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Forth Valley College

2019 Full Inspection Report
Areas for Development
  • Whilst the College’s wide range of support services and arrangements are very effective in supporting students and meeting their needs, the College has recognised that these could be further enhanced by being more “joined up”. The College is developing a centralised Student Support System within its MIS, so that information about dialogues and interventions with individual students will be held centrally and available to all staff supporting the individual. This will also enable more accurate evaluation of the impact of College services and interventions.
  • The College is planning a review of the way in which it provides pastoral support to full-time students, to ensure that the available resources are being utilised to provide maximum impact on student success.
  • Although, overall, the College’s full-time student retention and success indicators are positive, there are a number of subject areas at both FE (Art and Design; Business; Construction; Hospitality and Media) and HE level (Construction, Engineering and Science) where student retention and success were low. College managers have carried out a detailed analysis of the contributory factors in each of these areas and Curriculum Managers and teams are taking appropriate action at programme level to address issues through their improvement action plans for 2018-2019.
  • There has been a significant increase in the number of full-time FE and HE students presenting with complex mental health issues and/or life circumstances, which in many cases, created barriers to them completing or fully achieving all aspects of their course. In all such instances, curriculum and support teams did everything that they could to support the individual to stay on course and achieve their qualification aim; however these efforts were not always successful. As a result, the College plans to review the ways in which it provides pastoral support to full-time students, to ensure that the available resources are being utilised to provide maximum impact on student success, and to deliver improved information sharing through the new Student Support System.
  • Younger students in the 16-19 year old age band performed less well than the overall student population on full-time FE courses, with 68% success as opposed to 71%, largely due to higher withdrawal rates. It is hoped that planned interventions, such as the Time4Me mentoring initiative, will have a positive impact on retention and success amongst younger students in future. The planned review of pastoral support for full-time students will also consider support for younger students.
  • The College will continue to provide enhanced support for applicants and students who disclose care experience. This will include implementation of the Time4Me mentoring project and promotion of the increased bursary for care experienced students.
  • The incorporation of the views of employers and industry stakeholders in curriculum team evaluations to improve the curriculum is not yet consistent across the College.
  • The College plans to enhance the use of data by curriculum teams further, to improve student performance. In 2018-2019, the formal reporting of student success predictions will be increased to three times each year, making full use of the online Performance Indicator dashboard, to enable earlier identification at senior level of any emerging issues that may require action at department or College level. In addition, the College is introducing a progress “flag” into its online attendance registers, so that teaching staff can immediately identify students at risk of falling behind, to enable interventions to be put in place at an even earlier stage than at present.
  • The College will continue to develop its Learning and Teaching Enhancement mentoring programme and has a target for 100 further staff to engage in the process during 2018-2019. In 2018-2019, the focus will be on new staff, theory/ knowledge teaching and technology enhanced learning.
  • The actions to enhance the use of data set out in QI 2.2 will also support individual staff to use learner performance data more effectively to improve learner performance rates.
  • The actions to further enhance support for students set out in QI 3.1 are also relevant in this area.
  • In 2018-2019, the College plans to cascade the full range of its Operational Agreement targets more systematically, through Directors of Curriculum into curriculum teams, and to strengthen in-year monitoring of progress towards targets.
  • The actions to enhance the use of data set out in QI 2.2 are also relevant here.

Report Recommendations