Shrewsbury Colleges Group
Group Minutes of Quality, Standards & Curriculum Committee
Date 20th March 23
Time 5.34 p.m.
Minutes Membership In attendance by electronic device and contributing towards the meeting quorum, in accordance with Instrument 12. (Members may count towards the quorum if they are able to be present by electronic or digital communication (including attendance by video conferencing or telephone conferencing).

Dr J. Barratt, A Benghiat, A Hodson, A. Caesar- Homden, D. Jones, R. Harrison, J. Sharrock (Chair) and R. Wilson (ex-officio, Chair of the Board).
In Attendance Members of the Senior Leadership Team:
C. Armstrong, Vice Principal, Students & Partnerships (VP, S&P)
M. Brown, Vice Principal, Quality, Apprenticeships & Information (VP, Q,A & I)
M. Laws, Vice Principal, Technical & Vocational Education (VP, T&VE)
S. McAlinden, Assistant Principal, Curriculum Support (AP, CS)
D. Rugman, Director of Quality, Teaching & Learning Enhancement (DoQ,T & LE)
C. Sears, Vice Principal, A Levels (VP, ALs)

T. Cottee, Clerk to the Board
Apologies B. Wilson.

12/23. Declarations of Interest


13/23. Minutes – 23 January 2023 (Appendix – Agenda Item 3)

Resolved: That the Minutes of the meeting held on 23 January 2023, were approved as a true record.

Minute Number 06/23 – The Development of the College’s Higher Education Offer

To provide an update to the Committee’s request to name the Higher Technical Qualifications the college would offer under its revised HE Strategy, the VP, T&VE reported that, from September 2023, the college would offer its first Higher Technical Qualifications (HTQ) in Construction and Computing. The college would continue to work closely with Awarding Bodies to ensure staff fully understood the curriculum changes made to sector specific HTQs and Curriculum Leaders would identify subject streams as part of provision planning for 2023 – 24.

14/23. College Draft Self-Assessment Report 2021 - 2022 (Appendix, Agenda Item 4)

The VP, Q,A & I presented the College Draft Self-Assessment Report (SAR) (previously circulated) for review by the Committee prior to recommendation to the Full Board.

He explained that:

      • Whilst the Draft SAR still reflected OFSTED’s framework, the document represented a significant shift from previous versions in terms of both presentation and context, to make the document more focussed and clearer on key achievements and key areas of focus going forward.
      • The key areas of focus had been transferred directly over to the Quality Enhancement Plan.
      • The content and design of the SAR would continue to evolve going forward.

The Committee reviewed the Quality Enhancement Plan (QuEP) in tandem with the Draft SAR. The VP, Q,A & I assured the Committee that projects in the QuEP were now in progress and it would, going forward, start to see evidence of progress against expected targets.

In response to questions –

      • The DoQ,T & LE explained how the college followed up on unfavourable student voice survey responses, to ensure the college both understood the reasoning behind these responses and to identify areas for improvement planning going forward. Returns data was scanned for any discernible trends, particularly across students with protected characteristics and with respect to safeguarding, and actions transferred into curriculum action planning.
      • The VP, Q,A & I explained that going forward, the college would make a more conscious effort to record the multiple examples of best practice and excellence throughout the college.
      • The college was looking to expand students’ involvement in competitions, such as World Skills.
      • The VP, Q,A & I confirmed that he was in ongoing discussions with the Clerk on how to present strategic information to the Committee in a Dashboard.

The Committee suggested minor format changes, such as the addition of a key to appendices and the inclusion of the college’s strategic objectives.

The Committee commended the format and content of the Draft SAR and was assured that it reflected accurately the college’s self-assessed position regarding Curriculum intent and Leadership & Management.

Resolved: That the Draft College Self-Assessment Report 2021 2022, BE RECOMMENDED TO BOARD

Action: Clerk – item to Board

15/23. Quality Enhancement Plan (QuEP) – Progress Update (Appendix – Agenda Item 6)

The Committee reviewed the QuEP in tandem with the Draft SAR (previously circulated).

In response to questions –

  • The VP, Q,A & I explained that priority projects had been highlighted at the request of the Board Chair.
  • The VP, S&P explained how the college worked with schools to prepare prospective students for college life and how the college worked with schools to support effective transition. She explained that, following a challenging period in 2021, when, due to the Covid 19 pandemic, the college had been unable to visit schools, this year, schools had increased their engagement, and some were working actively with the college to provide pre-enrolment opportunities for their students to attend the college. The college had also made changes to the Admissions Team and transition arrangements and had invested in initial assessment to identify and support students’ progression and engagement.

The Committee agreed that it would wish to see an updated QuEP at its next meeting, evidenced to show progression against expected targets.

16/23. Progress Grade 2 Reports – Academic & Vocational (Appendices – Agenda Item 5a & b)

Academic & Vocational Art Provision

The VP, ALs presented an overview of the risks associated with outcomes with respect to students completing this year (previously circulated).

      • Year 2 mock exams were held in January 2023. Following analysis of the mock results subject teams had:
        • made further referrals for assessments regarding extra time or other access arrangements.
        • referred some individuals to work with learning mentors.
        • issued subject action plans or subject contracts to focus on catch-up work or improvements in attendance at lessons and subject support workshops.
      • The Academic Leadership Team (ALT) also had a focus on revision; teams had been asked to find ways to make revision more structured and visible for students, and to make students accountable for the work being done.
      • Students were currently having 1-2-1 meetings with their tutors to review and set overall targets for their programme based on their subject grades and targets discussed in subject lessons.
      • The EH/WB Team was providing workshops focussing on exam anxiety. Additionally, the FIKA mental health app contained modules on exam stress and the college offered a helpline service which students could access for support.

The Committee noted the following key actions:

      • attendance intervention letters & tutorial follow-up
      • action planning in tutorial conversations
      • subject action plans and contracts
      • guided study sessions with learning mentors
      • provision of extra subject workshops in larger subject areas
      • resetting of expectations (SCG30)
      • change and development of staffing in some areas
      • planning for industrial action to include as much cover as is feasible or with work set and supervised
      • reviewing timetable pattern for teachers to replace lost teaching time where feasible
      • planning for:
        • additional supervised revision sessions for targeted students
        • advice letter to go from Principal/CEO to parents & students regarding preparation for external exams
        • mentoring interviews for targeted students with Curriculum Directors and VP, ALs.

The Committee acknowledged the work being undertaken to support the achievement of good or better outcomes; however, external factors, such as train strikes and cancellation of bus routes had impacted on attendance and ongoing industrial action on certain subject groups’ teaching and learning. The college had put in place additional support with travel arrangements wherever possible and fewer staff had participated in the industrial action.

Several governors had recently undertaken a learning walk on academic provision at the Welsh Bridge Campus. Unfortunately, due to the inclement weather experienced on that day, the Walk had not been fully completed. The VP, ALs confirmed that the walk would be rescheduled for later in the summer term.


The VP, V&TE presented an overview of the risks associated with outcomes with respect to on students completing this year (previously circulated).

      • The college had entered students for the November 2022 GCSE examination window. By considering carefully which students were best prepared for the examination, the college had achieved an additional 113 Grade 4 or above achievements.
      • The teaching team was working to support the remaining students for their 2023 examinations.
      • 66% of eligible students had made a UCAS application; others were considering going into employment or studying an Apprenticeship.

The Committee noted the following key actions:

      • Effective use of Progression Specialists to support GCSE tutors in monitoring attendance and providing support for students.
      • Early intervention in identifying ‘at-risk’ students and implementing appropriate strategies to enhance progress.
      • Working flexibly to meet the needs of identified students within GCSE classes.
      • Actively participating in GCSE Team Meetings discussing student progress and needs.
      • Use of Data Performance Tools to monitor and analyse progress grades to maximise Progress Grade 3.

The Committee commended the strong November GCSE 2022 performance and noted the impact of the Progression Specialists on GCSE classroom support. The Committee noted that High Grades were currently under predicted expectations and requested an update for Progress Grade 3.

17/23. Safeguarding and Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Report (Appendix, Agenda Item 6)

At the request of the Safeguarding Link Governor and further to Mn No. 47/22, the VP, S&P provided an update on the impact of the Student Assistance Programme contract negotiated by the college to enable all full-time students to access support or referral services over the Christmas period. Due to the positive impact of the initiative and how students were accessing the facility, the college, through funding provided by the Radbrook Foundation, had extended the contract for the rest of the academic year and the college was expecting a quarterly monitoring report at the end of the month.

The Committee noted the increase in the number of safeguarding entries on the college’s monitoring system. In response to questions, the VP explained that the reasons behind the increase were complex, and each case represented a significant investment in time and resources for the Safeguarding Team. The local authority was engaging more proactively with the college and as a result, the college had seen an increase in self-referrals and requests for support which, whilst positive in terms of being able to identify and support students, did have an impact on the Team’s workload, which was increasing in both volume and complexity. The senior leadership was currently reviewing safeguarding resources as part of provision planning for 2023/24.

18/23. Additional Activities in Technical And Vocational (Appendices, Agenda Item 8)

Further to Committee Min. No. 7/23, the VP, T&VE presented a verbal report on the progress and developments made on to implement the college’s T-Level provision in readiness for September 2023.

T Levels: Specialist Equipment Allowance

The Department for Education continued to commit to supporting providers across the country in their delivery of T-Levels investing an allocation of ‘Specialist Equipment Allowance’ (SEA). To support the implementation of the college’s T-Level programmes of study from September 2023, the college had received its Allocation as part of the T Level Capital Fund (TLCF) to be used for the purchase of specialist equipment to support T Level delivery. The college was delighted to have received a generous allocation to provide sector-specific equipment to support the teaching, learning and assessment of the T-Level programme. In response to a question, the VP explained that the college has been allocated the Specialist Equipment Allowance which was an investment based on projected enrolment numbers. This investment was to support the college to acquire the equipment needed to ensure T-Level students were able to develop their skills using industry relevant equipment and facilities. The SEA was required to be spent by December 2023 and was not at risk of any clawback. However, that full funding was provided for the college’s projected numbers, if delivered to 80% and above. Failing to do so would impact funding per head. He assured the Committee he was confident that the college would enrol to the student numbers predicted.

Government Announcement – Delay in T Level Provision

The government had recently announced a delay in the introduction of several T levels from September 2023. The VP provided assurance that did not impact the college's planned provision.

19/23. Apprenticeships (Appendix, Agenda Item 7)

The Committee considered a report (previously circulated) setting out the latest position.

      • Recruitment for 2022/23, was close to the January 2023 target, with over-recruitment in some high-value apprenticeships.
      • Curriculum Planning for the next academic year had commenced.
      • Current projections suggested the overall achievement rate would improve by 15.6% on last year, because the impact of the pandemic had subsided.
      • Previous risks regarding End Point Assessment (EPA) scheduling had been mitigated by longer term planning of EPA windows, and fewer apprentices needing to complete EPA in July 2023. However, achievement at this stage for the Trades Union Official programme remained challenging. In response to a question on how the college was mitigating this risk, the VP explained that three assessors and a dedicated marker in place for support and feedback, to improve progress.

20/23. Higher Education Update (Appendix, Agenda Item 9)

The Committee considered a report (previously circulated) setting out the latest position.

      • From September 2023, the college would offer its first Higher Technical Qualifications (HTQ) in Construction and Computing.
      • The college had participated in the National Student Survey (NSS). The college’s 2021/22 return had been above the sector average. Albeit from a very small eligible cohort, the data had provided valuable information to assist in improvement planning. The 22/23 Survey was underway and the college would conduct an in-depth analysis of the results once published.
      • The OfS had opened consultation with Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) on changes to the compliance with its Harassment & Sexual Violation policies. The VP outlined the college’s arrangements for compliance with the current policies and that the reporting and support mechanisms in place with the college should there be a complaint about harassment or sexual violation had been assessed as fit for purpose by staff and students. Nevertheless, the college would abide by any changes made as a result of the consultation to ensure that all internal policies and procedures were compliant with OfS requirements and expectations.
      • The college has been allocated funding by the OfS to support Higher Education students with hardship issues. As funds remained, eligible students would be invited to make further applications.
      • The Higher Education Graduation Day would take place on 7 July 2023.

21/23. Student Voice (Appendices, Agenda Item 11)

Spring Forum Responses

The DoQ,T & LE presented a report (previously circulated) presenting the outcome of the Spring Student Voice Forums and the actions being taken by the college as a result of feedback received.

Student Voice Update

The Committee had been circulated with a report (previously circulated) setting out the current position of Student Voice activities across the three campuses, including reports from each of the Campus Student Executive Presidents.

22/23. Risk

The Committee considered the strategic risks relevant to its remit and agreed that they had been discussed within the meeting.

23/23. Date of Next Meeting – 03 July 2023 – venue to be confirmed.

The meeting concluded at 7.17 p.m.