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One college’s approach to monitoring

26 September 2019

Hot Topic of Subject Blog

by Sam Ayerst

Phil Hall is Deputy Principal for Epping Forest Campus, New City College Group and an experienced Ofsted nominee.

Like many colleges, the embedding of Study Programmes gave Epping a challenge in terms of how to accurately monitor learner progress, and how to measure the impact of any interventions and ultimately improve learner achievement. Phil took the time to tell us how they approached this, how eTrackr-ILP has played a key part in that, and the impact their approach has had on learner achievement.

“Like many colleges, we found we were having conversations with Ofsted around our improvement journey and needed to evidence the impact,” Phil explained. “This came down to three key areas: that we had to identify and action improvements on all elements of Study Programmes; that we needed to drive compliance across the college towards using the same processes and systems and; that we had to provide the evidence for all of this including the impact of the process.

“We had already identified that eTrackr-ILP is a very powerful software tool with enormous functionality so our starting point was to identify exactly what we could use it for to maximise its potential with minimal duplication (if any) across other systems. We identified around eight key areas (including Unit progress, value-added, Work experience, our Induction processes, progress reviews and attendance and punctuality) to focus on.

“Progress Reviews were fundamental to our approach and how we addressed these is indicative of our approach in other areas too; essentially, that preparation is key. Firstly, we agreed the timetable for frequency of Reviews across the college and revised the timings of any assessments in order to fall in with this, on order that our Progress Review data would be as up to date as it needed to be. Then we ensured that all the Unit tracking was correctly set-up, so that progress against expected targets would be accurate. Clearly there was also a ‘hearts and minds’ exercise to be done with staff as well to ensure they were using eTrackr and I’d say it probably took us the first year to fully embed it.

“Now, eTrackr-ILP is our gradebook. No one has local spreadsheets and we have built eTrackr-ILP reports into our Quality Calendar so we all know what will be reported on, when. This now enables us to triangulate accurate progress data with attendance data in order to make timely interventions, and then demonstrate the impact of those interventions in future Reviews. We can also share this data with parents through the portal, so they are seeing accurate progress data. The ease of accessing data has also helped to drive an ownership of Study Programmes amongst our vocational tutors.”

As headline sponsor of the AoC Data Conference on 1st October, we are delighted to confirm that Phil will be our guest speaker there. We will be hosting a breakout session, led by Phil, where he will be sharing even more of his experiences and advice on monitoring Study Programmes.