A new kind of support from the Policy Consortium


We’ve recently added a fresh category to our website: ‘Other resources’.

This further section holds new kinds of materials that are unlike our more usual sort of comment and analysis articles, which give our perspectives on current news and issues. These different resources within the new menu can be put to immediate practical use by many colleagues around the FE sector, if they wish, in their everyday work.

The first item in this new section, published in late May, compiles a series of our pieces (published in various parts of the education media over a period of several months) about FE inspection and improvement into one hot-linked summary. We’ll produce more such thematically-linked guides to long-running key topics for the sector over the following months, and alert our subscribers when they appear.

The latest addition to the ‘Other resources’ sub-section is even more different in its purpose, nature and format. It offers organisations such as colleges and independent training providers (and their senior leader and middle-managers, in particular) an interactive tool for assessing the  adequacy and sufficiency of their current offer to learners on the matters of employability skills, responsiveness to local labour market needs and links with Local Economic Partnerships (LEPs). It uses some approaches familiar from the current Ofsted Common Inspection Framework for FE and Skills.

It doesn’t offer solutions, but helps providers self-evaluate and rate their present situation, to articulate the reasons for their judgements, and to consider what actions might need to follow — with what they feel are the appropriate levels of priority and resourcing.

The tool has already been helpfully scrutinised and tested by a number of staff in managerial roles amongst a variety of provider organisations, and revised in response to their thoughtful feedback.

You are invited to download the tool — which is in Microsoft Excel spreadsheet form — to use as you see fit. This could be for purposes such as general curriculum review and development, staff development, strategic planning, preparation towards inspection, and so on.

Those who make use of the tool are invited to respond to us in due course in any or all of three ways:

  1. general feedback on the tool and how they feel it works in real ‘front-line’ practice, to help us refine and improve  it still further;
  2. to send us their scores on the tool’s self-assessment activities, for fully-anonymous aggregation with other results to begin to generate some rough bench-marking (with the promise of a response as and when we have sufficient data to allow substantive comparisons);
  3. and/or, to request our help as consultants on the sort of practical steps that could help improve their provision in these regards, through design, delivery and so on (this service would involve negotiated fees — unlike the free offer of the tool at this stage, or the supply of bench-marking comparisons in return, as mentioned in no. 2, above).

This new Policy Consortium targeted self-assessment and quality improvement tool can be found HERE, in that new ‘Other resources’ section of our website.


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