Page 1

SELF ASSESSMENT REPORT 2011-12 BTEC Diploma Foundation Studies in Art and Design

School of Arts

1. Self Assessment Report 2011-12

Faculty of Design, Environment and Technology 0


Oxford Brookes University

Oxford Brookes University began as the Oxford School of Art in1865. It was in 1992 that Oxford Polytechnic became Oxford Brookes University. Oxford Brookes University is situated within the city of Oxford and delivers predominantly undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. It has a small FE provision through the BTEC Diploma in Foundation Studies in Art and Design delivered through the School of Arts in the Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment. 1.1

Teaching and Learning

Over the last 25 years Oxford Brookes has developed a reputation for the quality of its teaching, which has been externally assessed by the Quality Assurance Agency as excellent in more subjects than any other modern university. Oxford Brookes University is the only UK modern university to have achieved 24 subjects rated as excellent for teaching. It has a longstanding reputation for employability, and is host to two national centres of excellence in teaching and learning. Teaching is underpinned by research, and programme teams continue to build strong links between course content and research. The University uses Moodle (e-learning network) to support learning and teaching on all programmes. To expand access to study at Oxford Brookes, there is a commitment to continuing to develop distance learning for undergraduate, postgraduate and professional courses. Nearly 10% of students currently study wholly or partly through distance learning, and our online-supported MA programmes have attracted students from over 17 countries.

Self Assessment Report 2011-12



Student Statistics

Our 18,167 students are women and men of all ages from a broad range of social and cultural backgrounds. They are enrolled on courses that range from foundation to postgraduate level. 17% are overseas (non-UK) students coming from 132(*) countries worldwide. ACADEMIC YEAR: 2010/11 Source: HESA

2010/2011 Actual figures Bodies

Total University HE Population


Breakdown of UK Based Students














Domicile of Student

Level of Study UG









18,380 Gender Male






18,380 Mode of Study FT (incl Sandwich)



PT (incl Open Learning)



Medicine and dentistry



Subjects allied to medicine



Biological sciences



Veterinary science



Agriculture and related subjects



Physical sciences



Mathematical sciences



Computer science



Engineering and technology



Architecture, building and planning



Subject Areas

Self Assessment Report 2011-12


Social studies






Business and administrative studies



Mass communications and documentation






Historical and philosophical studies



Creative arts and design









First class



Upper second



Lower second



Third class /Pass






Classification of first degree qualifications awarded

2,986 In addition there were 316 FE level students in 2010/11 (211 FT and 105 PT) Source HESA


Awards and rankings

Sunday Times University Guide Brookes has been named the best modern university in England by the Sunday Times’ University Guide eleven years in a row. The Sunday Times’ University Guide is one of the most respected league tables and looks at the performance of universities across the UK in fields like teaching, research, student satisfaction and graduate employment prospects. The Times Good University Guide Brookes also performs consistently well in the Times Good University Guide. The Times league tables analyse a range of data including student satisfaction, graduate employment and completion rate. Consistently ranked as the UK’s best new university in the guide, Oxford Brookes is now overtaking some Russell Group Universities. Key indicators from The Times league table show: Oxford Brookes ranks highly for graduate employment (this places Brookes ahead of many Russell Group universities including Birmingham and Leeds) Oxford Brookes has strong student satisfaction ratings. Complete University Guide The 2013 Complete University Guide found Oxford Brookes to be the highest ranking modern university. Self Assessment Report 2011-12




Oxford Brookes University has strong partnerships locally and around the world. Through partnerships, the university shares its research and expertise with companies best able to develop them commercially, as well as attracting additional funds to support its work. Many companies based in the region, including publishers, automotive engineering businesses, and biotechnology firms, offer valuable work placements for students, greatly increasing their chances of securing employment in their chosen field at the end of their course. Widening participation Relationships with the local community, and with the region as a whole, are equally important, and have allowed Oxford Brookes to play an important part in widening participation in education. The University has close links with a number of further education colleges in the region. These Associate College Partners include Oxford and Cherwell Valley College (Reading, Banbury and Oxford Campus) Abingdon and Witney, Henley, Newbury, Solihull and Swindon. Many of these links allow students to progress from ND and HND courses at their college to a degree course at Oxford Brookes, while, in other cases, Oxford Brookes validated courses are taught within the colleges. Brookes’ Centre for Continuing Education runs a number of short courses designed to offer continuing professional development to people working in a wide range of fields. The Widening Participation team is responsible for encouraging local school children into the world of higher education, particularly those belonging to under-represented groups. International Exchange International partners are as important to the university as its local partners. International links enrich its academic culture and provide excellent opportunities for students and staff to widen their horizons. The university has partnerships with institutions from all around the world, including Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Malaysia, Singapore, Poland and many other countries. The relationships it has developed with other universities means that it can offer student exchanges, where international students can come to study at Oxford Brookes for one or two semesters and Oxford Brookes students can choose to study abroad for part of their degree. Partnership programmes are offered in Hong Kong, Hungary, Indian, Malaysia, Singapore, Poland and worldwide.

Self Assessment Report 2011-12



Structure and governance

Responsibility for the day-to-day running of Oxford Brookes University rests with the ViceChancellor and the Senior Management Team. The current Chancellor of the university is Human Rights campaigner Shami Chakrabarti.

Senior Management Team The University is led by the Senior Management Team including:         

Vice-Chancellor - Professor Janet Beer Pro Vice-Chancellor (Student Experience) - Professor John Raftery Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and Knowledge Transfer) - Professor Alistair Fitt Registrar - Paul Large Dean/Pro Vice-Chancellor, Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment - Paul Inman Dean/Pro Vice-Chancellor, Faculty of Business – Professor Chris Cooper Dean/Pro Vice- Chancellor, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences - Professor Anne-Marie Kilday Dean/Pro Vice-Chancellor, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences - June Girvin Director of Finance and Legal Services - Joanne Jones

Board of Governors Mission and strategic direction: The Board is responsible for determining the mission of the University. It has also approved the University’s eight Key Objectives, the Academic Plan, and Strategies for:       

Learning and Teaching Research Widening Participation Estates Finance Human Resources Marketing

Time is made at Board meetings for discussion of strategic issues. In addition, the Board has an annual Strategy Day, and the Chair and Vice-Chair and Chairs of Committees participate in the annual Senior Management Conference. The Board approves the University’s annual budget, which is discussed in detail at the Board’s Finance and Resources Committee. Financial key performance indicators are subject to regular monitoring by the Board. The University is in the final stages of agreeing a Self Assessment Report 2011-12


set of non-financial KPI’s which will enable the Board to monitor the University’s progress towards the eight Key objectives. A matrix of skills and experience is used to ensure that the Board represents a wide range of experience, skills and interests. Stakeholder views are also sought through the University Court which meets annually, and individual members of which contribute to the University in other ways. Appointment and Monitoring of the Vice-Chancellor: The process of filling the post of the Vice-Chancellor is managed by a sub-group of governors led by the Chair. The process includes advertisement, active search, and the use of external advice. Candidates are invited to go through a range of selection processes, including interviews, and presentations. The Vice-Chancellor’s objectives are agreed by the Remuneration Committee, and performance is monitored by the Chair. As with other senior post holders, the Vice-Chancellor’s salary has a significant performance-related element. Accountability and Control: The Board’s Audit Committee is responsible for approving the arrangements for Internal and External Audit, and for receiving the reports of the auditors. The Board approves the University’s Financial Regulations, which set a framework of controls for financial management. Risk Management is well embedded in the University and the Board receives regular monitoring reports on the University’s most serious risks. There is a clear process for dealing with complaints from both staff and students, which involves governors at the highest level. An annual report is produced on student complaints. Deans, Directors, SMT members and members of the Board are required to complete a Register of Interests, and each meeting of the Board and its committees has a specific agenda item for declarations of interest. A policy for dealing with conflicts of interest for other staff is in draft form. Monitoring Institutional Performance Against Plans: The Board is in the final stages of agreeing a set of non-financial KPI’s against which the University will be able to monitor its progress in relation to its eight key objectives. Financial monitoring is well embedded. 1.6

Faculty Structure

The University has a structure of 4 Faculties with 18 Departments or Schools. This relatively new structure (since September 2011) aims to put academic values at the heart of decisionmaking, provides clarity at subject level and reduces barriers to inter-disciplinary research, academic development and knowledge transfer.

Self Assessment Report 2011-12



Mission and Vision Statements

The university realises that its mission, vision, values and ambitions will only be realised through its staff and students. It must continue to attract and keep the most committed and dedicated staff and students if it is to achieve its aspirations. In order to realise its ambitions, the university must make the continuous improvement of quality in its teaching, research and other activities; the centrepiece of its strategy. The university aspires to make a commitment to an educational culture where mentorship is valued and teaching is integrated with both research and cutting-edge practice from the professions. It will educate students of all ages for livelihood, for both personal and societal enrichment, taking advantage of the manifold cultural and economic benefits of its region. It will ask its staff and students to work together to improve the human condition locally, nationally and internationally by engaging in active global citizenship and undertaking research that resonates around the world. Mission Oxford Brookes University is committed to leading the intellectual, social and economic development of the communities it serves through teaching, research and creativity that achieve the highest standards. Values In the development and nurturing of intellectual creativity the university makes its highest contribution to society. Social responsibility demands that all aspects of its activity should be sustainable. Equality, inclusivity and the celebration of diversity must be the foundation for everything it does. The University will never be content with anything other than a wholehearted commitment to the quality of the student experience. Vision Oxford Brookes University will provide an exceptional, student-centred experience which is based on both internationally significant research and pedagogic best practice. It will build on a tradition of distinction in academic, professional and social engagement to enhance its reputation as a university which educates citizens for lives of consequence.

Self Assessment Report 2011-12



University Strategy

The university strategy 2010-2020 was developed in stages and in consultation with staff and stakeholders across the university and is constantly being reviewed for progression and responding to external change. Oxford Brookes continues to implement and review the Strategy 2020 and plan carefully for the future in the context of the national funding context. The Four Strategic Goals are: 1 Student Experience Oxford Brookes University will be a university that enables a student experience of the highest standard possible. The University will:  

Ensure that learning and teaching are at the leading edge and relevant to contemporary contexts. Provide an environment where students are proactively engaged in shaping their experience through influencing learning and extra-curricular policy, processes and outcomes.

2 Research and knowledge transfer Oxford Brookes University is committed to externally recognised world-leading research which is exploited and disseminated for the benefit of its communities. The University will:  

Focus on the areas of research which are, or have the potential to be, recognised as world leading and encourage multi- and interdisciplinary research activity across the university. Increase the exploitation and dissemination of the highest quality research and collaboration with other Higher Education Institutions and the public, private and third sector.

3 External Links and Impact We will be a university dedicated to improving the human condition in Oxfordshire and around the world. The University will:  

Harness the creativity, knowledge, and commitment of the university’s academics, staff and students to benefit urban and rural communities principally within Oxfordshire. Further develop mutually beneficial partnerships to facilitate the application of the university’s education, research, and knowledge transfer nationally and internationally and to prepare the university’s graduates to be engaged global citizens.

4 Infrastructure and services We will be a university characterised by its sector-leading, high quality, sustainable and costeffective services, operating within a culture of continuous improvement. The University will:  

Manage its activities to achieve self-sustaining and robust finances and a strong position relative to the HE sector. Develop and enhance the quality and efficiency of the university’s infrastructure and services.

Self Assessment Report 2011-12



Campus Development - New Library and Teaching Building

Oxford Brookes University has invested over £130 million in the redevelopment of its campus. The Abercrombie extension and the Glass Tank exhibition space opened in September 2012 and the New Library and Teaching Building which will be completed in September 2013. The new building will form the centrepiece of the Gipsy Lane site and will provide inspirational teaching and learning space for students and staff. It will combine the library, teaching spaces, IT resources, lecture halls and social learning areas with other support services such as volunteering, student welfare and careers advice suites. It is hoped the building will also become a community resource and local landmark with a piazza facing the London road. 1.10 Financial Stability Oxford Brookes University is financially stable with good recruitment despite the new fee structure with strong external funding for research and knowledge transfer, over 300 consultancy contracts, growing numbers in postgraduate research students and collaborative partnerships. The university spends approximately £151 million on running the university plus a further £20 million capital investment in its future. £85 million is spent on staff salaries. This year Oxford Brookes gave over £1 million in scholarships and bursaries to students from Oxfordshire. Based on the Universities UK research, its overall impact on the economy was £382 million per year*. Every day Oxford Brookes is contributing well over £1 million to the UK economy. £17.4 million is earned per year from international fees. £49 million is received from government funding for teaching. Oxford Brookes is in the top 20 universities for intellectual property earnings *The statistical element comes from a variety of sources including work that was done by the university’s Strategic and Business Planning Office, using university and sector data. The output from this work was independently verified by Martin Meyer, Director, Innovation Policy, Rand Europe as a sound analysis using appropriate methodology. The university also utilised economic modelling undertaken by Universities UK.

Self Assessment Report 2011-12



School of Arts The School of Arts at Oxford Brookes University is one of six departments located within the Faculty of Design, Technology and Environment. The six departments include Mechanical Engineering and Mathematical Sciences, Planning, Real Estate and Construction, Computing and Communication Technologies, School of Architecture and School of Arts. Subject areas taught in the School of Arts include Art and Design, Fine Art, Music, Film Studies and Publishing.

The School currently includes:    

82 FTEs level 3/4 FE Learners (all learners are on one programme) 461.5 FTEs Undergraduate on campus (129 FTEs BA Hons Fine Art, 134 FTEs BA Hons Film Studies, 88.5 FTEs BA Hons Music, 110 FTEs Publishing) 97 Postgraduate Taught FTEs on campus (8.5 FTEs MA Music, 4.5 FTEs MA Film Studies, 12 FTEs MA Interdisciplinary Arts, 72 FTEs Publishing) 49.5 FTEs UG and 3 FTE PGT on Collaborative Programmes at local Associate Partner Colleges including Swindon College, Oxford and Cherwell Valley College – Banbury and Reading Campuses and Solihull College. 29 Postgraduate Research students (PHD)

The School of Arts has a national and international reputation for interdisciplinary arts and international research excellence in Fine Art, Sonic Arts, Opera and Popular Music. The School also runs a short course and summer school programme, offering accessible accredited and non-accredited programmes in art and design for A level students, professional artists and those learners that wish to ‘return to learn’ or change careers. Oxford Brookes University has a long standing reputation for excellence (over 25 years) with schools, colleges and universities for its BTEC Diploma Foundation Studies in Art and Design programme. The one year full time programme aims to prepare learners for entry to higher, more specialised courses in art, design and related subjects and is recognised as an appropriate route to such courses. The programme leads to the award of an Oxford Brookes University Edexcel BTEC Diploma in Foundation Studies in Art and Design. Learners will complete with a pass, merit or distinction grade. Approximately 25% of the learners on the programme are from Oxford and surrounding local areas (this is unusually low for this year) whilst the other 75% mostly come from all over the UK with a small number being international or from the EU. Most of these learners choose to take accommodation in the university halls of residence. The learner’s experience is very close to that of an undergraduate student due to the university environment and a culture and expectation of independent learning. Diploma students benefit from learning alongside UG and PG students and from staff who are active researchers and practicing artists. The ethos of the School of Arts is to integrate and encourage cross fertilisation of good practice across different levels of learning through sharing of staff teaching across programmes, Self Assessment Report 2011-12


open visiting lecture series, studio discussions and evaluations, social events, field trips and group exhibitions. Most learners enter the course with at least 5 GCSEs at Grade C or above including Maths and English and two A levels usually at grade B or above. Learners are required to submit a portfolio of art work as part of their application to the programme. Quality of applications are high and competition great with the programme receiving over 500 applications for approximately 80 places (as per the current EFA and YPLA funding agreement). The BTEC Diploma in Foundation Studies in Art and Design at Oxford Brookes University is distinctive through its diagnostic approach and aims to provide students with the opportunity to explore all aspects of art and design and to make choices and identify their chosen specialist pathway. The Foundation Studies in Art and Design programme has a particular focus on the development of a portfolio in student’s chosen specialist pathway in preparation for progression and as required for degree level study. Students will be introduced to a broad range of media and techniques and encouraged to adopt an experimental approach. This one year, full time programme consists of seven units across three distinct stages; Exploratory, Pathway and Confirmatory. During the Exploratory stage students are introduced to the four main pathways; Fine Art, 3D Design, Visual Communication and Fashion / Textiles. Students undertake workshops and projects in photography, video, sculpture, painting, drawing, printmaking, electronic media and book-works. The pathway stage aims to focus students towards their chosen specialism and to explore this area in greater detail and variety. For the Confirmatory stage, students are required to write, plan and undertake an ambitious, six week long personal confirmatory project which reflects and confirms their chosen specialist pathway. The confirmatory project culminates in a professionally presented, public exhibition. Students will complete the programme with a BTEC Diploma with a Pass, Merit or Distinction grade.

Self Assessment Report 2011-12



Outcomes for learners

Grade 1: Outstanding 1.1

All learners achieve and make progress relative to their starting points and learning goals


Learners achieve their learning goals, including qualifications and achieve challenging targets

Learners achieve their learning goals with 93% (77 out of 83) of starters in 2011-12 achieving the full qualification of the BTEC Diploma with no learners completing the programme without their qualification. This achievement includes 35% of the cohort who had known disabilities (mental health difficulties, specific learning difficulties and unseen disability). Out of 28 learners with disabilities, 27 learners achieved the full qualification. 95% of learners achieved their goals of progressing to HE, 2% into employment and 3% taking a gap year. Learners secured places at some of the most competitive Universities and art and design schools in the UK. Most learners are typically school leavers or undertake the programme after a gap year and have at least 5 GCSEs including Maths and English (at grade C or above) and 2 or more A levels at A-C grades. It is therefore important that the programme is challenging both in terms of quantity and quality of work. Learners will develop the necessary skills to be able to work independently alongside structured teaching and will make use of 24hour access to their studio spaces. The ability to work independently is also considered to be an important aspect of being a professional artists or designer. Learners are encouraged to be experimental and ambitious in their work in order to aim for the most reputable and competitive HE Courses in Art and Design in the UK. Learners enjoy the University environment of the School of Arts and the benefits of learning alongside level 4 – 7 students*. Some of the benefits which they enjoy and find to be a new experience from their previous sixth form colleges or schools include a range of teaching methods and styles, open lectures, visiting studios and making friends with UG students in the small community of the School of Arts, living in halls of residence and all aspects of student life. This unique experience prepares learners very well for HE level study. *As shown in student programme exit survey. 1.1.2

Learner’s work meets or exceeds the requirements of the qualifications, learning goals or employment

Learners work meets and in many cases exceeds the requirement of the qualification with 75% of completers achieving good grades (merits and distinctions) in 2011-12. Learners also achieve the additional learning goals of identifying their chosen specialism in art and design (as a result of exploring a range of areas through a diagnostic rotation of projects) and by developing a specific portfolio which provides evidence of their subject specific knowledge and interest, own ideas and ‘personal voice’. The portfolio also demonstrates appropriate skills for their chosen creative pathway. There is an emphasis on learners achieving a highly individual portfolio and body of work which pursues their own enquiry and passions. All learners complete the programme with a specialist portfolio suitable for HE progression or employment.

Self Assessment Report 2011-12



Learners enjoy learning and make progress relative to their prior attainment and potential

The majority of learners have A levels as their highest qualification on entry to the programme (92% of the cohort 2012) with 97% of these learners, having tariff points each of over 250 points. 75% of completers achieve good grades of merit or distinction. Although these results are good the team would like to increase this with a target for 2012-13 of 80% of completers achieving more than a pass given the high prior attainment of many of our learners. This is an area we have identified for improvement in our Quality Improvement Plan. The close studio environment helps to develop a culture of learners working alongside and learning from each other where they can see the development of other learners’ work and hear the advice given to fellow learners. 1.1.4

Learners make progress in learning sessions and improve the quality of their work

Learners are not only set goals by staff but also set their own goals for improvement with an emphasis on developing critical analyses and reflection, high levels of engagement and taking ownership and responsibility for their own learning. These study skills are seen as an essential area to be developed as over 90% of learners’ progress to HE study. Learners are required to meet targets and goals on a weekly basis – these are set both by staff and by the learner as a result of one to one tutorials. Their progress and meeting of goals is recorded in Individual Learning Plans which are referred to on a weekly basis and week to week work plans are discussed and recorded by the student in their reflective journals. Learner View Results (Feb 2013): I receive the support I need to help me to progress – 23% strongly agree, 63% agree, 12% disagree and 2% strongly disagree


Learners attend, participate in, arrive on time and develop the right attitudes to learning

Attendance is good with learners achieving 85% attendance or above. Attendance of learners is monitored daily and is maintained at good levels. Learners are clear about the start and end times of their taught day (9.30 – 4.30) and are usually punctual for classes. Their attendance and punctuality is monitored daily using signing in sheets, tutorial attendance registers and the ‘Student Record’ document. Learners are challenged and put under close monitoring when they fail to meet the expected levels of attendance of at least 85%. They have a good attitude to learning and enjoy working with fellow learners and staff. They approach staff freely, without hesitation seeking guidance and support both during and outside of taught sessions. They attend regular programme meetings which are held at the beginning of the day which helps to achieve a sense of belonging and being noticed as part of a coherent group, consistent communication and dissemination of information with opportunities for learners to ask questions, share problems or good news. This is an area we have identified for improvement in our Quality Improvement Plan.

Self Assessment Report 2011-12



Achievement gaps are narrowing between different groups of learners


Any significant variations in the achievement of different groups of learners

There are no significant variations of retention, achievement or progression between different groups of learners (2011-12). Achievement:            

93% of learners that start the programme complete the programme. 100% of completing learners achieve their qualification. 36% of the cohort have known disabilities. 96% (27 out of 28 learners) of learners completed with a full qualification. 89% of the cohort are female. 92% learners completed with a full qualification. 11% of the cohort are male. 100% learners completed with a full qualification. 95% of the cohort are under the age of 21. 92% of learners under 21s completed the programme with a full qualification. 5% of the cohort are over 21. 100% of learners over the age of 21 completed the programme with a full qualification. 36% of the cohort previously attended independent schools. 93% of learners completed with a full qualification. 48% of the cohort previously attended state schools. 90% of learners completed with a full qualification. 16% of the cohort previously attended FE Colleges. 100% of learners completed with a full qualification. 7% of the cohort are from BME groups. 86% (5 out of 6 learners) completed with a full qualification. 93% of the cohort are from non BME groups. 94% of learners completed with a full qualification.

Retention: The only slight variation is with the retention of local learners: 

86% of local (Oxfordshire Area – mostly commuting ) learners completed the programme in comparison to 95% of non local (mostly staying in halls of residence)

This area of lower retention may be due to the distance and expense of travel involved for local students and the effect that the loss of the EMA has had for some of these students. The team will continue to conduct exit surveys to establish the reasons for early leavers that are from the Oxfordshire Area. Progression: There are no significant variations of progression between different groups of learners. All learners despite age, gender, BME group or previous school type progress to HE study.

Self Assessment Report 2011-12



Learners’ progress during their programme compared with their starting points, with particular attention to progress by different groups of learners

The 11% of male learners is small compared to 89% female learners, however all progress equally well in both groups and in line with their previous achievement and potential. The ratio of learners from black and minority ethnic groups are low being only 7% of the cohort, however all learners in this group progress as well as other learners. The 34% of learners who have known disabilities (out of a total 28 learners: 1 mental health difficulty, 1 unseen disability and 26 with specific learning difficulty) all progressed well compared to their starting points and all completed except one learner who left the programme early due to health issues. The 26 learners who had dyslexia progress well alongside those without dyslexia. The learners’ progress is supported through early detection (where learners are detected as early as possible through literacy screening during the early stages of the programme) in order that all known and unknown dyslexic learners are supported immediately from the earliest point with a dedicated tutor for additional learning support. The additional learning support (ALS) tutor provides specific and tailored workshops to develop organisation and time management, writing skills, coping mechanisms and strategies both in small groups and one to one sessions. These sessions are designed in particular for creative students where there is often a tendency towards dyslexia and sometimes disorganisation, procrastination and poor time management. The main aim of this support is to be accessible, effective and empowering for the learner in helping them locate their own strategies to be used during their higher level education and subsequent careers. Learners’ progress is communicated between the ALS tutor and subject tutors through weekly meetings, the use of Individual Learning Plans, Student Records and a shared google document which the entire team can access and share information regarding learners’ progress. Any issues are highlighted as they arise to enable early awareness and swift action to be taken in order to support the learner when they need it. The ALS tutor also supports the students’ applications for DSA when progressing onto University so they can get financial support in addition to loans and grants.


Learners develop personal, social and employability skills


The development of English, maths and functional skills required to complete learners’ programmes and progress

All learners have acquired GCSE English and Maths at grade C or above. The programme content is designed in order to continue to develop these skills as integral to art and design practice. Opportunities to develop these skills are identified on Schemes of Work and in project briefs. Mathematics may for example be developed through measuring dimensions in 3D Design, calculating the length of fabric needed to make and fit a fashion garment, the repeat of a pattern in textiles or in costing a final major project. Literacy may for example be further developed in the writing of short and longer assignments, creative writing about learners’ own work, reflective writing in learner’s own journals, completing UCAS personal statements or writing a statement of intent for their confirmatory project. Additional learning support workshops are delivered prior and during these activities in order to support learners who are dyslexic or for those that need to develop their writing skills. The learners are encouraged to engage in critical debate during critiques with their peers and to support one another with advice, feedback and ideas. This improves their ability to speak confidently in groups and to provide useful constructive dialogue to a mature level.

Self Assessment Report 2011-12



The achievement of additional qualifications and/or experience gained in the workplace

Due to the intensive nature of the full time one year BTEC Diploma, work placement or work based learning is not included in the learner’s programme. However learners are exposed and introduced to industry through visiting industry speakers and experience new skills and areas to be developed through ‘live projects’ such as museum exhibitions – Pitt Rivers Museum project, fashion shows – Oxford Fashion Week, and studio photography shoots – commercial Fashion Photography Project with high street fashion labels.


Broader skills relevant to learners’ progression and career aims, such as communication, teamwork, leadership, taking responsibility, reflective thinking, problem solving, independent enquiry and employability

Industry projects alongside project briefs are designed to provide learners with the opportunity to develop skills in teamwork, communication, leadership, taking responsibility, critical and reflective thinking, problem solving and independent enquiry. These are all relevant, valuable and transferable skills for employability and careers in art and design. Learners are involved in group projects/ teamwork during their first 2 weeks of study where they produce artwork in response to a given brief. This work is then exhibited in the public space within the University thus allowing the group to work together solving problems such as space, risk assessment and durability. Subsequently learners are encouraged to keep reflective journals to expand their ability to identify key moments of success and failure in order to learn from their experiences to inform their development. These journals become a lifeline throughout the course and are a true indicator of the student taking responsibility for their own learning. Learners are encouraged to broaden their awareness and provide responses to important themes such as social issues, recycling, sustainability, ethical practice, equality and diversity, religion and cultural difference and human rights through lectures, visiting speakers, delivered project briefs and opportunities to take part in ‘live projects’. Learners are encouraged to be responsible citizens and to be considerate towards others. This is cultivated through the communal environment of the studios and the School of Arts as a self-contained building. Safe, considerate and professional practice is promoted through induction and all aspects of the programme, in order that learners keep themselves and others safe and that their practice is not detrimental to the environment or in breach of the University’s Health and Safety policy and UK legislation.

Self Assessment Report 2011-12



Learners progress to courses leading to higher-level qualifications and into jobs that meet local and national needs


How well learners progress to further learning and employment and gain promotion

95% of learners progress to high- level qualifications, pursuing either BA or FdA Degrees predominantly in Art and Design or Arts related subjects. 2% gain employment and 3% take a gap year. Learner View Results (Feb 2013): My course/programme is preparing me for my chosen next steps – 47% strongly agree, 40% agree and 10% disagree


How well learners develop an understanding of careers and progression opportunities, and their ability to benefit from training and development opportunities

One of the key aims of this diagnostic programme is to provide learners the opportunity to diagnose their strengths and areas of interests through introducing them to a broad range of art and design subject areas. As a result of this experience, learners make informed choices about which area they would like to specialise in and study at degree level. We are aware that, with the introduction of the higher fee structures, it is increasingly important for learners and their parents to be able to make informed choices and to feel confident and sure about pursing art and design due to the financial commitment. In order to provide more opportunities for learners to make these important choices, we have introduced a new ‘University Choices’ week where Universities are invited to attend and give subject talks and learners can talk informally to these members of staff. We have also allowed more flexibility in the programme for learners to attend university open days. A ‘Careers in the Arts’ conference which is dedicated to broadening awareness of career opportunities in the Arts, is open to all students in the School of Arts. We would like to broaden this out next year to include more design subjects. Training and support in applying through UCAS is provided by all staff that are all trained and experienced in the UCAS system and processes. This is an area we have identified for improvement in our Quality Improvement Plan. 1.4.3

Learners’ acquisition of qualifications and the skills and knowledge that will enable them to progress to their chosen career, employment and/or further education and training

The programme’s main aim is to help learners to progress to their next level of study in the specific area of their choice in order to pursue a successful career in art and design. The programme comprises of 7 units which focus on the development of knowledge and Self Assessment Report 2011-12


transferrable skills specific to higher education and careers in art and design. The industry relevant ‘live projects’ and visiting speakers help students to identify their own particular skills and personality traits required for certain industries for example the ability to work in a fast, changing and competitive environment to work in the fashion industry or the ability to often work in isolation and be self-motivated as a Fine Artist. Learners are made aware and also encouraged to keep an up to date knowledge of the creative industries and contemporary context for the specialist areas they are aiming to work in as evidenced in their research files. Learners are encouraged to make visits to open days at HE institutes and to discuss their responses/experience to these visits during one to one tutorials. Most of the programme team are practicing artists and designers and their professional experience, knowledge and relevant contacts are passed on to learners through all stages of the programme. The University’s Careers Service is a further resource which can support career choices, training and preparation. Learner View Results (Feb 2013): My Course/programme meets my needs – 27% strongly agree, 68%, agree, 3% disagree and 2% strongly disagree


Learners’ progression routes, and the extent to which these meet local and national priorities

The programme team make strenuous efforts to remain at the fore front of trends and changes in industry through research and contacts with local and national creative industries. However the team feel that undertaking more research with creative industries would confirm that the project briefs and content were aligning to industry needs. This is an area we have identified for improvement in our Quality Improvement Plan. 1.4.5

The extent to which learners’ with severe and complex learning difficulties gain skills and progress to become more independent in their everyday life

We have no learners with severe or complex learning difficulties but all learners with dyslexia progress as well as their fellow learners, whilst being equipped with strategies to enable them to continue to realise their ambitions to be professional artists and designers.

Self Assessment Report 2011-12



Quality of teaching, learning and assessment

Grade 1: Outstanding 2.1

Learners benefit from high expectations, engagement, care, support and motivation from staff


How well teaching and learning methods – including training, coaching and mentoring – inspire and challenge all learners and enable them to extend their knowledge, skills and understanding

The programme team employ a range of teaching and learning methods including lectures, one to one tutorials, small and larger group work and projects, live projects off site, technical demonstrations and workshops, practical taught sessions e.g. life drawing, field trips abroad, gallery and museum visits and group evaluations. This range of approaches attempt to appeal to most learners’ styles and preferences and provides good variety to maintain engagement. The team also try to change the rhythm and pace of the projects; delivering one day, week long and sometimes up to 3 week long projects to challenge, inspire and provide variety for learners. All learners are required to contribute and participate in the evaluation of their own work and the work of others on a weekly basis. These evaluation sessions are challenging and encourage rigorous questioning and intellectual engagement with their practice. During these sessions learning can be affirmed and learners are challenged by staff when deadlines and goals have not been met whilst being encouraged to identify their own action plans for improvement. These group sessions are also useful for learners to be able to gauge their own achievement against that of others. Learner View Results (Feb 2013): My Lessons/training sessions are well taught – 15% strongly agree, 70% agree and 12% disagree and 3% strongly disagree 2.1.2

The extent to which teaching, training and coaching encourage and develop independent learning

Independent learning is encouraged and developed through briefs which are designed and written with clear stages allowing learners to be able to work independently equipped with a clear understanding of what learning outcomes and evidence are required. Each learner is encouraged to identify own strengths and areas to be developed with the coaching approach of tutors. Action plans for improvement are established between the learner and tutor in order that learners have clear goals and targets and are able to work towards them independently. These action plans are documented in their reflective journals. Independent learning can also continue through the use of ‘Moodle’, the University’s virtual learning environment through the extension of research on artists and designers, preparing ahead of lectures and project briefings with materials being made available prior to teaching sessions.

Self Assessment Report 2011-12



Whether high but realistic expectations are used to motivate learners

The BTEC Diploma is a fast paced and intensive programme which develops learners ‘ ability and skills to work fast, to make confident decisions, experiment, take risks and not to be afraid to fail, to be ambitious and self-motivated. This is achieved through a ‘full’ but realistic timetable through the week, 14 week semesters without half terms and an expectation that learners make full use of the 24/7 studios access and library outside of taught sessions. Teaching staff encourage learners to be ambitious through challenging project briefs, realistic but high levels of work and by aiming high for the most competitive HE courses in the UK. This motivates learners to do well and previous evidence of learners’ successes, reinforces that high aspirations are achievable. Past learners are invited to speak to current learners about their HE study and careers, helping to give an insight into their experiences, successes, difficulties and progression. 2.1.4

How well learners are cared for and supported to achieve their learning goals

Learners are supported closely through small groups (average SSR 1:20) and on a one to one basis at least once each week. Staff develop a good rapport with learners where learners respect and trust their expertise and guidance. There are frequent personal tutorials which focus on personal and career aims including UCAS advice and guidance. In addition to the pastoral care and personal tutorials that the programme team provide, ‘Student Support Coordinators’ (based in the School of Arts 5 days per week) provide support, guidance and referrals to appropriate student support services. 2.1.5

Whether procedures to monitor learners’ participation, progress and attendance lead to prompt action to address identified problems

Attendance and progress are monitored and reported to the learner at assessment points and during one to one personal tutorials to ensure they are aware of their attendance targets. Each learner receives verbal and written feedback on their work during assessment and during weekly tutorials. Clear action plans with goals and deadlines are set by staff and learners. Any concerns from staff regarding learners’ attendance or general progress are logged using a shared secure document and also shared and discussed between themselves as a small team through weekly meetings. Learners are referred to student support services if and when it is appropriate and action is always taken promptly to ensure that learners receive the help and support they need when they need it. Closer involvement of the ALS tutor with the teaching team is planned in order to improve the speed with which action is taken in response to poor attendance and issues with learners’ performance. This is an area we have identified for improvement in our Quality Improvement Plan. 2.2

Staff use their skills and expertise to plan and deliver teaching, learning and support to meet each learner’s needs


How learning is planned to meet individual learners’ needs and makes best use of staff knowledge and skills

Learning is planned to meet individual learners’ needs and ambitions through projects which are tailored to the specific interest of learners even for instance, where only one student would like to pursue transport design, design projects are specifically planned and delivered for this individual learner. These interests are ascertained during the first assessment point when learners identify their pathway specialism having completed the diagnostic and exploratory stage.

Self Assessment Report 2011-12


Projects are also developed and re-written in response to the needs of the learners with particular attention being paid to the areas for development which could be drawing for example. If drawing is limited then a project is dropped into the scheme of work to provide the students with an opportunity to address these issues. We may develop and change the outcomes for certain students if they have needs in other areas to develop. It depends what the students need to improve their overall skills. 2.2.2

How effectively and creatively staff use resources, including accommodation, equipment and technology, and specialist advice and guidance, to promote and support learning

Staff use their subject knowledge and expertise to advise and support teaching and learning in specialist pathways. They are able to design projects across the breadth of aspects of their area for example illustration, graphic design, animation and photography for the overarching pathway of Visual Communication. Most staff have technical expertise and give demonstrations in the use of equipment, techniques and processes relevant to their specialist area. The staff are very resourceful encouraging the use of recycled materials and found objects for some projects. Advice and guidance is constantly being delivered during tutorials and one to one sessions as well as in group sessions with respect to technical processes. Students will be encouraged to keep technical files in the next academic year to have records of what processes they encountered and to provide a means of reference should they need to re-visit certain areas. 2.2.3

The relevant qualifications, training and experience of teachers, trainers, assessors, coaches and support staff

All academic staff possess undergraduate and teaching qualifications and many have postgraduate degrees. Learners benefit from staff being practising artists or designers and their relevant, up to date experience of the specialist pathway they lead. Staff are ‘hands on’ and have a broad range of technical skills in their specialist area. Further support is provided by Technical Specialists who can assist and support students’ individual needs and help them to realise personal projects. 2.2.4

The attention that is paid to the quality and safety of learning resources, particularly in specialist areas and practical settings

The safety of learners is at the heart of everything we do as a School of Arts from safe studio practice to workshop use of equipment tools and machinery, the safe handling and storage of COSH materials. All learners and staff are inducted in Health and Safety procedures including fire evacuation, use of aerosols, first aid response, accident and near miss reporting, manual handing, preventing obstructions and safe disposal of waste. Learners are made aware of the requirement for them to adhere to regulations and that they face disciplinary action should they be in breach of this agreement. Compliance to regulations is important with the extended access of 24 hours where despite all technical workshops being securely closed learners are still required to behave and work responsibly and safely out of hours. The School of Arts has departmental and faculty Health and Safety representatives who report to the University Health and Safety Officer. Health and Safety is included as a permanent item on School and Faculty meeting agendas to ensure regular and prompt reporting of issues. 2.2.5

How effectively learning is monitored during sessions, including where learners are receiving additional learning support

Self Assessment Report 2011-12


Learning is monitored during session through direct observation, questioning and the students own project work. Session styles vary from one to one tutorials through to whole course lectures and so monitoring of learning can be different. However, the students meet with their tutors on a weekly basis to discuss their projects, progress and other issues they may have and this is all recorded on the goolge document shared with the team. The students also make notes in their journals and they are encouraged to repeat back information they have written to make sure it is understandable to them for future reference. Any learners who require additional support are identified in these tutorials and can receive additional support at least once a week depending on the individual learners’ needs. The ALS tutor will meet with students with severe Dyslexia on a weekly basis if necessary and other students on a fortnightly basis. These tutorials are documented on the google document. 2.2.6

The promotion and development of independent learning skills, for example, through the use of a range of technologies, including a virtual learning environment

There has been an increased use of Moodle, Facebook pages, twitter and digital technology by staff in their teaching and learning approaches. Moodle contains all programme materials including Programme Handbook, timetables, project briefs, course information and contextual references. Lectures and project briefs are delivered using power point, video and more traditional references through examples (samples and test pieces), books and hand-outs. IPads and laptops are frequently used in studio teaching and learning where tutors can discuss and share visual references in order to support individual learning and interests. This can extend learners’ research skills and broaden their contextual references. Learners can also share with tutors their own findings of relevant artists, designers and other research material in a direct and immediate way. Wi-Fi is available throughout the building and studios allowing learners’ to access learning through their own mobile devices. Desk top computer stations are also available in the studio and in the digital media workshop. Learners receive induction and additional training in beginners and advance level techniques in adobe creative suit. All learners receive training and develop individual e-portfolios in support of their UCAS applications and as a professional format within which to present their portfolio. The final major project allows learners to employ the skills they have developed in independent learning as they undertake an ambitious six week project which is self-initiated. As part of the professional practice aspect of the final major project and exhibition, learners design their own emagazine page which promotes and describes their own work to an audience. Maintaining staff development to keep staff up to date with knowledge and use of technology in teaching which meets or exceeds that of learners, is a challenge with such rapid change. This is supported through the School of Arts annual Staff Development budget and through the Oxford Centre for Staff and Learning Development; Oxford Brookes’s own in house support and training centre. This is an area we have identified for improvement in our Quality Improvement Plan.

Self Assessment Report 2011-12



Staff initially assess learners’ starting points and monitor their progress, set challenging tasks, and build on and extend learning for all learners


Learners’ additional support needs are identified quickly and accurately early in their programme through effective initial assessment, leading to appropriate planning and support throughout the duration of their programmes

Learners’ needs are identified quickly and accurately through ‘initial tutorials’ during the first week of the programme as part of the induction process. Learners are set a short handwritten assignment in order that a trained assessor in literacy can identify any learners who may benefit from additional support or full dyslexia screening if they have not been screened before. Each year approximately 25- 30 students are screened for dyslexia by the University’s Dyslexia Support Unit. Additional support can then be planned for these newly confirmed and existing dyslexic learners in order that this is in place from the beginning and throughout the programme. This will be a weekly or fortnightly tutorial with the additional learning support tutor. 2.3.2

Staff work with learners to develop individual learning plans that are informed regularly by on-going assessment

All learners work to individual learning plans which locate their own strengths and areas to be developed. These plans are monitored and progress is tracked by both the learner and their tutors. ILPs are referred to and up dated during one to ones, assessments and tutorials and filed with the personal tutor. Staff also work with learners to develop independent learning skills through the use of the students’ reflective journals for reflection, evaluation and identifying work to do in a version of a work plan. The students find this method of work planning suits their working process and allows them to have it with them at all times. This is important because students often have work to do in the evenings at home. Assessment is discussed during tutorials and students discuss their own self-evaluation with the tutor whilst the tutor discusses areas they feel need to be improved. 2.3.3 Learners are set challenging short- and longer-term learning goals that are reviewed and updated regularly Learners are encouraged to contribute to their own goal setting. Short-term goals are set on a weekly basis whilst longer-term goals are set during assessments and after the completion of each project. These are reviewed on a weekly basis, at the end of projects and during assessment points. 2.3.4

Staff assess learners’ performance and progress, and monitor assessment practices to ensure they are timely, regular, fair, informative and reliable

Staff assess learners’ performance and progress through both formative and summative assessments throughout the programme. Formative assessment takes place on a weekly basis when individual learners’ progress is reviewed against the Individual Learning Plan / tutorial record and during the group evaluations every Friday. There are three Summative assessment points during the programme where two members of staff assess the body of work produced as a result of undertaking a series of assignments through project briefs delivered specific to and as evidence of the unit and Edexcel awarding body criteria. Summative assessment for the Exploratory and Pathway Stages involve two members of staff to ensure fairness and parity of marking and to share good practice. Summative assessment for the Confirmatory Stage and in particular the Confirmatory Project, involves separate blind marking by two markers, assessors Self Assessment Report 2011-12


marking across all four pathways and team discussion with the HoD as IV where there is discrepancy between marks. All assessments are recorded by tutors and all learners are provided with written (typed) feedback on their strengths and areas to be improved. Learners are involved with action planning for improvement in response to this feedback. Assessments are internally verified by either the Course Leader (Exploratory and Pathway stages) or the Head of School (Confirmatory stage). Assessment processes are explained, check lists for assessment evidence are given to learners and learners are aware of the preparation they need to undertake to be ready and organised for their assessment in order for it to be useful and constructive. External examiner reports consistently confirmed that marking standards and assessment processes were fair, rigorous, in line with Edexcel criteria and other FAD programmes nationally. Learner View Results (Feb 2013): My work is assessed regularly – 35% strongly agree, 48% agree,15% disagree and 2% strongly disagree This is an area we have identified for improvement in our Quality Improvement Plan. 2.3.5

Planned assessment/assignment activities build on previous knowledge and extend learning for all learners

During assessments, tutors recap learning and encourage learners to reflect and analyse their development through the completion of their ‘student evaluation’ prior to each assessment. This helps learners to locate their own development to date, to celebrate their strengths and to evaluate areas for improvement. The assessment process is considered to be integral to the learning experience and is explained to learners that it is more than an opportunity to ‘get their marks’, but instead should build on their learning and be a valuable process in their improvement, meeting goals and future careers as artists and designers. Learners’ action planning in response to tutors’ feedback helps to build on and extend their level of understanding.


Learners understand how to improve as a result of frequent, detailed and accurate feedback from staff following assessment of their learning


The extent to which learners understand their progress towards their learning goals and what they need to do to improve

Learners are familiar with unit criteria and learning outcomes as these are introduced and included in the project briefs and regularly referred to throughout all stages of the brief. Learners are encourages to complete a self-evaluation prior to and as a basis for the assessment. Learners are encouraged as part of that self-evaluation to recognise their own strengths and to locate areas to be developed and improved with reference to any criteria not met. Learner View Results (Feb 2013): I am given feedback that helps me to improve – 20% strongly agree, 58% agree, 18% disagree and 3% strongly disagree

Self Assessment Report 2011-12



How well learning objectives are understood by learners and progress is recorded in feedback to learners

Staff provide both verbal and written feedback which is typed and emailed within a few days of the summative assessment. The assessment feedback form includes clear and useful advice for improvement and recognition of strengths. Learners are asked to produce an action plan which builds on existing and prior strengths and areas for improvement in response to staff feedback and advice. This learning and continuing improvement is advanced through individual learning plans and through subsequent checking during the next assessment point where previous assessment records are referred to and progression is tracked using an assessment tracking document. 2.4.3

The feedback on learners’ work, such as the accuracy and consistency of marking, and the correction of spelling, grammatical errors and inaccuracies

The programme team are continuously reviewing the quality of their feedback for its accuracy, parity, clarity and useful content. The Course Leader has introduced a new assessment record form which encourages the writing of helpful feedback through its format and its use of language. Examples of good practice have been shared between the team and a consistent standard of quantity/length of written feedback has been discussed and agreed to ensure parity for all learners. 2.4.4

Learners’ understanding of what they have to do to improve their skills and knowledge, which is checked and reflected in subsequent tasks and activities

Learners are asked to produce an action plan which builds on existing and prior strengths and areas for improvement in response to staff feedback and advice. This learning and continuing improvement is advanced through individual learning plans and through subsequent checking during the next assessment point where previous assessment records are referred to and progression is tracked using an assessment tracking document. This learning is verified and reinforced through subsequent, more in depth project briefs, live projects and activities such as field trips or group projects.

Self Assessment Report 2011-12



Teaching and learning develop English, mathematics and functional skills, and support the achievement of learning goals and career aims


Teaching and learning support learners to develop the English, mathematics and functional skills they need to achieve their main learning goals and career aims

Teaching and learning supports and promotes the development of English and Mathematics as an integral aspect of being an artist or designer and as a core skill for higher level study and employment. It is therefore appropriate for these skills to be embedded and integrated within schemes of work, project briefs, technical workshops and group activities. 2.5.2

Learners’ progress in English, mathematics, language and functional skills is monitored and reviewed, and their work is marked carefully

All staff mark learners’ essays and possess the literacy and numeric skills in order to do this. Additional support for English and Maths is available from the ALS tutor, subject tutors, Course Leader, Dyslexia support unit and the ‘up-grade’ service in the library. Learners whose first spoken language is not English can receive extra English support from the library and through the International Office. Their skills are monitored through the written work in journals, personal statement, exhibition review, essay and statement of intent. Corrections are made on the work if needed. 2.5.3

Learners appreciate the importance of improving their English, mathematics and functional skills as appropriate, in the context of their learning goals and life ambitions

Learners are made aware of the importance of on-going development and improvement needed with English and Mathematics in order that they can fully achieve in both theory and practice aspects of their study of art and design at degree level and to evidence these skills for employment. This awareness is developed through contextual studies lectures, study skills sessions, project briefings and technical workshops in both semester one and two and throughout the programme. Strategies to engage those who enjoy employing these skills less than others, include making writing short and concise, visual and creative, on topics of their choice and relevant to their areas of interest. Where necessary learners can give verbal presentations and/or use audio methods. This is identified in our quality improvement plan.

Self Assessment Report 2011-12



Appropriate and timely information, advice and guidance supports learning effectively


Timely information, advice and guidance provided to learners on their next steps in training, education and employment

From the early stages of the programme, learners receive career and subject specific information in order to help them make informed choices about their next step in applying through UCAS for higher education courses. Learners are given advice through timetabled sessions of when they should; be making university visits/attending open days, registering on UCAS, writing effective personal statements and deadlines for UCAS applications. All these key dates are given to learners on their timetables at the beginning of the year. Learners are guided through the UCAS process step by step. Learners receive guidance and training on how to complete UCAS forms and on how to write an effective personal statement specific to their application and subject area. Learners receive an individual list provided by staff which suggest appropriate courses and institutes for the learner whist considering their personality traits, interests and the best environment for them to thrive in. Learners are encouraged to ask themselves a series of diagnostic questions such as:     2.6.2

Would I like to live and study in a lively city or somewhere quiet by the coast? Do I need more structured teaching or can I exist on a programme which promotes more independent learning? How do I learn best? Can I afford to live and study in London and will I need to get a job? The provider’s pre-course information and advice and that provided through links with other relevant organisations

In addition to the pre-course information available on the website and in prospectuses, Prospective learners have the opportunity to visit University Open Days and attend presentations given by experienced staff about the programme and where it may lead to in terms of HE study and careers. The team provide advice and answer questions from learners and their parents. We receive very good feedback from parents and learners about how useful these are through our feedback questionnaires and by email. The team also make visits to local schools to present the programme to years 12 and 13 students and to answer any questions. Current learners are also encouraged to return to their previous schools with their portfolios to show and describe their experience of the programme. The programme team also provide a ‘Portfolio Preparation Short Course’ (there is a charge for this course to cover staff costs for teaching on 3 Saturdays) for learners who feel they need help with their interview portfolio and no fee taster days and workshops for local feeder schools as part of the widening participation activity at Oxford Brookes University. The team would like to offer more widening participation activities and liaison work with local schools in order to broaden awareness for learners considering studying art and design and to encourage those learners who might not otherwise consider studying at a University. This is an area that we have identified for improvement in our Quality Improvement Plan.

Self Assessment Report 2011-12



Guidance and induction to introduce learners to the structure and demands of their programme, and their rights and responsibilities as a learner

All learners attend a structured Induction programme where they are introduced to the requirements of the programme and expectations of being a student in the School of Arts at Oxford Brookes University. The demands of this fast paced, intensive one year programme are made very clear both during this induction week and at pre-course information sessions. All this information along with learners’ rights and responsibilities are made available to learners through the Programme Handbook. Learners are taken through key aspects of the Handbook and asked to read all of it carefully at the start of their programme. The University has a Programme Handbook template to ensure consistency and the Faculty Academic Quality team monitors quality and standards. 2.6.4

Planning to provide coherent progression routes for learners

Staff check UCAS forms and track learners progress and University offers received. Staff maintain up to date knowledge of HE programmes through attending degree shows in the UK, UCAS Design your future fair, New Designers, Free Range and are therefore able to give useful and accurate advice about the most appropriate programmes for each individual learner. This process is planned, managed and delivered using an organised timeline with milestones in order that learners do not miss any opportunities or deadlines. The main aim of the programme is to assist learners in their progression and study in Art and Design at HE level. 2.7

Equality and diversity are promoted through teaching and learning


Teaching, learning and assessment promote equality, support diversity and tackle discrimination, victimisation, harassment, stereotyping or bullying

Equality and diversity is promoted through all aspects of the programme. This begins with the inclusion of the University Equality and Diversity policy in the Programme Handbook and familiarising all learners with what is considered to be unacceptable behaviour during group work during the induction programme. The University Student Conduct Policy also outlines the expectation and requirement of learners to be aware and to adhere to the Equality and Diversity policy. 2.7.2 Staff use materials and teaching methods that foster good relations and are sensitive to and promote equality of opportunity Staff include a broad range of contextual and cultural references and role models which support Equality and Diversity in their project briefs, lectures and presentations and which promote equal and fair opportunity for all. When industry professionals are approached to give talks to learners, their own diversity and difference is considered as an opportunity to challenge stereotypes and to broaden learners’ awareness of equality and diversity issues. Learners are encouraged to contribute to and participate in opportunities such as the University’s Human Rights Film and Photography Festival and other exhibitions which celebrate equality and diversity.

Self Assessment Report 2011-12



Staff are aware of and plan for individual needs in teaching or training sessions

Staff are aware of any specific or relevant diversity in their learner groups such as different cultural backgrounds, religious beliefs, age or disability and will make adjustment to positively accommodate any differences and plan to embrace this diversity in their teaching. Learners are encouraged to broaden their awareness of Equality and Diversity through project themes, visiting challenging exhibitions, watching documentaries and film and through international field trips. The University is a very international and multi-cultural place of study so learners are surrounded by opportunities to engage positively with equality and diversity. Learners are aware of how they should report an incident should they be the subject of any discrimination, victimisation, harassment, stereotyping or bullying and that this behaviour will not be tolerated by the University. To date we have not had any complaints or reported incidents of discrimination, victimisation, harassment, stereotyping or bullying from learners from this programme. Learner View Results (Feb 2013): I am treated fairly – 30% strongly agree, 67% agree and 3% disagree.

Self Assessment Report 2011-12



Effectiveness of leadership and management

Grade: 2 Good


Leaders and managers demonstrate an ambitious vision, have high expectations for what all learners can achieve, and attain high standards of quality and performance


The clarity of vision, corporate mission and strategic direction demonstrated and implemented by leaders and governing or supervisory bodies (if applicable) that aspire to excellence, sustain improvement and raise expectations for all users

The University has a clear vision and mission statement reinforced through its 2020 strategy which focuses on four strategic goals: 1. Student Experience Oxford Brookes University will be a university that enables a student experience of the highest standard possible. 2. Research and knowledge transfer Oxford Brookes University is committed to externally recognised world-leading research which is exploited and disseminated for the benefit of its communities. 3. External Links and Impact We will be a university dedicated to improving the human condition in Oxfordshire and around the world. 4. Infrastructure and services We will be a university characterised by its sector-leading, high quality, sustainable and cost-effective services, operating within a culture of continuous improvement. The University also has a Strategy for Enhancing the Student Experience (SESE) which represents an important articulation of how it will ensure that learning and teaching at Oxford Brookes will continue to be at the leading edge. It has two key strategic objectives:  

We will ensure that learning and teaching are at the leading edge and relevant to contemporary contexts. We will provide an environment where students are proactively engaged in shaping their experience through influencing learning and extra-curricular policy, processes and outcomes.

It is delivered through the ‘Programme to Enhance the Student Experience’ (PESE) to help Oxford Brookes achieve the student experience commitments set out in its 2020 strategy and the Strategy for Enhancing the Student Experience. There are 12 projects all of which are university-wide, evidenced based and designed to deliver outcomes that will provide a material difference to every Brookes students by 2015.

Self Assessment Report 2011-12


The 12 projects are as follows: 1. PETAL – Peer enhancement of teaching and learning 2. New Virtual Learning Environment (VLE): from Blackboard to Moodle 3. University wide modular feedback systems 4. APTT – Academic Performance tracking tool 5. Graduate Attributes 6. Grading and assessment 7. Student engagement with the Institution 8. Student led initiatives 9. Accreditation of work and community related learning 10. Enhancing the Brookes experience in associate college partners 11. Student Life 12. Engaging first-year undergraduates with critical self-awareness All aspects of academic programmes are required to demonstrate alignment with the SESE in their planning, design, learning and teaching and assessment. 3.1.2

How well leaders promote the ambition of high achievement for all learners

Academic leaders promote the ambitions of high achievement for all learners through the University’s SESE and PESE, senior management conferences, staff development away days, development training programmes, team and departmental meetings and through the faculty and department planning and development documents such as operational and strategic plans. Programme Leaders and academic staff promote the ambition for high achievement through programme team meetings, programme design and documentation and through ‘Programme Annual Reviews’ and ‘Periodic Reviews’ which are monitored by the Faculty Academic Policy and Quality Office. Leaders also promote the ambitions of high achievement for all learners through celebrating learners’ success through newsletters and press releases, prize giving and awards, by encouraging learners to enter local and national competitions and by seeking opportunities for learners through external links and industry. A key aspect of the role of Head of School of Arts is to seek and secure opportunities for learners which will enhance their student experience and engagement, develop learning, attributes and skills and to provide professional practice opportunities to improve the employability of learners. There are many examples of where leaders and academics have created/secured these opportunities including public exhibitions at the Pitt Rivers Museum, placements and part-time employment with local arts organisations including Modern Art Oxford, competitions and taking part in Oxford Fashion Week. 3.1.3

How well leaders raise standards through clear and realistic strategies for planning, developing and improving learning programmes and services

It is the responsibility of all those with leadership roles to implement University strategies during planning, design and delivery of programmes with an aim to raise standards and improve learning programmes. Evidence of standards being raised as a result of this implementation, is monitored and measured through ‘Learner View’ responses, comparative data for retention, achievement and progression and learner questionnaires giving programme feedback.

Self Assessment Report 2011-12



Whether demanding targets are set and met throughout the organisation, and quality and performance are monitored rigorously

Demanding targets are set during Annual Review Meetings usually held in October or November of each year. This is supported by the University Academic Policy and Quality Office. Programme Annual Reviews feed into and are scrutinised by Faculty and University Academic Enhancement and Standards Committees. Although Diploma students do not complete NSS, they are encouraged to complete ‘Learner View’ and give feedback through student reps at least once a semester during feedback form meetings with the Head of School. This is recorded by student Support Coordinators who minute actions and circulate to students. All Diploma students take part in regular feedback questionnaires throughout the programme and at the end of their period of study. Student feedback is included in planning for subsequent years with the aim of raising standards in areas identified as needing to be improved. The Head of School would like to improve how learners’ feedback is made more transparent for learners at key stages of the programme. This is an area that we have identified for improvement in our Quality Improvement Plan. 3.1.5

How well staff at all levels demonstrate high ambitions for all learners and a commitment to securing sustained improvement

The BTEC diploma has a national and international reputation for being one of the most competitive programmes to be accepted as an applicant and for the ambitious nature of the work produced as a result of challenging teaching and high engagement. Staff are highly motivated and in turn have high expectations of the learners and teach accordingly to help learners achieve high quality outcomes. The Course Leader promotes continuous improvement and builds in opportunities for the staff team to do this at regular course meetings, programme planning and review ‘Away Days’. This is supported by the Head of School who works closely with the Course Leader to provide advice and guidance (HoS has 15 years of experience in FE education particularly in BTEC Diploma Foundation Studies in Art and Design) and on-going evaluation of learners’ progress. 3.2

Where there is a governing or supervisory body, inspectors will consider their effectiveness, including how well they:


know the provider and understand its strengths and weaknesses through appropriate involvement in self-assessment


support and strengthen the provider’s leadership and contribute to shaping its strategic direction


Provide challenge and hold the senior leader and other senior managers to account for improving the quality of learning and the effectiveness of performance management systems


work efficiently, including through having a systematic approach to meeting statutory duties and approving and monitoring priorities that are focused on improving teaching, learning and assessment

Self Assessment Report 2011-12


Governance Oxford Brookes University (as Oxford Polytechnic) was established as an independent Higher Education Corporation by the Education Reform Act 1988. Subsequently the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 enabled the institution to award its own degrees and to acquire the title of University. The Articles of Government define the responsibilities of the Board of Governors and Academic Board. While the Board of Governors is responsible for the determination of the educational character and mission of the University, Academic Board has responsibility for academic matters, including academic standards. The Academic Enhancement and Standards Committee (AESC), holds primary responsibility for the functional operation of the powers of Academic Board in relation to undergraduate and taught postgraduate students. AESC is responsible to the Academic Board for policy and processes for assuring, maintaining and enhancing the standards of the University’s taught academic programmes (including collaborative provision) that lead to awards or credit of the University. It is also responsible to the Academic Board for enhancing the quality of all aspects of the students’ experience, including especially (but not limited to) admissions, learning, teaching and assessment, support and guidance, progression and retention. Each of the four faculties in the University has a Faculty AESC Committee responsible for: 

Overseeing the local implementation of University teaching and learning strategies, in particular the Strategy for Enhancing the Student Experience; and for promoting and disseminating good practice in teaching and learning across the Faculty and identifying good practice for wider dissemination; Ensuring the effective operation of the University’s processes for managing quality and standards at local level and for ensuring that timely and appropriate action is taken in response to the outcomes of those processes; Facilitating communication within each Faculty and between the faculties and Academic Board via the University AESC.

The Faculty AESC (F-AESC) is accountable to the University AESC on academic issues. The F-AESC also reports to the Faculty Executive Group on issues which require executive action or decisions on the allocation of resources. The most recent Institutional Audit of Oxford Brookes University by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) was carried out in November 2010. This audit resulted in the following judgements about quality and standards: 

Confidence can reasonably be placed in the soundness of the institution's present and likely future management of the academic standards of its awards. Confidence can reasonably be placed in the soundness of the institution's present and likely future management of the quality of the learning opportunities available to students. These judgements confirm that academic governance arrangements in the University are robust and secure.

Self Assessment Report 2011-12



Leaders and managers improve teaching and learning through rigorous performance management and appropriate professional development


Strategies are effective in improving the standard of teaching, learning and assessment

Previous Annual Reviews inform subsequent reviews and are an effective and systematic way of maintaining continuing improvement. The process includes the entire staff team including the Course Leader, student representatives, programme administrators, support and library staff. The Head of School attends all Annual Reviews and reads all Annual Review reports. The Head of School will require programme teams to report on the progress of any resulting actions. 3.3.2

Leaders and managers review and develop constantly the performance of teachers and trainers through dialogue, coaching, mentoring and support and training

All teaching staff including associate part-time lecturers take part in teaching and learning lesson observations once per semester. Lessons are observed by the Head of School and another senior colleague (from a different department) and areas of good practice and areas to be improved are identified and recorded. Supportive feedback and constructive advice is given to each member of staff in one to one sessions immediately after the observation. An indicative grade is given with a clear action plan of what the staff member needs to do in order to improve particular areas of their teaching and learning. Good practice is gathered from all observations and disseminated across all staff both verbally and in a written report. Staff needing development are identified as part of the lesson observation record and the annual Personal development Review process (PDR) and arrangements are put in place through the university ‘Oxford Centre for Staff and Learning Development’. Staff also team teach and observe each other informally throughout the entire programme and more formally with recorded feedback from peer observation twice a year. 3.3.3

Systematic and rigorous performance management is effective, including using appropriate procedures for tackling underperformance

Where underperformance is identified it is dealt with through the Faculty Academic Enhancement and Standards Committee. In response to underperformance, programme teams are required to produce a quality improvement plan with clear goals and deadlines for actions. This is reported to and monitored on a regular basis by the Head of School. 3.3.4

Leaders, governors and supervisory bodies (where appropriate) monitor the quality of the experience provided for learners and their outcomes

The Assistant Dean for Student Experience, Head of School, Course Leader and External Examiner, all monitor the quality of the learner experience and their outcomes. Monitoring occurs continuously through all of the processes mentioned above, throughout the programme, at several points through the semester and on an annual basis. Student reps attend Subject Committee meetings and minutes are recorded through the AESC. Any concerns or issues arising are communicated and dealt with during one to ones with staff and during team meetings. The Head of School discusses any serious concerns with the Associate Dean or the PVC Dean for the Faculty.

Self Assessment Report 2011-12



Leaders seek out and share best practice, contributing to a coherent programme of professional development

Best practice is gathered by leaders during lesson observations (undertaken by the Head of School with another Senior colleague from another department), from learner feedback during student forum meetings (where learners meet with the Head of School without any other staff present except for the Student Support Coordinator who minutes the meeting and records agreed actions and good practice identified by learners), from attending annual reviews, team meetings and reading external examiners’ reports. Examples of best practice are disseminated across programmes within the department through Annual Review Documents, team meetings, School meetings, PETAL (Peer enhancement of teaching and learning) projects and staff development away days. Good practice could be better documented and shared more widely beyond the School of Arts. This is an area that we have identified for improvement in our Quality Improvement Plan. 3.3.6

Resources, including staff, accommodation, facilities and technologies, are developed and used to support learning

The School of Arts receives a budget for staff development every year with the common aim of improving learning and teaching. This budget is used to resource all aspects of staff development including areas identified for improvement through the quality monitoring processes, to up-skill staff in the use of IT and new technologies, to provide specific training to art and design practice, to induct new staff, and to support individual staff in acquiring theexperience, skills and qualifications they need to carry out their roles. Accommodation, facilities and equipment are reviewed every year. The Faculty has an IT replacement strategy from which the School of Arts has already benefitted from with the replacement of new computers in the editing suite and new computers in the Foundation Art and Design studio in order that new dyslexia software could be installed to support learning. Larger resourcing issues are met through the Faculty’s capital bid process. 3.3.7

Managers ensure that staff have the experience and skills needed to carry out their roles

All new staff are required as part of their induction and probation period, to complete mandatory training in Health and Safety and University policies. All staff who teach on the Diploma programme must have a teaching qualification or be currently undertaking one. The University’s Personal Development Review (PDR) process records the reflections of staff in reviewing their teaching, research and where appropriate leadership. Areas to be developed are identified and discussed as part of the PDR process and further development is agreed and actioned by the reviewer. The Course Leader and Head of School promote and organise specific training sessions in order to develop staff roles, skills and expertise. Head of School has one to one meetings every 3 weeks with the Course Leader to provide opportunities for professional dialogue and to provide any support and advice needed. Self Assessment Report 2011-12



Leaders and managers evaluate the quality of the provision through robust self-assessment, taking account of users’ views, and use the findings to promote and develop capacity for sustainable improvement


The provider has a sound track record of improvement and has developed the capacity to sustain improvement

Oxford Brookes University and the School of Arts have a proven track record of sustained improvement and there has been no significant decline in learners’ retention, achievement, progression or satisfaction for the Diploma programme over the past 3 years. 2011-12 Left/ failed with some award

Student count

Left within 12 months

Failed within 12 months

Left after 12 months












Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment











Student count

Left within 12 months

Failed within 12 months

Left after 12 months












Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment











Student count

Left within 12 months

Failed within 12 months

Left after 12 months












Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment












Failed Transferred Completed Still Completed after 12 out (within studies studying studies months Brookes) (students)



Failed Transferred Completed Still Completed after 12 out (within studies studying studies months Brookes) (students)

Left/ failed with some award



Failed Transferred Completed Still Completed after 12 out (within studies studying studies months Brookes) (students)

Left/ failed with some award

Learner View Results (Feb 2013): Would you recommend this provider to a friend? – 95% responded YES and 5% responded NO.

Self Assessment Report 2011-12



Leaders and managers evaluate the quality of any subcontracted provision through rigorous self-assessment, taking account of users’ views, and use the findings to promote and develop capacity for sustainable improvement

Not Applicable. 3.4.3

There are effective arrangements for quality assurance that maintain high standards and identify and tackle underperformance

The Academic Registry provides many of the academic services within the University in relation to both undergraduate and postgraduate students. It is the central department responsible for student records and works closely with the academic schools and other central directorates. Key aspects of their work include the oversight and co-ordination of the validation and approval of new programmes, quality assurance and enhancement, admissions, enrolments, the organisation of examinations and conferment of awards, student records and associated support systems and the maintenance and development of academic regulations, policies and procedures, including the provision of advice and guidance to students through the Academic Management Office. The Academic Registry is led by the Academic Registrar and organised into seven operational offices which are led by three Deputy Academic Registrars and four Assistant Academic Registrar. Effective arrangements are in place for quality assurance including Annual Reviews, Periodic Reviews, Learner View, student feedback forums and learner feedback questionnaires. Where course level underperformance is identified, it is dealt with through the Faculty Quality team in conjunction with Academic Quality and Policy Office. The key responsibilities of APQO are:     

Development and administration of University policies and frameworks for assuring academic standards and enhancing the quality of taught provision Support for Schools in fulfilling their devolved responsibilities for quality management Coordination of arrangements for the approval, monitoring and review of collaborative provision Administration of the University's external examining arrangements Management and administration of the University's arrangements for academic and corporate governance. In response to underperformance, programme teams are required to produce a quality improvement plan with clear goals and deadlines for actions. This is reported to and monitored on a regular basis by the Head of School and Associate Dean for Student Experience. 3.4.4

The provider’s self-assessment process is rigorous and the subsequent evaluations are appropriately detailed and accurate

The Self-assessment process is inclusive of all staff members and requires their critical reflection and contribution to the Quality Improvement Plan. Accurate data is provided by the University’s new Academic Performance Tracking Tool which is readily available for all staff holding leadership and management roles. This data is used to analyse and evaluate learners’ profiles, performance and progression and in the generating of action plans for improvement. Self Assessment Report 2011-12


Quality Improvement Plans are reviewed at least twice per semester during Subject Committees and feed into Annual Reviews and programme planning Away Days. The programme team would benefit from all permanent staff members (Pathway leaders) having access to the new APTT and need to receive training in the use of this performance tracking tool. This is an area we have identified for improvement in our Quality Improvement Plan. Self assessment is also undertaken as part of the University’s periodic review process. The periodic review process complements the University’s annual review exercise, reflecting the sector expectation articulated by the QAA that higher education institutions should “periodically undertake a broader review of the continuing validity and relevance of programmes offered”. On-campus provision is reviewed on a six-year cycle, in line with the QAA institutional audit/review cycle. The periodic review process is undertaken by the University to provide assurance of the academic health and good management of the provision leading to its awards, but may be aligned with periodic professional body reviews, where appropriate, by including additional PSRB representation on review panels. The periodic review process has the following aims:     

To encourage staff to reflect on the academic currency of the provision under review; To assess the effectiveness of programmes in enabling learners to achieve the intended learning outcomes; To identify and disseminate good practice in programme delivery and learner support; To identify areas for enhancement; If any programmes are to be closed, the review panel should assure itself that appropriate action is being taken to protect the interests of the final cohort/s of learners.

The key document, providing the basis of the review, is the self-evaluation document. This document should be focused, evidence-based and evaluative, enabling the panel to develop a good understanding of the provision under review. The evidence underpinning the SED should also be provided. As a minimum, this evidence should include:           

Self-evaluation documents Data on progression, achievement, and graduate employment should be presented with a commentary in the SED; Data on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion should also be included in the SED – guidance on addressing equality issues can be found at Programme handbooks for the programmes under review; Current programme specifications for all programmes under review; Staff profiles/CVs for all staff teaching on the programmes; External examiners’ reports (and responses), and annual programme review reports, for the last three years; Summaries of any student surveys carried out within the Department; Summaries of any feedback received via employer surveys, if applicable; Programme committee minutes for the last three years. The School of Arts are due to have a Periodic Review in May 2013.

Self Assessment Report 2011-12



Learners are fully engaged in reviewing, reflecting on and improving provision the analysis and evaluation of data on learners’ performance, progress and progression are used effectively to improve standards

Although Diploma students do not complete NSS, they are encouraged to complete ‘Learner View’ and give feedback through student reps at least once a semester during feedback forum meetings with the Head of School. This is recorded by Student Support Coordinators who minute actions and circulate to students. All Diploma students take part in regular feedback questionnaires throughout the programme and at the end of their period of study. Student feedback is included in planning for subsequent years with the aim of raising standards in areas identified as needing to be improved. Changes and improvements made in response to learners’ feedback are reported once every semester under the ‘You said we did’ section in the School of Arts newsletter which is circulated to all learners and staff. Learners, as course reps attend team meetings and Annual Reviews and report on the views and experiences of their fellow learners. 3.4.6

Quality improvement plans include ambitious and realistic targets, and associated actions that show how the provision will be developed for learners

Targets for retention, achievement and progression are set and agreed as part of the Annual Review process and included in the review document. Where other areas need to be improved, for example gender ratio balance or BME ratios are concerns, further targets are set and actions identified to improve these areas. Actions plans for improvement are an integral aspect of Annual Reviews and Quality Improvement Plans and are included in all aspects of programme planning. See Section C. Quality Improvement plan 3.4.7

The implementation and impact of actions to improve quality are monitored and evaluated

Annual Reviews, Quality Improvement Plans and subsequent action plans are monitored throughout the programme and at key quality review points; at the beginning of the programme as part of the University Annual Review process and at the end as part of the School’s annual planning process. Impact and evidence of improvement are also monitored through University ‘Challenge Meetings’ where each Faculty undergoes a review with the Senior Management team and the Vice Chancellor. The impact of actions are evaluated through learner feedback questionnaires and measured through the analyses of data using the Academic Performance Tracking Tool (APTT). Actions for improvement are monitored through the subject committee meetings.

Self Assessment Report 2011-12



Leaders and managers successfully plan, establish and manage the curriculum and learning programmes to meet the needs and interests of learners, employers and the local and national community


How well data and information on learners’ and employers’ needs, and local and national priorities, are used to review and plan the provision

Data, statistics and relevant reports about the creative industries are frequently referred to using resources such as industry research and analyses from Creative Choices and the government Department for Culture, Media and Sport and Creative Skillset. This data provides useful and current information for learners and the career choices they will make. This information, combined with advice and market research undertaken with industry links provides valuable research with which to use in the review, design and planning of new and existing programmes. The School of Arts would benefit from receiving advice and support from an Industry Advisory Board to ensure that programmes are industry relevant and its learners are industry ready. We aim to have this in place next year. This is an area we have identified for improvement in our Quality Improvement Plan. 3.5.2

Whether learning programmes are accessible in terms of timing, location, mode of delivery and duration, and are structured to provide a coherent and substantive course of study at different levels with a variety of interesting and useful activities to meet learners’ individual needs, including for those underrepresented in learning and those with learning difficulties and/or disabilities

The Diploma programme is designed to meet the needs of local learners and learners that come from further afield and who want to study art and design. The programme starts at a time which allows local learners to arrive promptly, to drop off any children to school and also to be able to access public transport easily. Learners who do not live locally are entitled to a place in any one of the University’s halls of residence. The programme only offers full time mode of delivery due to the small provision and relatively small programme team. The curriculum is carefully managed by the Course Leader ensuring that the content, range and flexibility (where possible on the one year programme) is considered, in order that all learners can make the most of the opportunities that the programme has to offer. The Course Leader has strengthened the support available to dyslexic students this year through the following improvements: 

Increased dyslexia workshops with more frequent one to one tutorials with the ALS tutor  Improved frequency and access to immediate communication and awareness about students with dyslexia or other disabilities across the team through the development of a new shared document which is updated weekly (2012-13)  New practices to support dyslexic students such as releasing project briefs for earlier reading on the Moodle VLE and new format of briefs with clearer stages (2012-13)  Installation of new software on new computers to support dyslexic students in the Diploma studio. (2012-13) This programme has a low ratio of learners from BME groups compared to other groups and low numbers of male learners compared to females. This is an area we have identified for improvement in our Quality Improvement Plan.

Self Assessment Report 2011-12



Whether learning programmes contain appropriate attention to improving learners’ English, mathematics and functional skills and ensuring development of their employability skills

Please see 1.3.1, 2.5.1, 2.5.3 3.5.4

The effectiveness of curriculum management in ensuring that the range, content and flexibility of the learning offer provides all learners with choice and opportunities for progression to higher levels of study and employment

Please see 1.4.1, 1.4.2, 1.4.3, 1.4.4 3.5.5

The extent to which learners are on the appropriate courses or learning programmes

The appropriateness of the programme for each learner is ascertained through open day visits, opportunities to attend short taster courses, portfolio viewings and learner and parent consultation with staff. Learners can read accessible programme literature, speak to current learners and see examples of their work and progression during visits, open days and end of year exhibitions. Learners also return to previous schools and colleges to give talks about their experiences of the programme and to help potential applicants to decide whether the programme is the right choice for them. We have a good rapport with local school and are members of the Oxford Art Teach organisation; a forum for the development of art and design pedagogy in secondary schools where we run development workshops which help to inform school teachers of the options available for their sixth form students and offer course and career advice and guidance for teachers to promote to learners and as continuing professional development. 3.5.6

How well learning programmes are planned and managed

The main planning activity for the programme takes place in June at the ‘Subject Away Day’ following the final week of the previous cohort in order that the learner feedback which is gathered during the final week can be incorporated into the planning stage and also to ensure that everything is well organised and prepared for the new cohort. The Course Leader takes the lead on planning whilst being supported by and inclusive of the Head of School and the programme team. The Course Leader is charged with constantly evaluating how the team can improve on planning and managing the team, the programme and its resources. Resources including staffing, teaching rooms, studios, technical facilities and materials are booked, arranged and organised well in advance. The programme is well managed and learners are clear about all aspects of their study including how they are taught and assessed, the different stages of the programme, the units they are undertaking at any given time, timetables, project deadlines, forthcoming assessments, timings of and payments for field trips, UCAS deadlines and application processes. 3.5.7

The flexibility of arrangements for training and assessment to suit learners’ and employers’ needs

There are no employers connected to this programme.

Self Assessment Report 2011-12



Leaders and managers actively promote equality and diversity, tackle bullying and discrimination, and narrow the achievement gap


Equality and diversity aspects are built into the provider’s strategic plans, the impact of plans is monitored and follow-up action is taken to tackle areas for improvement

The University policy for Equality and Diversity is built into all operational aspects, delivery of programmes, documentation, planning and strategic development of the School of Arts. Equality and Diversity is monitored through Annual Reviews, Periodic Reviews, Selfassessment Reviews and Personal Development Reviews (undertaken by every member of staff twice a year). As a result of these processes and the analyses of relevant data (which is available through APTT), areas for improvement are identified and action plans are put in place and monitored through regular subsequent reviews. In addition, the Directorate of Human Resources will annually assess the effectiveness of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy through collection and analysis of data to produce annual reports to the Academic Enhancement and Standards Committee, Academic Board, Executive Board and the Board of Governors. Data, conclusions and recommendations will feed into the University’s strategic planning cycle. The data published annually includes for the university:       3.6.2

its equality, diversity and inclusion objectives and action plan. the profile of the staff and learner population across a range of the University’s ‘protected characteristics’ (transgender profiles are not published); learner applications, acceptances, progression and attainment of degrees and qualifications across a range of the protected characteristics; recruitment and selection activities offered to staff; complaints, linked to the range of protected characteristics, including harassment and bullying, grievances and disciplinary proceedings for staff and learners; staff equality training. Appropriate policies and procedures are implemented to actively promote equality and diversity among staff, learners, employers and other partners

Oxford Brookes University has adopted equality, diversity and inclusion as core values and places all its policy development in the context of the objectives of:   

ensuring that all individuals who come into contact with the University, whether as employees, learners or in other capacities, are treated with dignity and respect, ensuring that the opportunities the University provides for learning, personal development and employment are made available on a non-discriminatory basis, providing a safe, supportive and welcoming environment for learners, staff and visitors.

The University seeks through all its policies and actions to be a genuinely inclusive organisation, and draws for this on good practice throughout the Higher Education sector and in the wider economy. The objective is to integrate the principles of equal treatment and promotion of diversity into all aspects of the University’s day-to-day life. All aspects of Equality and Diversity are actively promoted and understood as an important aspect of staff roles and responsibilities. Learners are made aware of Equality and Diversity through the inclusion of the university’s ‘Equality and Diversity and Inclusion Policy’ in the Programme Handbook, group work and related project work. Self Assessment Report 2011-12



Training in equality and diversity is effective and leaders, managers, governors or supervisory bodies (where appropriate), staff and learners understand their roles and responsibilities in relation to equality and diversity

Equal opportunities and diversity (EOD) principles are embedded into many of the essential training programmes delivered by OCLSD. The introduction day, recruitment and selection courses and the Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching in Higher Education all contain elements that focus on the rights and responsibilities of staff with regard to EOD at Oxford Brookes (see section on essential workshops). The University also runs a wide range of courses that aim to raise awareness, improve understanding, and/or develop skills and expertise in the field of EOD. The University expects allits staff to:      

promote equality, diversity and inclusion in all learning settings develop learners’ understanding and realisation of equality, diversity and inclusion ensure understanding of this policy and seek guidance if there are any questions; promote equality, diversity and inclusion for others and strive to create a safe supportive and welcoming environment; challenge inappropriate behaviour or discrimination; report unacceptable behaviour in accordance with the University’s policies and procedures.

The University expects all its Managers and Leaders to:        

ensure that the aims and the values embodied in this policy statement are appropriately reflected in all job descriptions, person specifications and annual personal development reviews; have due regard to equality issues in all decision-making; investigate whether any groups, including people with ’protected characteristics’, have particular needs in relation to accessing services; ensure that due consideration is given to equality, diversity and inclusion within their own sphere of influence; promote an environment where respect is shown to all, and mutual understanding is fostered; challenge any actions or behaviour which is in conflict with the values and principles laid down in this policy; ensure staff and learners know how to report any instances of discrimination, bullying and harassment without fear of victimisation; deal with complaints fairly, thoroughly, quickly and confidentially.

The University will draw upon research undertaken by the Centre for Diversity Policy Research and Practice and other organisations including the Equality Challenge Unit to improve awareness and good practice in all aspects of equality and diversity. 3.6.4

Challenging targets are set, the performance and destinations of different groups of learners are monitored carefully and appropriate action is taken to close any identified gaps

Oxford Brookes and the School of Arts is committed to ensuring different groups of learners perform, achieve and progress equally well. APTT data shows that there are no identified gaps but we will continue to monitor and maintain inclusive teaching strategies. Performance targets for these groups are set during Annual Reviews and performance of different groups is tracked and reviewed throughout the programme. Self Assessment Report 2011-12



The impact of a provider’s work in relation to equality and diversity is assessed thoroughly and appropriate actions are taken in response

Please see 3.6.2, 3.6.3 and for reports on EOD at Oxford Brookes University. 3.6.6

Learners and staff are protected from harassment, bullying and discrimination, including those based with employers and at other sites external to the provider

Clear statements and definitions regarding unacceptable behaviour regarding harassment, bullying and discrimination are available during induction, in Programme Handbooks, University Student and Staff codes of conduct and are visible on posters throughout studios and the work environment. Points of contact for support and advice are also made available in programme handbooks, through Student Support Coordinators and teaching staff. Learners are made clear during induction about how to report any incidents of harassment, bullying or discrimination through Academic Complaints and Conduct Office or Student Services. Oxford Brookes University is committed to providing a working environment free from harassment and bullying and which supports the right of all staff to be treated with respect. As part of that commitment we have a ‘Harassment and Bullying Policy’ and a network of trained Harassment Advisers. Harassment Advisers act as a first point of contact for staff who are concerned about harassment or bullying. Their role is to offer general support and guidance to staff who are worried that they may have witnessed harassment, feel they are being harassed or who have been accused of harassing behaviour. 3.6.7

Incidents and complaints specifically about equality, diversity and bullying are managed and acted upon proactively, including, where appropriate, providing counselling and support

The School of Arts is proud of its reputation for fair and equal treatment for all learners and has not received any complaints during the past five years. All concerns to date have been dealt with immediately and effectively by the Head of School and it has not been necessary to follow the University’s complaints procedure. Any form of harassment, bullying and discrimination is not tolerated by the School and appropriate and prompt action will take place. 3.6.8

Arrangements to ensure all learners can participate in learning, including those with learning difficulties and/or disabilities, work well and learners have opportunities to give their views on the provision

Complaints procedures for learners are clearly articulated in Programme Handbooks and available on the website. The Head of School has open office hours every week for students from any programme of study and welcomes the opportunity to discuss any issues or problems students may be having with their studies and will provide support and guidance on an impartial basis. Learners will also be offered confidential counselling and support from the University’s Student Services.

Self Assessment Report 2011-12



Leaders and managers safeguard all learners


Safeguarding arrangements are in place and regularly reviewed to keep all learners aged 14–18 safe

All learners are over 18 and there are currently no vulnerable adults on this programme. Staff are therefore not required to be CRB checked. However we are currently putting in place safeguarding arrangements through CRB checks for all Diploma teaching staff. This is in order that they can undertake more widening participation workshops in the future with local schools and colleges with learners who are under 18 without additional supervision if necessary. This is an area we have identified for improvement in our Quality Improvement Plan. 3.7.2

Staff, leaders, governors and supervisory bodies (where appropriate) and volunteers receive appropriate training on safeguarding, which is updated regularly

Training in Safeguarding will be put in place after CRB checks have been undertaken but this is not required at present due to the age of our learners. 3.7.3

Leaders, governors and supervisory bodies (where appropriate) fulfil legislative requirements, such as those for disability, safeguarding, and health and safety

All leaders, staff and learners are inducted at either the beginning of their employment or study; in the University’s Health and Safety policy and are made fully aware of their responsibility to adhere to these regulations in order that they keep themselves and others safe and are legally compliant. Learners are made aware during a Health and Safety induction of the following information:        

Emergency procedures and evacuation points in the event of a fire or fire drill First aid procedures and where trained first aiders are located in the School of Arts Accident/incident reporting and the required documentation to be completed Student conduct and responsibility for safe actions Student projects and the need to complete risk assessments for the approval of School’s HandS officer. The correct use personal protective equipment in technical workshops and studios. Conduct and responsibility with activities off site or during field trips. The University’s Alcohol and Drugs policy

Technical Specialists are trained in manual handling, COSH and risk assessments are undertaken for a range for processes. Risk assessments are also conducted for site work – in and around the grounds of the university and for any planned field trips. Risk Self Assessment Report 2011-12


assessments for Field trips must be undertaken and approved by the Head of School, the Faculty Dean and the University Health and Safety Officer before they can take place. The University Health and Safety Officer conducts inspections once a year and reports back to faculty PVC Deans with any required actions. Fire alarm tests occur every Wednesday morning and fire drills are routinely practised to train staff and learners in safe and effective evacuation. Health and Safety is included on all agendas for Faculty Executive (every two weeks) and School of Arts department meetings (every 3 weeks) agendas and any matters arising are minuted and action is reported back. 3.7.4

Appropriate arrangements for health and safety protect staff and learners from harm those in need, or at risk of significant harm, are identified effectively and appropriate action is taken

Any health issues or disabilities that may present potential risks or harm to individual learners are identified during the ‘initial tutorial’ and recorded using the Student Record document. A risk assessment which involves the Student Disability Officer is conducted with the individual learner where potential hazards and risks are identified and assessed. An informed judgement is reached as to what is considered safe practice for the learner and facilitated by the School of Arts.

Self Assessment Report 2011-12



Action for improvement

Staff Date to responsible complete

1. Learners enjoy learning and make Increase target to 80%. Identify and progress relative to their prior track learners with high prior attainment and potential attainment and to establish strategies for realising learners’ Increase results from 75% to 80% potential through providing more of Learners achieving good challenging goals for individual grades of merit or distinction learners during one to one teaching and assessments. To be monitored through comparative APTT achievement data during Annual Review.

Course Leader and Programme team

June 2013

1.4.2 How well learners develop an understanding of careers and progression opportunities

Introduce more design industry specialist talks

PL Fine Art

Sept 2013

Undertake research activity with creative industries to improve the relevance of the programme content and to ensure it meets current and future industry needs.

Course Leader and Programme team

Aug 2013

Closer involvement of the ALS tutor with the teaching team to advise and undertake a more active role in the monitoring and timely action in response to learners’ poor attendance and performance.

ALS tutor, Course Leader and Programme team

March 2013

Allocate % of the staff development budget to improve teaching staff’s use of technology in teaching and to up-date IT skills. To establish skills needed and to facilitate staff development.


July 2013

Course Leader and Programme team

Sept 2013

Improve balance of Design subjects in Career in the Arts Conference 1.4.4 Learners’ progression routes, and the extent to which these meet local and national priorities Improve industry relevance of programme content 2.1.5 Whether procedures to monitor learners’ participation, progress and attendance lead to prompt action to address identified problems Improve timely response and action to poor attendance or performance 2.2.6 The promotion and development of independent learning skills, for example, through the use of a range of technologies, including a virtual learning environment. Improve the use of technology in teaching 2.3.4 Staff assess learners’ performance and progress, and monitor assessment practices to ensure they are timely, regular, fair, informative and reliable

Introduce an additional interim assessment point between semester one and semester two to provide more formal feedback points to help learners to improve. This could be through Portfolio Preparation Improve frequency of assessment Tutorials for University Interview. points

Self Assessment Report 2011-12


Area to be improved

Action for improvement

2.5.3 Learners appreciate the importance of improving their English, mathematics and functional skills as appropriate, in the context of their learning goals and life ambitions

Ensure all foundation team are including elements of these subject areas within Schemes of work and promote the variety of methods to students to engage with these subject areas during contextual studies, study skills sessions and project briefings. Peer observation and sharing of best practice is key to improvement.

Improve embedding of these subjects on SOW 2.6.2 The provider’s pre-course information and advice and that provided through links with other relevant organisations. Improve visits to schools and colleges to widen participation

3.1.4 Whether demanding targets are set and met throughout the organisation, and quality and performance are monitored rigorously

Staff Date to responsible complete Course Leader and Programme team

Sept 2013

Introduce a schedule for visits to HoS, PL and Sept local schools in order to improve Course 2013 relations and encourage students Leader. from a wide variety of background to consider studying beyond A-level. Also include a schedule of visit days for local schools to enable them to experience the School of Arts and to break down barriers to learning such as fear of the unknown. Regular reporting (twice per semester) on learners’ feedback and action taken to improve the learner experience.

HoS, Course Leader and Programme team

April 2013

Disseminate and share good practice from teaching observation more widely across programmes in the School of Arts through a regular agenda item at School of Arts meetings where staff are asked to present examples identified as good practice to staff teams.

HoS, Course Leader and all Programme teams in SoA

Sept 2013

HoS, Course Leader and Programme team

March 2013

HoS PLs and Course Leader

Aug 2013

Improve transparency of learners’ feedback for learners and staff 3.3.5 Leaders seek out and share best practice, contributing to a coherent programme of professional development Improve dissemination and sharing of good practice in teaching

3.4.4 The provider’s self-assessment All programme team members to process is rigorous and the have access to the new APTT data subsequent evaluations are and to receive training. appropriately detailed and accurate Improve wider use of APTT by the programme team 3.5.1 How well data and information on learners’ and employers’ needs, and local and national priorities, are used to review and plan the provision

The School of Arts to establish an Industry Advisory Board to ensure that programmes are industry relevant and to improve employability of learners and links with industry.

Improve employability of learners and industry links

Self Assessment Report 2011-12


Area to be improved

Action for improvement

3.5.2 Whether learning programmes are accessible in terms of timing, location, mode of delivery and duration, and are structured to provide a coherent and substantive course of study at different levels with a variety of interesting and useful activities to meet learners’ individual needs, including for those under-represented in learning and those with learning difficulties and/or disabilities

Devise and implement a strategy to improve diversity of learner groups through positive action to encourage particular groups (BME groups and male learners) to apply, and by creating opportunities to helping learners with particular protected characteristics to perform to the best of their ability (for example, by giving them training or support)

Staff Date to responsible complete UK May 2013 Recruitment, HoS, Course Leader and programme team

Improve diversity of learner group to include more learners from BME groups and more male learners 3.7.1 Safeguarding arrangements All permanent staff to be CRB are in place and regularly reviewed checked to keep all learners aged 14–18 safe

Course Leader and Programme team

May 2013

Improve widening participation and school liaison work

Self Assessment Report 2011-12