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Edinburgh College

2019 Full Inspection Report
Areas for Development
  • Additional interventions to be identified that support those with protected characteristics (including carers, LGB, Trans and students with mental health issues), in order to achieve mental wellbeing, improve retention and achieve increasingly successful outcomes for these student cohorts.
  • The ‘inclusive growth’ strategy has proved successful in terms of increasing credit delivery for students with a known disability, BME learners, those with care experience and those resident in the most deprived areas. However, these students do not yet perform as well as their peers across all areas of provision; additional intervention strategies are required.
  • Increase the number of students participating in the Student Satisfaction Surveys to a minimum of 50% across all areas of the provision.
  • 2017/18 saw a significant increase in the number of SIMD10 and Care-Experienced FTFE students both enrolled and achieving a recognised qualification, in line with the inclusion strategy. However, on courses of 160+ hours, the key groups often perform less well than their peers, in terms of the sector average. Whilst the number of care-experienced students enrolled on fulltime FE programmes continues to grow (178 in 2016/7, 245 in 2017/18) and the number of students achieving a recognised qualification following their fulltime HE or FE programme of study rose (71 in 2016/17, 138 in 2017/18) and the percentage of those achieving their HE qualification rose by 8.2% to 64.9%, the same was not the case for those on FE programmes; 41.2% achieved their qualification in 2017/18, which saw a decline from 46.8% in 2016/17. The College provides well-planned support for all care-experienced learners, as outlined in the Corporate Parenting Plan; transitions are supported through the regional Care Hub. Further work is underway to provide mentoring support with MCR Pathways.
  • Phased implementation of a Single Central Record (SCR) will continue, in order to support improvements in retention and attainment for all students, in terms of systematically tracking progress and further improving the timeliness of targeted interventions.
  • The number of senior phase PT FE students achieving a recognised qualification is unacceptably low at 43%. The SCP offer is to be reviewed and revised, in order to maximise student access, successful outcomes and ensure highly effective resource allocation. Challenges to address include: inconsistent promotion of SCP offer, where SCP is not understood as a credible alternative column choice below S6; transport difficulties; increasingly flexible timetabling approaches. A fragmented landscape has emerged in 18/19, with schools developing their own vocational provision to meet career education standards, however the College is ready to support all regional collaborate initiatives. This would include additional individual school partnerships, with in-school delivery as a potential model, where appropriate.
  • Lessons learned from continued participation in the Scottish Government Retention Project will be actioned, in order to address the high withdrawal rate of those learners aged under 18. Whilst there was a significant increase in the numbers of FTFE students aged 16-19 enrolled at the College and a decrease in the number of Partial Success outcomes due to the priority given to addressing this, a continued focus is required, in order to also increase the Complete Successful outcomes for these student cohorts, which saw a decline of 2.6% in 2017/18
  • Whilst the 25-40 and 41+ age groups continue to perform most successfully on courses lasting 160 hours or more, with Complete Success rates at 73.8% and 73.7% respectively, those under 18 perform the least successfully (53.3% Complete Success; 19.6% Partial Success) and have the highest withdrawal rate (27.2%).
  • Although there have been improvements recorded across all Essential Skills qualifications, there is still much room for improvement; given the on-going development of the Curriculum Leader role and planned Blueprint Project (2.4), this positive trend is expected to continue in line with the predicted impact of the Future Proof 2025 project, to be rolled out in a vocational context, across all areas of provision. The declining figure recorded for ‘Work Placement Experience’ will be actively addressed during 2018/19, in terms of planning, recording and reporting of Work Integrated Learning activity.
  • Lessons learned from continued participation in the Scottish Government Retention Project will be actioned, in order to address the low attainment rates on FTFE programmes across the provision; these are currently 62.0% (all courses) and 60.7% (Nationally Recognised Qualifications).
  • Sharing of good practice between the highest and lowest performing areas of provision, will continue, with the three lowest performing curriculum areas during 2017/18 given priority.
  • Work placement and work-related experience across the curriculum will continue to be developed, along with LMI and programme links aimed at meeting the needs of employers.
  • The College recognises the need to refocus its current MA contract in order to grow it again, using MA performance data to highlight high income areas and forecast the curriculum resources and facilities required to support growth in these areas. In line with this we acknowledge the need to stabilise and grow our provision in automotive and engineering organically but, focus increases in security, life sciences and IT & digital, and look at increasing provision in, areas such as hospitality and creative industries. Additionally, the college will consider further development in new areas (for example the legal and accountancy sector).
  • Roll-out of the Future Proof 2025 Project. This aims to embed a culture of enterprise, project working, data literacy and creative thinking, particularly throughout the FTFE curriculum, raising attainment and work readiness.
  • Preparedness for the delivery of SDS MA targets are to be systematically addressed using the updated collaborative action plans.
  • Work is ongoing to build the regional STEM hub, in order to develop stakeholder engagement
  • Student feedback needs to further inform reflect practice and subsequently lead to improvement in learning, teaching and student achievement. In a few areas, learners need to receive more detailed feedback on their performance, in order to meet their aspirational goals in a timely manner.
  • Implementation of additional teaching approaches in a minority of areas, including the effective use of technology to engage learners and enhance the learning experience. Some lessons remain overly lecture-led and include an over-reliance on exposition. Two faculty areas have restructured their functional leadership this year (18/19) (Business, Finance and the area of Health and Social Care), to assist the direction of curriculum delivery and develop new learning and teaching approaches. Other important areas of the College such as Computing are building employer engagement and project based delivery approaches into the 18/19 curriculum.
  • Individual action plans for areas requiring improvement, in light of Education Scotland and Quality Enhancement Team feedback, need to be fulfilled in a timelier manner.
  • Develop a programme of Career Long Professional Learning (CLPL) in order to keep staff skills up to date and in line with current research findings and technological change.
  • Some students require timelier access to their results, in order to reduce completed partial successes and increase opportunities to undertake remediation, accordingly.
  • Continued roll out and implementation of the agreed actions for Student Funding, School College Partnerships and Student Support.
  • The implementation of new Alternative Assessment Arrangements and Promonitor development has improved team communication, however this is not yet consistently utilised across all faculty areas.
  • Further attention to work-related experience and employer engagement is required, in order to increasingly improve alignment with the College aim of developing ‘Work- Integrated Learning’ across every area of provision.
  • Firmly establish the new ‘rolling’ self-evaluation process, helping create increasingly effective action plans that have a positive impact on student retention and achievement; lessons learned from involvement in the Retention Project to be shared across the College.
  • Levels of student satisfaction with ECSA representation, as recorded in the College Annual Student Satisfaction Surveys.

Report Recommendations