I attended another roundtable event in the IACL review this week. This one was on Quality and Workforce Development. At the start, Stuart Edwards from BIS gave a summary of the issues that were emerging across the whole review as follows:
- Does there need to be a national framework?
- If so, how can things be as devolved as possible to decision making by local people?
- How can local infrastructure be resourced?
- How can spaces be opened to self activity in communities?
- How can outreach and activity of Community Learning Champions be fostered?
- The importance of Care, Guidance and Support - particularly the role of volunteers and how to make information highly accessible to would be learners.
- How can impact be reported?
- How do we engage a broader range of organisations to reach people?
- How do we make it cost effective and get the resource into delivery?
- How do we ensure quality without bureaucracy?
- How can we get a transparent, flexible, responsive and locally accountable infrastructure?
- Can we fund short term innovative work like was done through the Transformation Fund?
- How can we prioritise funding to disadvantagesd and disengaged people and communities whilst maintaining inclusive participation for social cohesion where those who can pay should pay?
- Can providers link together and link budgets together to get a 'multiplier' effect from the £210 million?
- Can we 'grasp the nettle carefully' around the current historic distribution of the £210 million across England?
- How can we make space for new organisations?
As before, we worked in groups around tables. On my table, the main points around Quality were:
- RARPA has been important in ACL but now we need a radical development of it around impact and more collective or community outcomes. These need to drive curriculum design.
- We could relook at General Learning Outcomes or a bank of agreed benefits of learning such as those from Social Investment Outcome Research.
- IACL should be inspected but this could be on a continuing basis with individual inspectors joining local or area staff (perhaps in peer development groups) on very short notice visits to see what's going on that day. This could provide information for ongoing thematic reports but, if serious issues were identified, trigger full inspections if needed. We felt this would be much cheaper and help Inspectors learn more about IACL.
- The learner voice still needs to be critical in quality. We recognised the difficulties of that at governance level but there were good examples from providers that could be shared
- Self Assessment and Improvement Planning remains critical but we must simplify it, own it, make it more immediate and feel less directed by the Common Inspection Framework in its design
On Workforce Development my table suggested:
- Maintaining PTLLS but adding a second stage with selected DTLLS units to make an IACL qualfication
- Learning from the Higher Education Academy approach with mentoring, observation, teaching, reflective journal and validation
- Recovering CPD as a valuable reflective activity for teachers rather than a bureaucratic/compliance activity.