Students experience of College life is at the centre of the new Education Inspection Framework (EIF) published this summer. There is a shift for leaders and managers away from data to the 3 I’s of curriculum structure and delivery. Curriculum Intent, Implementation and Impact are now at the core of the new EIF. There is also a strong focus for leaders and managers on staff well-being, “realistic and constructive management” of workloads (p63) and the creation of a positive learning culture born out in “strong shared values, policies and practice” (p63).
Much of what the EIF describes in the key judgement on leadership and management are the softer skills of leadership and management which when used highly effectively develop and sustain a positive and impactful learning culture. My experience as a quality reviewer teaches me that success in terms of culture can be ‘felt’ when you walk into a College. You can almost feel it and touch it. You can sense it and you can see if mutual trust, fairness and respect are intrinsically evident for all. An effective learning culture is about how everyone treats each other embedded into a shared sense of social responsibility within the learning community. Staff and students who collective own a clear sense of purpose with a strong sense of belonging feel safe and speak highly of the collaborative efforts made by staff at a college to secure their life and career ambitions. Ask yourself, do your staff and students buy into the organisations vision, do they feel a strong sense of identity and belonging and a commitment to contributing to the success of both themselves, others and the College itself?
Any judgement of a culture is difficult to find in documentary evidence per se, a culture is ‘lived out’ each day. You can assess a positive learning culture by talking to individuals who are a part of that culture, who interact day to day with the population of the College. There is an even greater focus in the EIF for inspectors to talk to staff, learners, parents/carers, employers and stakeholder in the wider social and economic community to hear about their experiences of either working alongside College leaders and staff, or how they have been treated when dealing with ‘the college’ .
Attributes and behaviours demonstrated by staff and students alike provide a day to day representation of the culture of the college. A positive learning culture can be seen and heard in the language of both support and ambition in the right measures at the right time for each individual. Interestingly the inadequate grade descriptor in Personal Development says Personal Development as a key judgement "is likely to be inadequate where; Leaders and those responsible for governance, through their words, actions or influence, directly and/or indirectly, undermine or fail to promote equality of opportunity".
You can also see care for each other’s well-being and a sustained drive towards continuous quality improvement in a culture through shared storytelling & artefacts, supported within documentary evidence such as minutes of meetings, all policies, decisions, communications, correspondence and actions taken.
Staff well-being doesn’t just happen, it takes a clear vision of the 'why, what, when and how of what 'well-being' means for the College shared in a coherent strategy. There then needs to be huge collective commitment, effective use of resources and opportunity built in to life at work for staff to rest, think, reflect, have fun and laugh. A coaching approach can improve staff well-being and it also provides a framework for a positive forward thinking continuously improving learning culture.
In the EIF leaders and managers also need to ensure staff development for teachers is meaningful and focused on pedagogical approaches and pedagogical content, along with an opportunity to continuously develop their subject, vocational and technical knowledge. Can leaders be sure teachers understand the pedagogical approaches they are using to secure learning, assessment and achievement (LAA rather than TLA).
There is a clear steer in the key judgement on 'quality of education' that leaders are managing the impact of assessments for teachers. The criteria in the section on curriculum implementation states that "Leaders understand the limitations of assessment and do not use it in a way that creates burdens for staff or learners " P49
The clear requirements around effective safeguarding processes, meeting legal responsibilities and effective governance have come across from the CIF and remains a large part of the EIF.
Below I have shared some of the detail on leadership and management from the EIF p 58 -64. Anything in italics in this article is my own view. Otherwise I have tried to provide an overview of the requirements of the EIF as it is written.
Inspectors will look at the work of principals, chief executives, senior leaders and others with leadership and management roles when reaching their judgement.
The New Key Judgements
Overall Effectiveness remains – the 4 key Judgements are now:
The EIF Headings for Leadership and Management are:
Leadership and Management
Leaders high expectations of all learners and the extent to which they are embodied in day to day interactions with and support for learners.
Is CPD aligned with the curriculum?
New in the EIF is inspectors are interested in the extent to which leaders consider the workload and well-being of their staff whilst also developing and strengthening the quality of the workforce
The framework asks to what extent do governors provide confident, strategic leadership and create strong accountability for and oversight and assurance of educational performance to ensure continuous and sustainable improvement
Incident of bullying, prejudiced and discriminatory behaviour either direct or indirect
Learners have little confidence their concerns will be addressed
Learners or particular learners do not feel safe
Leaders and managers do not handle safeguarding allegations about staff and learners appropriately
Leaders and managers do not have suitable arrangements for learners to raise concerns, for identifying vulnerable adults or for managing safe recruitment
Leaders fail to protect learners from the danger of radicalisation and extremism in accordance with the ‘Prevent’ duty guidance
‘Working together to safeguard children’ (DfE July 2018)
‘Positive environments where children can flourish’ (Ofsted March 2018)
Sources of evidence specific to leadership and management
Inspectors will use a range of evidence including documentary evidence that the provider supplies to evaluate the work of leaders, managers and governors both currently and over time. This evidence will be used in conjunction with first-hand evidence. This includes but is not limited to:
The main detail of the grade descriptors can be found in the section on Good (grade 2) – it appears you must meet the Good criteria and then meet additional criteria to be graded as Outstanding
Outstanding (1) the provider meets all the criteria for good leadership and management securely and consistently. The leadership and management are exceptional (p61- 64). In addition:
Governors ensure that the provider fulfils its legal duties and responsibilities
Require Improvement (3) not yet good (2). Safeguarding is effective, if any weaknesses exist, they can be rectified quickly and there is no serious failing that leave learners being harmed or at risk
Inadequate (4) is a list of things leaders are not seen to be doing in relation to the criteria outlined in Good (2)
Key changes for leaders and managers are focused on:
Anything in italics is my own view or interpretation otherwise I have taken the information directly from the new Ofsted Further Education and Skills Inspection Handbook, published in July 2019, reference 190021. Wendy@yellowgooseleadership.co.uk