Shrewsbury Colleges Group
Group Minutes of Quality, Standards & Curriculum Committee
Date 4th July 22
Time 5.30 p.m.
Minutes Membership A. Benghiat (H.E. Link Governor), H. Hawksworth (Academic Staff Governor, LR Campus), J. Rowe (E&D Link Governor), J. Sharrock (Safeguarding Link Governor) (Chair), R. Wilson (ex-officio, Chair of the Board) and L. Wright (Parent Governor).
In Attendance Members of the Senior Leadership Team:
C. Armstrong, Group Vice Principal - Curriculum Support and Business Development (GVP – CS&BD)
M. Brown, Group Vice Principal, Quality, Apprenticeships & Information (GVP – Q,A & I)
M. Laws, Group Vice Principal, Technical & Vocational Education (GVP – T&VE)
D. Rugman – Director of Quality, Teaching & Learning Enhancement (DoQ,T & LE)
C. Sears, Vice Principal, A Level (VP, ALs) and
Clerk to the Board – T. Cottee

For Minute Number 28/22 –
S. Croxon – Safeguarding Manager and LAYP Designated Teacher
J. Broomhall – Looked After Young People (LAYP) Progression Specialist
Apologies Dr J. Barratt (Parent Governor), A. Creighton (HE Student Governor), S. McAlinden, Director, Curriculum Support (D, CS), E. Rees (16 – 19 Student Governor)

26/22. Declarations of Interest

It was noted that J. Rowe had declared on the Register of Interest that he had a child at the college and had understood when it was appropriate to declare this interest.

27/22. Minutes – 21 March 2022 (Appendix – Agenda Item 4)

Resolved: That the Minutes of the meeting held on 21 March 2022, were approved as a true record.

28/22. Matters Arising

The Chair sought assurance that all actions from the previous meeting were either on the agenda for the meeting, were being actioned or programmed on the Committee Work Plan. This was confirmed.

The Chair also thanked officers for revising the report format in accordance with the Committee’s requirements. The inclusion of the relevant risks and links to the college’s Strategic Objectives was welcomed, as it would focus discussion going forward.

29/22. Governor Development Briefing – Looked After Young People

As requested by the Committee, S. Croxon and J. Broomhall attended the meeting to provide a development briefing on the college’s arrangements for supporting students designated as Looked After Young People (LAYP).

The Committee re

      • The definition of a student designated as LAYP and the reasons why the student may be designated as looked after. The college had chosen to identify eligible students as ‘young people’, as opposed to the statutory description of ‘children’, following student feedback.
      • The difference between ‘looked after’ and ‘care leaver’ (a child stopped being ‘looked-after’ when they turned 18, or were adopted).
      • The college’s arrangements to support its LAYP and care leavers, including the role of The Designated Teacher and the college’s positive relationships with the Post-16 Education Advisors at Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin councils.
      • The complex emotional and mental health needs of some LAYP, leaving them vulnerable to further abuse. In addition, they may present challenging behaviour and difficulties with forming secure relationships and were more likely to be at greater risk of abuse, grooming and exploitation.
      • The college had chosen to invest in additional resources and recruit a LAYP Progression Specialist to support this cohort, as research suggested that children in care could have poorer outcomes in respect of educational achievement, due to disrupted learning and education, in addition to other areas of their lives. The Committee was pleased to see that, as a direct result of this and the clear commitment of the staff to secure the best possible outcomes, key indicators including Retention, Meeting Target Grade and Attendance had improved for this cohort.

In response to a question on what arrangements the college had in place to support this cohort to engage in wider enrichment opportunities, the Progression Specialist explained that part of her role was to build the confidence of these students. As a result of her work, for the first time, three LAYP had secured a place onto the college’s ERASMUS trip. The college would build on this success, to ensure this cohort had the opportunity to attend progression events, university open days and career days. The cohort was very keen not to be treated ‘differently’ and whilst the college’s expectations regarding involvement in student enrichment and engagement were set out clearly at student induction; the Progression Specialist additionally worked on a one-to-one with this cohort to build confidence and encourage them to seek out enrichment opportunities.

The Committee Chair thanked the staff for attending and praised the evident pride and commitment shown by them.

S. Croxon and J. Broomhall left the meeting

30/22. Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) 2021 – 2022 (Appendix – Agenda item 5)

The Committee reviewed progress against achievement targets in the Quality Enhancement Plan (previously circulated). The QEP format had been revised to improve the assurance information given to the Committee and to provide more opportunity to discuss and challenge progress against targets set. The actions considered to be the highest priority were now highlighted. Some target dates had been revised and it was intended that the Committee reviewed progress regularly going forward.

The Committee sought information and assurance on -

    • SKE02 – Parental Feedback – it was confirmed that the parent survey would be circulated to target timescales. The college was looking to improve further its existing stakeholder communication channels, using HubSpot and integrate with the student communication channel, MyDay.
    • SED06 – staff recognition – the target achievement date had been amended so the outcomes of the staff survey currently being circulated could be incorporated.
    • TLO2 – assessment practices – in response to a question as to whether the target date was achievable, the GVP, Q, A & I agreed that this date may need to be revised, to include the time to measure and evaluate the impact of actions taken.
    • TLO6 – embedded English & maths – in response to a question on how the impact on apprentices would be measured, the GVP explained that, using OFSTED feedback, existing systems to develop English and maths skills beyond base requirements had been refined. PPR (observations) would also be used to validate that changes made had been effective.
    • SAE04 – wider personal and professional skills – the GVP confirmed that the achievement target referred to 10% of all students and the challenge would be securing engagement from adult learners. The recent SPOC Survey demonstrated that a different strategy was needed to incentive them to engage in providing feedback, particularly as many adult learners participated in short courses, remote from the college.

The Committee agreed that the Plan form the ‘core’ of the Committee’s Workplan going forward, with highest priority actions providing topics for more in-depth discussion and that reports on the progress against the Plan be reported back to the Committee.

31/22. Safeguarding & E&D Link Governor – Verbal Reports

The E&D Link Governor would commence a programme of engagement in the new academic year. The Board Chair provided a verbal update on the STAR Awards, sponsored by the E&D Committee. The Awards recognised 26 nominees from across the college and it had been a positive and well-received event.

The Safeguarding Link Governor had met with the GVP, CS&BD and D, CS this Term, and had received an update on safeguarding arrangements over the easter holidays; the Team had been busy. The revised Safeguarding Committee meetings were working well, with a wider representation attending from across all campuses. She was now attending Governor Learning Walks rather than undertaking individual Walks, to seek assurance on the continued effectiveness of the college’s safeguarding arrangements. She would undertake a review of the college’s Single Central Record on 06 July 2022 and report the outcome to the Board on 11 July 2022.

The GVP, CS&BD provided a verbal update on the outcome of the invacuation event on that had recently taken place at the College. There had been a review of the college’s invacuation procedure following the incident. The event had impacted some staff and students who were now being supported by the college. The GVP had followed up every ‘not felt safe’ response in the recent SPOC. The Safeguarding Link Governor commented that, from an external perspective, the incident had been well managed by the college.

In response to a question, the Clerk to the Board advised that the latest version of ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSiE) would come into effect on 01 September 2022, and confirmed that, as in 2021, all governors would be expected to participate in the mandatory development provided by the college.

32/22. Student Voice - Student Forum Action Plan and Induction SPOC Action Plan (Appendices – Agenda items 7a and 7b)

The Committee reviewed progress against the Action Plans (previously circulated) and was pleased to see progress and completion of actions to expected target dates.

In response to a question from the Committee Chair, the GVP, CS&BD confirmed that the college had programmed a series of tutorials on equality & diversity, with a focus on protected characteristics. Following student feedback, the D, SC was working with students to further improve these tutorial resources and delivery going into September 2022. The Committee requested sight of the 2022 – 2023 Tutorial Programme, once finalised.

33/22. Academic Provision Progress and Vocational Quality Reviews Period 2 (Confidential Appendices – Agenda items 8a and 8b)

The Committee reviewed the Academic and Vocational Provision Progress Reports (previously circulated), which provided an overview of the risks associated with outcomes this year and the current position for year 12 students following April assessments and Progress Grade 3 discussions in early June.

The Committee discussed the key risks for this year, which included lower retention and lower attendance due to covid disruption will would impact achievement rates and impact outcomes. High target grades (based on CAG GCSEs) set against a lower profile of A level exam grades as announced by Ofqual were also likely to lead to lower value-added outcomes for the academic cohort.

In seeking assurance on the actions being taken to mitigate these risks, the VP, ALs described -

      • 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 for next year (the ‘SCG30’ Plan)
      • restart interviews and offers for some students with associated contracts
      • early monitoring, change and development of staffing in some areas.

The VP, ALs further explained the work being undertaken to reset students’ and parents’ understanding of the college’s expectations based on the 30 hours a week programme of academic study, starting at parents’ evenings and stressed throughout student summer preparation, enrolment and induction. However, managing expectations would remain a challenge in the longer-term as the impact of extended periods of remote working had affected a range of year groups that would feed into the college over the next few years.

The GVP, T&VE explained that the college recognised that all students had faced significant disruption to their education for over two years and most provision areas had experienced significant changes in behaviour and attitude from some students as a result. The college had therefore pro-actively invested significant resources to support student attendance and engagement, learning and psychological safety to secure the expected progress grades.

In seeking assurance on the actions being taken to mitigate these risks, the GVP explained that the college was –

      • setting aspirational targets
      • providing additional learning support
      • effectively using Progression Specialists
      • effectively using data performance tools.

Through rigorous monitoring and quality review, the college was aware of areas to improve further and had in place a programme of intervention and support through the Director of Quality, Teaching & Learning Enhancement.

In response to a question, the GVP, CS&BD explained the college’s arrangements for advising students of exams results. The college had put in place ‘triage’ arrangements to support students after receiving their results. The Safeguarding Link Governor suggested that those students already identified as vulnerable from a safeguarding perspective, be proactively supported, as there could be a degree of nervousness at taking exams, as results may not be as expected. The VP, ALs observed that some universities had encouraged last year’s students (who may have achieved higher grades from TAGS) to defer until this year, which may lead to greater competition and this year’s students not gaining a place at their university place of first choice.

The Committee commended the revised report formats and concluded that they provided clear evidence that the college was aware of and understood the relevant risks and was realistic about the challenges in supporting students to prepare for and take exams, particularly the challenge of managing students’ expectations of exam outcomes.

The GVP – T&VE and VP, ALs left the meeting at this point.

34/22. Apprenticeships (Confidential Appendix – Agenda Item 9)

The GVP – QA & I presented a report on the College’s apprenticeship provision (previously circulated).

The Committee reviewed the following key issues -

      • Recruitment – the college was ahead of expected targets.
      • The funding position remained above budget.
      • Staffing and changes to the management structure.
      • Achievements rates were likely to exceed 2020/21’s performance but still would not achieve expected targets, due to external challenges.
      • The college had been successful in retaining registration of the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers, so could continue to offer apprenticeships.

In response to a question on the mitigating actions being taken, the GVP explained that all assessors had received clear direction that all apprentices with a planned end date in this academic year must be completed. The college continued to be affected by the national lack of capacity to complete End Pont Assessments, which would affect achievement rates; however, the college was supporting apprentices to End Point Assessment, including sending them to Assessment Centres in the West Midlands, where possible.

35/22. Higher Education Spring Consultative Report (Appendix – Agenda Item 10a)

The Committee reviewed the latest Higher Education Student Consultation project (previously circulated).

The Committee commended the revised presentation of the consultation outcomes, which clearly showed the results of the consultations and the impact of actions taken in response to student feedback.

36/22. Higher Education Quality Improvement Plan (Appendix – Agenda Item 10b)

The Committee reviewed the latest Higher Education Quality Improvement Plan (previously circulated). From September, a new Improvement Plan would be created, amalgamating the new Access & Participation Plan targets and actions from the HE Self-Assessment Reports.

In response to a question, the GVP, QA & I described the college’s arrangements to ensure all higher education students had access to I.T. He also took the opportunity to explain the changes in management of higher education provision since the arrival of the GVP, T&VE.

37/22. Draft Higher Education Access & Participation Plan

The Committee reviewed the Draft Higher Education Access & Participation Plan (A&PP) 2022/23 – 2026/27 (previously circulated). The Draft had been reviewed by the HE Link Governor as part of his most recent assurance visit and it was awaiting approval by the Office for Students (OfS).

The GVP, QA&I reported that the OfS had now submitted comments on the Draft and had given a deadline of 07 July, to respond and officers were meeting to address these comments. The current A&PP had been recently reviewed by the OfS and confirmed that it met requirements.

38/22. How to Develop the Committee

Draft Terms of Reference

With the recent change in Committee Chair and ongoing changes to the management of quality at the college, the Committee at its last meeting (Q,S & C Min. No. 24/22 refers), had reviewed the current Terms of Reference and discussed how it wished to work going forward.

The Committee had concluded that, as it had a wide remit –

      • the Quality Enhancement Plan would provide the ‘core’ of the Work Plan going forward.
      • in addition to receiving assurance and compliance reports, the majority of meetings would take the opportunity to discuss in more depth specific issues in the Quality Plan, to develop critical thinking and reading.

The Committee reviewed a revised Draft Terms of Reference (previously circulated) and AGREED that the Terms be submitted to Board for approval as part of the annual cycle in the new Academic Year.

Committee Evaluation
The Committee Chair encouraged all committee members to complete the evaluation, which would inform development and improvements going forward.

39/22. Risk

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

40/22. Date of Next Meeting – 26 September 2022 – to be confirmed.

The meeting concluded at 7.13 p.m.