Shrewsbury Colleges Group
Group Minutes of Quality, Standards & Curriculum Committee
Date 8th April 19
Time 5.30 p.m.
Minutes Membership Andy Allen, Christine Davies, Gordon Channon (ex-officio, Chair of the Board), Christina Gore, Josh Harry, Nigel Merchant, Kari Quant and Mike Willmot (HE Lead Governor). Student Governors by invitation – Meg Chandler and Mitch Neale.
In Attendance Members of the Senior Leadership Team:
Catherine Armstrong, Group Vice Principal - Curriculum Support and Business Development (GVP – CS&BD)
Paul Morgan, Director of A Level Studies (DoALS);
Chris Pemberton, Group Vice-Principal, Quality and Curriculum Management (GVP – Q&CM); and
Clerk to the Board - Tracy Cottee
Val Maddox, Apprenticeship Manager - present for Minute Number 17/19:
The following governors were present for Minute Number 17/19:
Iain Gilmour, David Pulford
The following governors were present at the meeting as observers:
Helen Hawksworth, Rex Sartain and Roger Wilson.
Apologies Meg Chandler.

14/19. Declarations of Interest

A. Allen declared an interest as an employee of Harper Adams University.

15/19. Minutes – 28 January 2019

Resolved: That the Minutes of the meeting held on 28 January 2019, were approved and signed as a true record.

16/19. Matters Arising


17/19. Apprenticeships (Appendix No. 5)

The GVP – CS&BD gave a presentation on apprenticeship provision, specifically, the impact of recent developments on the College’s provision and quality systems.

The presentation included an explanation of the College’s Apprenticeship Team, what comprised an apprenticeship, the framework and standards arrangements, the apprenticeship ‘journey’ and the range of apprenticeship provision offered at the College and how this was delivered.

The Committee was advised of the challenges presented in delivering high-quality apprenticeship provision and how the College’s arrangements met those challenges, for example –

    • Introducing ‘block study’ arrangements for functional skills, to improve achievement rates and student experience. To date, achievements rates in this area were improving;
    • The College had introduced a new employers review service, to encourage open feedback and provide robust quality review;
    • Introducing an ‘electronic portfolio’ for each apprentice, to meet the requirement to evidence that at least 20% of the apprenticeship was employer based;
    • Monitoring progress through Smart Assessor, including using ‘milestones’ to track progress; and
    • Expanding College support to apprentices facing challenges;
    • The role of the assessors in underpinning the apprenticeship with Safeguarding, Prevent and embedding British Values.

The Committee acknowledged that College apprenticeship provision needed to improve with respect to timeliness and was informed of the Apprenticeship Quality Improvement Plan which included actions to standardise quality processes, build skills within the Team and improve monitoring arrangements.

The Committee also considered an update (previously circulated) of the College’s and sub-contracted apprenticeship provision with respect to enrolment and achievement.

  • The 2018 – 2019 Achievement Target was 75%. Predictions were – Achievement 77% and Timely 68%;
  • Enrolment Summary;
  • Attendance - Currently at 90.1% - an increase of 8.8%;
  • The College’s Apprenticeship Provision Partner had undertaken observations of the Employers Review, with useful feedback highlighting areas for development;
  • Observations of assessors planned for May 2019;
  • Employer survey being undertaken after the Employers Review;
  • Second round of Health Checks taking place where reviews of performance were taking place.

18/19. Quality Improvement Plan 20018 – 2019 (Appendix No. 6)

The Committee reviewed the March 2019 Update of the College’s Quality Improvement Plan (QuIP) (previously circulated).

The GVP – Q&C reported that the QuIP had been reformatted to link each improvement action with one of the four judgements in the current OFSTED Common Inspection Framework.

The Committee commented on the high level of attendance and the improved GCSE and Functional Skills results. The GVP commended the Team and their A Level colleagues for their high level of commitment to improving teaching practice and supporting students to achieve.

19/19. Higher Education Update (Appendix No. 7)

HE Quality Improvement Plan

The Committee reviewed the latest update of the HE Quality Improvement Plan (QuIP) (previously circulated). The Committee received a verbal update on the College’s ongoing efforts to meet the challenges of plagiarism.

20/19. Student Induction Survey Autumn 2018 (Appendix No. 8)

As requested by the Committee (Min. No. 07/19 refers), the Committee considered a follow-up summary on the Induction Satisfaction Survey of academic and vocational learners.

21/19. Student Voice 2018/19 – March Update (Appendix No. 9)

The Committee reviewed an update report on the College’s Student Voice activities (previously circulated), including verbal reports from the student governors.

The Committee was advised that the Student Union Executive (S.U.E.) continued to make good progress in the academic year, ably supported by Agency staff.

The Committee received an update on some of the key achievements, planned activities during the remainder of the academic year and the Student Union Executive election results and vacant posts for 2019 - 2020.

The Committee Chair advised that the Principal/CEO had attended Student Union Executive meetings at all three campuses and had held open Q&A style meetings which were welcomed by SUE members in attendance. SUE members had raised a number of issues including timetabling, social spaces, mental health services, estates and tutorial, some of which were answered during the sessions and others which were taken away by for further consideration.

Charity and Events Ambassadors had worked closely with the SCG Charity Committee to timetable their fundraisers for the students’ chosen charity this year, Shropshire Mind and would hold fundraisers in March and April and at the end of year events at each campus. To further support the chosen Charity, forthcoming events included two weeks of fundraising for Shropshire Mind which would include mindfulness sessions, “Tea and Chat” and relaxation activities to help reduce stress and anxiety over all three campuses week commencing 7 May 2019. If successful, this initiative could become a regular event. As a follow on from these activities, SUE Officers would visit Shropshire Mind to talk about their fundraisers.

The nomination process for the new Student Union Executive 2019 – 2020, had concluded and there would be a transition period so that the new SUE team could start after Easter, enabling the current team to focus on their exams. Part of the transition work would include establishing a SUE Constitution reflecting the views of both current and future SUE teams.

The Clerk reported that a Nominee to the role of 16 -18 cohort Student Governor had been secured and thanked Lorraine Burrage for her support.

Whilst achievements to improve student voice in the College were acknowledged, challenges remained to ensure apprentices and work-based students were able to participate and the College was also working to further develop representation for High Need students.

22/19. Equality and Diversity Committee – Lead Governor Report (Appendix No. 10)

The E&D Link Governor presented a report (previously circulated).

    • Equality Essentials Module – completion for all staff = 74% with arrangements to accommodate cleaning staff across the threes ongoing. he Lead Governor had suggested that mandatory training modules could be included in either Induction or before induction;

The Lead Governor had met with the E&D Committee Chair and had attended the E&D Committee meeting on 04 April 2019, at which the following were considered -

    • An Embedding British Values ‘talking heads’ video featuring College students had been launched;
    • The College STAR Awards, to recognise students who had overcome adversity would take place on 27 June 2019 – nominations would come from across the College’s provision;
    • Staffordshire University would fund dyslexia assessments for eligible higher education students;
    • The E&D Committee had reviewed the College’s Achievement data relative to the profile of students and demographics. Whilst Achievement data was strong there were some gaps and the Committee had asked for more information before exploring early interventions. The Committee has also suggested a focus group be created, to focus initially on Admissions, Application Processes & Understanding the data.
    • The Committee Chair had attended a Christine Rose Ofsted training session and was sharing resources to support integrating E&D in British Values in Teaching & Learning and ensure the College training was compliant. The E&D Committee had concluded that the College had effective embedding of diversity and unplanned opportunities to maximise student learning and staff were more confident, with facilitated workshops being held at the College. “Diversity & Equality Integration” was key now, with resources to share in curriculum areas and adapted to look at employability and British Values for tutorials. However, the Committee did highlight that more integration was required than tutorial activities alone.

23/19. Safeguarding Committee - Lead Governor Report (Appendix 11)

The Safeguarding Lead Governor advised that the next Safeguarding Committee was on 11 April 2019. Prior to this, she would be meeting with the Director, Curriculum Support, the Safeguarding Manager and the Additional Learning Support Manager, to receive assurance and updates on the College’s Safeguarding framework. A full report on both the Safeguarding Committee meeting and meetings with the Safeguarding Team will be presented to the next Quality Committee meeting.

The HE Student Governor left the meeting at this point.

24/19. Progress Grades – Period 3 (Appendices Nos. 4)

The SLT officers present updated the Committee on Progress Grade Period 3 for A levels and vocational provision (previously circulated), being the third set of progress grades for the academic year. The College was now able to track changes between collection points as well as equivalent points in different years.

Regarding Year 2 A level provision –

    • Retention for academic courses was 94.2% with 95.9% in year. Subject areas with below target attendance had points of action, reflecting the robust in-College monitoring systems and systems in place to identify early and support students;
    • Average attendance for A level programmes was 92.7% (91.8% in 2018) with Year 1 at 93.7% (92.9% in 2018) and year 2 at 91.4% (90.3% in 2018).
    • Year 2 A level - professional judgements for high grades was 44.4%. Mock exams had been completed since the last progress grade check and this had affected the outcomes compared with PG2 last year where the mocks had been completed in time for inclusion in that check. In addition, PG3 was 3 weeks earlier than the collection last year.
    • Meeting Targets: 72.7% of students estimated to meet their target grade and the number predicted to be over target was 31.3% (32.6.7% PG3 in 2018). The Committee observed that high grades was a reflection of the lower GCSE average for the current cohort but the target figures demonstrated that students were still making progress.
    • Current value added analysis through ALPS Connect suggested a quality indicator of between 3 and 6. 2018 actual score was 3. The ALPS score for A levels on target grade would be between 2 and 5.
    • Interventions continued to be planned in meetings with Programme Leaders to assess students at risk and those underachieving to put together an action plan for change. Programme Leaders had been asked to confirm plans for revision sessions for their Year 2 cohorts and review their provision, to focus students on revision themes and advertise when these are available.
    • Year 1 outcomes for high grade judgements had risen to 49.4% (49.2% PG3 2017). “Meeting targets” was now 76.1% (74.6% PG3 2017) and those over target 28.4% (31.9% PG3 2017). Pass rates would indicate 98.5%, improving from the last progress grade check and an indication that actions put in place for individuals to improve had a positive impact. The Committee observed that a wider range of students now had access to A level provision and whilst this may affect high grades achievement, the College achieved added value.

Regarding Vocational provision -

    • In-Year Retention Rate = 96.4%. (2017/18, Overall Retention of 93.5% at year-end). This improved rate reflected the work to keep students on track and ensure achievement in their programme of study.
    • Attendance for Vocational provision had improved from the same point in 2017/18, standing at 89.3% overall attendance (86.73% for the same provision in 2017/18). The Committee discussed lower than target attendance on Adult Essential Skills and College Ready programs. A range of interventions including the appointment mid -year of a new progression specialist focussed on attendance in Construction, a stricter approach to adult attenders in, for example Access, the increased use of the disciplinary process linked to attendance and links to progression targets had all ensured stronger attendance patterns. The Committee remained supportive of the strategic decision to continue offering this provision.
    • Headlines for progress grade 3 predictions completed in February for both years 1 & 2 were predicting higher MTG than at April 2018.
    • English and maths predictions for GCSE 4+ were higher than progress 3 in 2017/18.

25/19. Risk

The Committee concluded that the risks identified were adequate and that there had been sufficient discussion of the issues at the meeting; particularly with respect to students not achieving predicted grades.

26/19. Date of Next Meeting – the Chair requested that the next Committee meeting date be amended.

The meeting concluded at 7.11 p.m.