currently 13,000 army personnel and civilians based in the Garrison
      town which is forecast to grow with the addition of 3,600 new army personnel
      joining the Garrison over the coming years as the Super Garrison develops.

      The College has partnership agreements with the UK Infantry Training Centre and
      3AEC to provide NVQ and Skills for Life training for over 2,500 infantrymen and
      other service personnel each year.

      Provision is based at the College’s Catterick Centre and within the Infantry
      Training Centre.

      There will be expansion in the range of training programmes developed for
      Resettlement and an increase in higher education and professional courses offered
      through the University of Teesside Partnership.

3     Expand Access to Learning

3.1   14-19 full and part time learners

      The number of school leavers in North Yorkshire, County Durham and Darlington
      secondary schools together with the target percentage progression to college is
      forecast in the table below to 2010.
                                 % student                  % student
                       2008     progression     2009      progression to
                     School      to college   school         college
School               leavers       2008/9     leavers        2009/10

North Yorkshire
Bedale                    172          19%          178              20%
Richmond                  249          12%          244              12%
Risedale                  112          42%          101              43%
St Francis Xavier          79          18%           84              18%
Wensleydale                98          20%          103              22%
Total                     710      Ave 22%          710          Ave 23%

County Durham
Barnard Castle            79             9%          82               12%
Bishop Barrington        182             1%         172                2%
Greenfield               139            14%         141               14%
Parkside                 177             1%         166                1%
Sedgefield College       219                        216
St Johns RC              105            1%          130               1%
Staindrop                105           14%          130              16%
Sunnydale                120           12%          100              20%
Teesdale                 130           12%          134              20%
Woodham                  230           16%          201              17%
Total                   1486        Ave 8%         1472          Ave 10%


Hurworth                  133           36%         133               36%
Eastbourne Academy        138           68%         111               70%
Haughton                  177           42%         183               43%
Branksome                 173           52%         148               54%
Longfield                 179           52%         179               54%
Hummersknott                    245            19%            243                  19%
Carmel Tech College             181            15%            179                  15%
Beaumont Hill                    23
Total                          1226            41%           1176                  42%

      The College will continue to work in partnership with the Darlington Children’s
      Trust, the Darlington 14-19 Trust and the Richmondshire Area Learning
      Partnership to foster effective collaboration to provide choice and high quality

      The College together with partner schools are national pilot centres for functional
      skills from September 2008.

      From 2009, the College will offer new Diplomas in Engineering, ICT, Creative and
      Media and Hospitality and Catering to 14-19year olds.           Other Diploma
      programmes will be available in September 2010 with the full range of 17 new
      Diplomas available by September 2013,

      14-16 year olds will access the new Diplomas together with the Skills+ full time
      vocational programme for year 10 and year 11 pupils and part-time vocational
      courses. This range of vocational provision is designed to optimise learner choice
      and achievement and increase progression to post 16 learning.

      The Foundation learning Tier will be introduced to replace existing Entry and
      Level 1 provision from September 2009.

      The College is committed to contributing to the reduction of NEETs in Darlington
      and plays an active role in the NEET Partnership in the town. Programmes are
      designed to specifically support those young people not engaged in learning or

      The themes of Every Child Matters are integrated into all programmes for 14-19
      year olds. From September 2008 a newly appointed Sports Co-ordinator will
      ensure that there will be increased access to sport and health related activities.

3.2   Personalised Learning

      Personalised learning will be developed to ensure that every student has an
      individual learning plan and appropriate tailored support to achieve and exceed
      their potential.

      The Planning for Success project will ensure that key information about individual
      students is captured at the transition stage to assist in the setting of personal
      achievement targets during initial assessment and ensuring a differentiated
      learning experience for students.

      The subject learning coach programme will be extended to develop the effective
      use of e-learning technologies and the virtual learning environment to meet
      individual student needs. Continuous professional development for staff will
      target the development of assessment for learning to promote motivational
      strategies encouraging students to engage and achieve.

      Assertive mentoring strategies will be adopted to improve planning, monitoring
      and review of learner progress and the setting of short-term targets.
      Value added measures adopted for all level 3 learners will be extended to all full
      time learners using distance travelled measures.

3.3   E-learning

      E Learning and assessment will be expanded where it demonstrably improves and
      supports excellence in teaching and learning through increased effectiveness,
      student interest and motivation, efficiency, and flexibility.

      Fronter will continue to be the primary VLE for all College learners, with
      additional access to Blackboard for HE students. Fronter will provide a dedicated
      area for all programmes, giving both learners and tutors 24 hr access to learning
      materials, assignment briefs etc. On line tests and the use of E portfolios will
      increase as they become available through awarding bodies.

      Electronic whiteboards/ICT to support excellence in teaching and learning will be
      made available in all learning areas, including workshop areas. The College will
      continue to provide access to UFI Leandirect E learning opportunities with initial
      assessment and on programme support.

      The following aims are supported by a comprehensive programme of CPD for
      tutors and support staff:

       All learners will have access to a range of E learning opportunities, with
        individual network accounts and access to the VLE
       The learning experience will be enriched by appropriate use of E learning
       On line assessment and feedback will be provided as an integral part of both
        student induction and learning
       The provision of a dedicated area on Fronter for all vocational areas and
       All Schemes of work to be available on Fronter
       Learning materials and assignment briefs to be available on Fronter for all
        vocational areas
       Increased access to on line assessments and national tests
       Assistive technology will be available where appropriate to support learner

3.4   Enrichment and Enterprise

      The College plans to develop enterprise and employability skills through
      curriculum development and design and the choice units of learning which
      challenge learners to use the personal, learning and thinking skills valued by
      employers. Achievement of nationally recognised qualifications approved by
      Sector Skills Councils will lead young people to achieve economic well-being.
      The College will expand the strong networks with employers and business
      organisations to support enterprise projects and skills competitions.

3.5   Support for Students
      A wide range of support services will be available to all students to access
      learning, safeguard welfare – including CAF referrals where appropriate, promote
      personal development, health and fitness, and achieve outstanding success rates.
      Key support services will include:

       Advice and guidance (pre programme, on programme, and progression to
        further education/higher education and/or employment)
       Tutorial and mentoring support
       Additional Learning Support
       Counselling and access to specialist support services, eg sexual health clinic
       Financial support
       Access to Childcare

      Additional partnerships will be developed to provide additional services to
      students on site in relation to health and fitness, green travel, employment
      opportunities etc. Services will be extended to support vulnerable learners eg
      looked after children, teenage mothers and young parents.

      HE students will have access to the full range of support services provided
      through University partners.

      The aims are:

       To ensure services are accessible to all learners
       To ensure all students are aware of the full range of services desirable to them
       To provide outstanding support to all students pre enrolment, on programme,
        and to support achievement and progression
       To ensure support services are comprehensive, responsive, well managed and
        ensure equality of opportunity for all learners
       Staff providing support are well qualified in their specialist areas and have
        relevant experience
       The themes of Every Student Matters are integrated into all support services

3.6   Safeguarding Students

      The College will ensure a safe learning environment for all learners, and promote
      the safe learner concept. The College’s Safeguarding Students Policy incorporates
      child protection and the Common Assessment Framework (CAF). Procedures are
      in place to ensure the proper reporting and monitoring of child protection issues
      for young people and vulnerable adults, with a separate risk management
      procedure for vulnerable young people in college.

      The College will work closely with the Darlington Safeguarding Children Board,
      who are represented on the College Safeguarding Students Group and the
      Children’s Services Duty Team. The College has a nominated and trained Child
      Protection Officer, and Deputies, who deal with child protection issues and CAF

      Child protection will continue to be a core CPD activity for all staff.

4     Employer Engagement

      The College has prioritised the development of employer engagement strategies as
      critical to responding to a demand-led system. It is recognised that around 40% of
      the adult budget will be demand-led by 2010 increasing to 100% in the following
      three years.

      In doing this two principle strands are recognised:

       The development of a range of training and business support services tailored to
        meet the needs of employers and
       Increasing the knowledge skills and competences of learners to realise their
        workplace and career potential.

      Eight steps have been identified to support progress in employer engagement:

       The development of a mission that recognised employers as customers
  To reconcile current databases into a single comprehensive capture of employer
   information that logs contract history and activity
  The enhancement of management information systems to provide timely and
   ongoing data on employer engagement, key performance indicators and values
   against targets
  A range of workforce development programmes supporting engagement with
  To develop and implement an effective tracking system of learner performance
   and achievement that highlights progress against milestones
  A flexible policy on the costing and pricing of provision for companies
  A system of regular surveys of employer and learner need and satisfaction that
   is regularly measured for improvement
  A dedicated employer and employee helpline with responsiveness targets and
   contact points

The range of partnerships with employers is extensive and includes:

  Sector engagement groups comprising employers who attend occupationally
   specific seminars
  A complete business service including identification of training needs to
   delivery of programmes
  Professional advice and guidance that is recognised by the Matrix quality
   standard accredited until 2011
  Comprehensive training opportunities including Train to Gain, Work based
   learning, workplace NVQs and full cost training tailored to meet specific
   employer needs
  Close working relationships with brokers, the local authority, the Learning and
   Skills Council, Business Link, various Sector Skills Councils and other
  In 2007/8 the introduction of a dedicated Employer Engagement Directorate
   which includes a professional team of workplace assessors, employer
   engagement advisors and business advisers.

 Aims include:

  Aim One – to embed the employer engagement Directorate within the College
   and raise awareness with employers through a ‘one stop’ business operation

  Aim Two – to improve the communication channels used by employers to make
   contact with the College

  Aim Three – to extend working relationships with key brokerages in order to
   improve provision and meet employer need
       Aim Four – to extend the college’s ability to be responsible to employer needs

       Aim Five – to deliver staff development training designed to improve employer

       Aim Six – to review, develop and improve Quality Assurance processes for
        employer led provision

       Aim Seven – to increase employer engagement activity

Targets for Work Based Learning Provision

Combined LSC Contracts            2007/08        2008/09       2009/10        2010/11
Volumes                            (Actual
Train to Gain (Starts)                   325            400           500            625
Apprenticeships (16-18)                  146            175           225            275
Apprenticeships                            50            75           100            125
Open & Competitive                 unknown        unknown       unknown       unknown

The three year cash income target for Full Cost training:

Full Cost Income                   2007/08          2008/09       2009/10       2010/11
All Areas                          £617,000        £667,000      £750,000       £800,000

5     Partnerships for Learning

5.1   University of Teesside and the University Centre, Darlington
The College has a longstanding partnership with the University of Teesside,
Middlesbrough. The majority of higher education programmes in Darlington are
funded through a franchise agreement between the College and University.
Teacher training courses currently franchised from Huddersfield University and
Sunderland University will be reviewed in line with progress towards co-location
in a new University Centre building with the University of Teesside.

The Higher Education Funding Council for England provided a £2m grant to
support the development of a University Centre within the College’s new campus
in Darlington.

In 2008 the University of Teesside approved the expansion of higher education
provision in Darlington with the development of a new free-standing University
Centre to be developed adjacent to the College campus at Central park. A business
plan will be finalised in 2008.

The current business plan for the development of higher education programmes in
Darlington forecasts the following growth to 2011/2012

Year             Enrolments   Full time equivalents
2008/09                   690                   427
2009/10                   889                   578
2010/11                  1169                   759
2011/12                  1346                   895

The College provides progression to higher level programmes of study through
LSC funded provision and professional courses. Employer sponsored provision
will continue to provide the main focus.

All HE students have access to tutorial and mentoring support, along with access
to the College virtual learning environment and learning resource centre and that
of the partner University.

The College employed a Knowledge Transfer Partnership Associate (KTP) in April
2008 for one year. The College will bid for further KTP opportunities in 2009 and

The University Centre will respond to employer needs identified through One
North East by bidding for Pathfinder and Capacity funding and delivering on
projects in Engineering and Management through projects with the North East
Higher Skills Network.
    Higher education programmes will continue to be reviewed and monitored in
    accordance with Quality Assurance Agency standards and review procedures.
    There will be an Institutional Quality Enhancement Review of provision within the
    2008-2013 review cycle. The College anticipates two developmental reviews and a
    summative review within this period.

6   Quality Strategy and Standards

    Darlington College is committed to providing an outstanding learning experience
    for all students and encouraging staff, learners, employers and stakeholders to
    contribute to the development of excellence, the achievement of Outstanding
    Ofsted and IQER Gradings, and Self Regulation. The College’s aim is to be placed
    in the top 10% of FE Colleges nationally.

    The Quality Strategy sets out objectives and approaches to quality assurance and
    improvement. An annual Quality Calendar details key activities and monitoring.
    Reports on performance are provided to the Executive, Quality and Standards
    Committee, and thereafter presented for Board discussion and approval.

    Following Ofsted/ALI inspection in April 2005 the college has demonstrated year-
    on-year an excellent capacity to improve, with increased success rates at all levels.
    Self assessment is rigorous and comprehensive, and includes business support as
    well as curriculum area Self Assessment Reports (SARs) and Improvement Plans.
    External assessment and peer review will be increased to ensure a robust, and
    rigorous validation process.

       Annual targets are set to include key performance indicators:
       Retention, Achievement and Success Rates
       Value Added Achievements
       Timely Framework Achievements
       Minimum Levels of Performance
       Excellence in Teaching and Learning Observation Grades
       Qualified teaching staff
       Progression and destinations
       Equality and Diversity

    Performance against targets is rigorously monitored on a monthly basis at
    Directorate and Executive Level, and will be supplemented by formal termly
    Performance Reviews for all areas of provision.        Underperforming areas are
    placed ‘under review’, and where there is a trend of underperformance
    programmes are put ‘at risk’. Areas of provision will be withdrawn where, despite
    targeted quality improvement plans, there is no sustained capacity to improve.
      The dissemination of good practice is being promoted through Subject Learning
      Coaches, Teaching and Learning Development Sessions, CPD, Masterclasses, and
      the establishment of a Good Practice site on the College virtual learning

      Teaching and Learning Observations are completed by an external team of
      qualified Ofsted Inspectors/Consultants on an annual basis, and an internal team
      of staff have been trained as observers in specific vocational areas.

      The Learner Voice is given an increasingly high importance, and a Learner
      Involvement Policy is in place. The views of students are elicited through
      questionnaires, student forums with the Principal, student forums with Governors,
      and representation of students on key College Committees, working groups and
      programme teams. The key questions from the Learner Satisfaction Survey are
      integrated into student questionnaires, and the College will participate in the
      initial national student survey in Spring 2009, and annually thereafter. Parental
      consultation and involvement will be increased.

      Employer satisfaction surveys are currently in use, and the College will implement
      the national Employer Satisfaction Survey in Autumn 2008, and annually

6.1   Quality Accreditation and Kitemarks

      The College currently holds Matrix accreditation for advice and guidance services
      for Work Based Learning and UFI Learndirect provision, as well as Investors in
      People, and Customer First. Training Quality Standard applications will be made
      for key areas of provision. Initially these will be for existing CoVE areas
      (Journalism and Media; Hospitality and Catering), and thereafter curriculum areas
      which have substantial employer responsive provision.

6.2   Self Regulation

      The College aims to achieve outstanding Ofsted gradings and Self Regulation
      status. The College judges that there is outstanding capacity to improve,
      evidenced through the Self Assessment process. Ofsted inspection is scheduled for
      academic year 2008/9, and IQER review will commence in 2009/10 for higher
      education provision.

6.3   Framework for Excellence
    Elements of the Framework for Excellence (currently in pilot) will be introduced in
    self assessment 2007/8, with full implementation in the Self Assessment cycle
    2008/9. The College will be issued with its first assessment against the key
    indicators of the Framework for Excellence in Spring 2009. The Framework for
    Excellence will measure the quality and responsiveness of provision for all learners
    and employers (against a four point scale: Outstanding, Good, Satisfactory,
    Inadequate), and the outcomes of assessment will be published.

    Self assessment will be aligned to the following Framework for Excellence
    performance indicators:

     Responsiveness
      To Learners
      To Employers

     Effectiveness
      Quality of Outcomes
      Quality of Provision

     Finance Dimension
      Financial health
      Financial management and control
      Use of resources

7   Equality and Diversity

    Equality of opportunity for learners and staff is central to the mission of the
    college. The college monitors data at college and programme level to inform
    planning, provides comprehensive mandatory staff training in relation to E&D and
    incorporates E&D in lesson planning and tutorials.

    The following strategic priorities have been identified:
     To impact assess college policies, procedures and practices to eliminate any
      opportunity for discrimination on the basis of any one of the 6 strands of
      equality legislation,
     To produce a single equality scheme incorporating the College’s race, disability
      and gender schemes, with an associated action plan,
     To develop an employer focus to equality and diversity
     To strengthen links with the local authority in relation to equality and diversity
      The College has also recognised the importance of establishing equality and
      diversity impact measures to set measures for participation, retention and
      achievement of learners. These are embodied within the College delivery plan.

8     HR Strategy and Continuing Professional Development

      The College employs 490 FTE staff, of which 214 are tutors or learning advisers, 43
      have a management role and 233 have roles supporting the delivery of the

      Staff are currently employed on the following types of contract:

       Full time or fractional full time, full year
       Full time or fractional full time, term time only
       Variable – under which staff work between zero and 100 hours and are paid on
        an hourly basis.

      Within the College delivery plan a key target is to optimise the contribution of all
      staff. A number of strategic aims and objectives for human resources and staff
      development with associated indicators of success reflect the key policy drivers:
      responsiveness, flexibility, skill development and professionalism.

       Aim One – to extend the College’s ability to be responsive to employer needs

       Aim Two – to develop staff to ensure high quality training and development is
        delivered and that students are appropriately safeguarded

       Aim Three – to enhance employee communication, motivation and
        understanding of college objectives

       Aim Four – to maximise the contribution of staff

9     Efficient and Sustainable College

9.1   Accommodation and Resource Strategy

      The College’s Accommodation Strategy has been based on a major new build
      development in Darlington, which rationalised the estate to create two main
      centres at Central Park, Haughton Road Darlington and Linear Park, Catterick
      Garrison. In addition other centres are used on a leased basis to meet demands in
      particular areas.
Both main sites are relatively new, Central Park having opened August 2006, and
Linear Park September 1999. In 2007/08 a planned maintenance programme has
been developed and will be implemented over 2008/09.

The underpinning educational strategy of the capital build programme is to ensure
that specialist vocational accommodation and resources are available to support
high levels of learner recruitment and success.

Key to the continued success of the College is:
 Further development of the Haughton Road centre to provide additional areas
  for student learning and circulation / relaxation. This is embodied in the Phase
  2 capital project, part A of which is to enhance certain aspects of the current
  buildings to provide additional space within the Food Court, and LRC, to
  support the green travel plan through the provision of secure cycle storage and
  to support increased student activities through the development of a multi-
  purpose sports area. Part B of Phase 2 is the development of a new block on the
  site to meet the anticipated growth 64% growth in provision within
  Construction over the next three years.

 The strengthening of the existing partnership with the University of Teesside,
  through their development of an HE centre to be located adjacent to the
  College’s Central Park Centre. The College will work with the University to
  ensure that the development maximises the potential for joint use of services
  and rationalisation of facilities across the two centres.

 Further exploration of the potential for co-location of the certain Garrison
  facilities / services at the College’s Linear Park centre to support good
  partnership working and maximise use of Linear Park.

 Partnership working with the Local Authority and the 14 – 19 Trust in relation
  to the potential development of a specific vocational centre in Darlington to
  meet the learning needs of young people.

 Continued investment in resources to support teaching and learning, including

  o   the 4 year IT replacement policy,
  o   maintenance of the 1:2 PC ratio to staff
  o   maintenance of the 1:5 PC ratio to students
  o   achievement of 100% of full time tutors with a lap top allocated
  o   annual programme of purchase of equipment
        o increase in the number of electronic whiteboards and similar devices
          available in teaching environments.

       The College is committed to Sustainable Development and is working to
       incorporate it within all college policies, practices and action planning. In doing
       so the college will commit to the Green Colleges initiative. The College will work
       to incorporate objectives set out in the LSC Strategy ‘From here to Sustainability’;
       ensure prudent use of resources within college; manage college buildings to high
       environmental standards; work with the local authorities to develop green travel
       plans; work with students to develop sustainability and sustainable work for the
       college and realise opportunities to incorporate sustainability into the delivery of
       teaching and learning.

       The College also supports the Darlington Climate Change strategy and will
       develop an action plan to achieve reductions in carbon emissions.

       Currently developments also include installation of movement sensors attached
       to lights, energy efficient hand-dyers to replace paper towels, and provision of
       extended opportunities for recycling.

9.2   Finance

      As part of the project to develop the Central Park site the College moved from
      Financial Health category A to category C, with a planned return to category A
      over the first three years of occupation of the new site. Within this overall target a
      number of detailed objectives have also been established.

      For a number of years these have covered pay costs as a percentage of income, LSC
      dependency, current ratios and cash days in hand. It has been agreed that for
      future years these will be extended to include:

       Funding per learner – to monitor changes in the rate of funding received
       Premises costs per metre squared – monitor in particular heating and lighting
       Costs per learner – to monitor changes

      In addition to the detailed strategies outlined above and embodied in the financial
      forecasts, the following are the objectives and primary focus for financial planning
      and monitoring over the next three years:

       To improve financial reporting at departmental level, to ensure consistency of
        costs across curriculum areas,
       To achieve funding targets across the difference LSC income streams, and
       To monitor and plan for the cash flow implications of monthly payments based
        on actual employer engagement activity

9.3   Health and Safety

      The following are objectives for health and safety over the next three years:

       To further increase the health and safety awareness of learners to support safer
        working practices,
       To assess the need for and develop as appropriate College procedures in
        support of changes in legislation and national guidelines (for example in
        relation to the power to search learners),
       To maintain a safe environment for learners, staff and other users of the College.

9.4   Risk Strategy

      The comprehensive Risk Management Register is systematically reviewed and
      updated through the Risk Management Group. The Audit Committee receives
      reports from the Risk Management Group and reviews the Register on an annual
      basis. The Chair of the Audit Committee attends meetings of the Risk
      Management Group as an observer.