Minutes of the Tenth Meeting of the Curriculum and Quality Committee of the City of Sunderland College held at 5.30pm on Wednesday 13 February 2013 in Room 614 at the Shiney Row Centre. PRESENT:
Mr D Ambrose, Mrs D Butler, Mr R Edmonds, Mr I Forster (Chair), Mrs A Hodgson, Mrs A Isherwood, Mrs A Lawson-McLean, Mr J Robson, Cllr A Wilkinson.
Mr N Harrett, Mr D Riddell, Ms M Earley, Mrs J Ridley.
Ms R Ferguson.
The Chair welcomed John Robson to his first meeting as a co-opted member of the Committee and nominee of the Washington Joint Committee. CQ/13/01
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST Apologies for absence were received from Mr B Campbell, Mr A Carter and Mr A Young. The following members declared an interest in relation to agenda item CQ/13/08: D Ambrose, D Butler, J Robson, R Edmonds, A Wilkinson.
MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS MEETING HELD ON 14 NOVEMBER 2012 The minutes were accepted as an accurate record subject to deleting the second reference to A Hodgsonâ€™s late arrival at 4.40pm.
MATTERS ARISING THEREFROM There were no matters arising.
PARTICIPATION RATES IN FURTHER EDUCATION AND LEARNING The Director of Student Services presented the report which provided detailed information on participation rates for 2012 in further education and learning in Sunderland and compared with the rest of the region. It was noted that the Collegeâ€™s proportion of Sunderland school leaver enrolments in 2012 had remained static therefore the rise in participation in the City in further education must be the result of an increase in enrolments to other post -16 providers. In addition, destination figures suggest that there has been no increase in numbers joining the Sunderland faith schools therefore the increase in participation in further education in Sunderland has been due to the increase in pupils attending Colleges outside of the City. He explained that the College was aware of this increase and was developing strategies to address the situation. 1
In response to questions, the Director agreed to provide detailed information on the further education destination figures for Sunderland school leavers for Governors. Governors raised concerns that other colleges in the region were carrying out marketing campaigns in the Sunderland area. It was noted that the College was carrying out similar marketing campaigns across the region, and was using different means of reaching potential students such as the use of social media. The Committee: received and discussed the report.
SCHOOL AND COLLEGE PERFORMANCE TABLES 2011-12, PUBLISHED JANUARY 2013 The Vice Principal Curriculum and Quality presented the report explaining that the Department for Education had made changes to the information published relating to school and college performance tables. It was noted that the information, which is publicly available through the Department for Education’s website, focuses strongly on academic study and A levels. At the same time, the points awarded to achievements on vocational courses have been reduced. These changes have had an adverse effect on the College’s position in the performance tables as, compared with last year’s scores, the College does not look to have performed as well. The Committees attention was drawn to the comparison of the College’s performance to other post 16 providers in Sunderland and the comparison of the College’s performance to other local colleges. It was noted that the College had performed very well when compared with other colleges in the region. In response to a numbers of questions it was noted that: • if the same points system had been applied this year as had been in previous years, the college would have performed at the same level • the college was the best performing college when compared with other local colleges • when compared with schools it was acknowledged that the college cannot compete with schools on a like for like basis in terms of performance tables, due to the number of vocational courses offered by the college • the College needs to develop a strategy to give it the competitive edge over schools. The Committee: received and discussed the report. 2
REPORT ON APPLICATIONS FROM SCHOOL LEAVERS FOR SEPTEMBER 2013 ENTRY The Director of Student Services presented a report on the number of applications received to date from school leavers for the September 2013 intake and which provides a reasonable indication of how many students are likely to enrol. It was noted that the reduction in applications received from Oxclose Academy pupils mentioned in the report had now been addressed by the College and that to date, there were 127 less applications than at the same point last year. The reduction in applications was mainly from Castle View, Kepier and Whitburn Academies. It was felt that this was due to a number of external factors such as a continuing trend in the number of Sunderland school leavers choosing a vocational course in other FE Colleges together with an increase in marketing activity by the Catholic Sixth Forms to address the fall in the numbers at those institutions. Another factor to take into account was the demise of the Connexions Service in Sunderland as those Academies were no longer purchasing this service, therefore the College has had limited access to their pupils. It was noted that the drop in applications from 2012 gives the College cause for concern. Discussions were taking place and action plans being developed to gain access to these schools together with city-wide initiatives. It was also recognised that there is significant change in school arrangements and greater competition post-16. During discussion Governors asked a number of questions and it was noted that: the College was having discussions with the Assistant Principals regarding their role in promoting the College within their schools there had been issues around access in certain schools however, where schools allow it, the College does take ex-students back to give talks the college invites to all year 11 pupils as well as offering year 10 taster The College attends year 11 parents evenings and gives talks to parents at year 9 options evenings The Committee: i. received the report; ii. requested that the action plan being developed to address the reduction in applications be brought back to the Committee.
THE RE-ALIGNMENT OF MEASURE TO IMPROVE TEACHING, LEARNING AND ASSESSMENT The Assistant Principal Quality presented the report outlining the actions taken to improve the quality of teaching, learning and assessment. She explained the role and responsibilities of the teaching and learning coaches and the impact on the quality of teaching since the project was first introduced. It was noted that the team of coaches provides one to one coaching to teaching staff to improve observation grades and to support in the sharing of good practice, as well as providing a mentoring role for new members of staff. In addition, the coaching project also seeks to identify new teaching strategies to enhance the experience and outcomes of students. It was acknowledged that the college was taking effective action in identifying the root causes in cases of underperformance in teaching and learning and was taking corrective action. The Committee discussed the further involvement of governors in teaching, learning and assessment such as involvement in lesson observations or accompanying managers on learning walks. It was suggested that the Link Governor should discuss the most appropriate method of engagement with the Assistant Principal Quality. It was noted that, at the regular meetings between Governors and Student Councils, the first question asked of the students was to seek their views on the quality of their teaching, learning and assessment. A Governor challenged the Assistant Principal regarding the standardisation of the observers and the Vice Principal explained the processes involved concluding that she was secure that the observations were accurate. In response to a further question from a Governor the Assistant Principal explained the role of the Teaching and Learning Coach and it was agreed that a detailed description of the role would be provided. The Committee: i.
noted the actions taken and progress made in improving the quality of teaching and learning; ii. agreed to seek a volunteer to take on the role of link governor for Teaching, Learning and Assessment; iii. agreed that, once appointed, the Link Governor would liaise with the Assistant Principal Quality to identify an appropriate level of involvement in the teaching and learning process. 4
R Edmonds declared an interest and withdrew from the meeting. D Ambrose, D Butler, J Robson and A Wilkinson also declared an interest but were not required to withdraw from the meeting. CQ/13/08
SIXTH FORM ARRANGEMENTS Confidential: The contents of this report and its minute are confidential and should not be circulated to third parties for reasons of commercial sensitivity.
R Edmonds re-joined the meeting. CQ/13/09
REVIEW OF THE HIGHER EDUCATION STRATEGY 2012-15 The Vice Principal Curriculum and Quality presented the report explaining that there had been a considerable shift in terms of Higher Education over the last 18 months. As a result of this, along with the impact of increased fees and the recent changes to the Senior Management Team and curriculum team structure, the opportunity had been taken to draft a new HE Strategy for the College. The Strategy ties in with the North East LEPs priorities and the Sunderland Economic Master Plan as well as the College’s current mission and strategic objectives. It was noted that the strategy also proposes a strengthening of the partnership with the University of Sunderland whilst recognising the need for greater flexibility around curriculum planning and setting of fees. In order to mitigate the declining numbers, particularly in franchised provision, the College must look to develop its in house HE offer using HNC/HND qualifications where possible. Governors raised a number of questions and the following responses were noted: • Recent discussions with the University of Sunderland had been productive. The College would design and develop further HND/C programmes with progression to the University of Sunderland to top up to full degrees. In addition, the University would allow the College to vire its allocation of numbers. • The new Vice Principal Business Development and Partnerships would be responsible for growing and developing higher education with businesses. The Committee requested that the strategy be amended to include reference to strengthening the partnership with the University of Sunderland and to cross reference the key actions within the action plan to the strategic aims within the strategy document. 5
The Committee: recommended the Higher Education Strategy 2012-2015 to the Board for approval subject to the amendment outlined above. CQ/13/10
INTERNATIONAL ARRANGEMENTS The Principal explained that a review of international arrangements had been undertaken resulting in a re-focussing of the Collegeâ€™s International Strategy. This was due to a number of factors including: issues around the quality of some in-country provision; a number of staff and contacts having been lost to another college and a change in policy by the Home Office. A new strategy based on growing areas that are viable and profitable would be brought to the Board at the end of the year following the appointment of the new Assistant Principal Business Development and Partnerships, who would take responsibility for international activities. Governors asked a number of questions and the following points were noted: Some in-country delivery had been discontinued due to quality issues, however, the College would continue to work with a smaller number of partners. The College would continue to grow its IELTS provison which is strong. It was noted that the college is the only testing centre between Leeds and Edinburgh. The College had terminated its partnerships in Myanmar and Malaysia and Singapore due to quality reasons and had informed the agents not to use the Collegeâ€™s name. The College continued to have an excellent relationship with the Border Agency and had had its Highly Trusted Status renewed. The College continued to provide accommodation for international students where required. It was noted that there was potential to establish new partners in India as part of an AoC initiative working with Colleges to develop international opportunities in India. The Assistant Principal Quality gave an account of her recent visit to India as part of this delegation. The initiative was funded by the Indian Government to help establish a Further Education system in order to address the considerable skills shortages in India. The Committee: received the verbal update.
JOINT COMMITTEE MINUTES The Committee discussed the minutes noting that there were a number of drafting errors. It was noted that the College would raise the issue with Sunderland Councilâ€™s Governance Team. The Committee: received the minutes of the Joint Committee meetings for information.
ANY OTHER BUSINESS There was none.
DATE, TIME AND VENUE OF NEXT MEETING The next meeting will take place on Wednesday 22 May 2013 at 5.30pm in the Room 614, Shiney Row Campus.
The meeting closed at 8.00pm