Both colleges had clarity about their strengths and areas for improvement and had robust development plans in place. However, the pace of change was not as rapid as they would have liked.
How ESIS responded to the challenge
Both colleges approached ESIS, initially seeking interim managers to help drive the pace of improvements, but in each case ESIS suggested an alternative strategy.
ESIS suggested the use of specialist practitioners and coaches for several days a week over an extended period of time. Their role was multi-faceted – in response to both the quality improvements required in teaching, learning and assessment and to quality assurance of measuring impact, pace and supporting areas of risk.
The teaching and learning advisers were set clear objectives and outcomes by the college – to bring about tangible and rapid improvement in teaching, learning and assessment.
The teaching and learning advisers were allocated across the college, or to departments, teams or individuals – and they worked intensively with each person, or groups of teachers, in a coaching capacity – depending on the needs and priorities of the college.
ESIS suggested the use of two project managers: one with specialist expertise in construction, and the other with specialist experience in the digital and creative industries; both recent practitioners who would support the college for several days a week over two terms.
The support included coaching, development and problem-solving – helping managers to effectively tackle day-to-day challenges to enable more rapid progress.
Initially the project managers worked with the college’s managers to support and drive improvements in teaching, learning and assessment – but this was broadened to include working with individual staff.
Both managers and teachers were provided with practical strategies, including signposting to best practice to encourage innovation and creativity in teaching.
Outcomes and benefits
- The project managers were able to concentrate on specific quality-improvement projects, without getting sidetracked by day-to-day operational issues.
- Barriers to progress were identified, escalated and resolved more quickly.
- The project managers provided ‘on-the-ground’ expertise to support managers and teachers.
- The departments concerned made good progress, giving the senior leadership more confidence in their ability to improve.
- The improvement advisers left a legacy of sustainable change, so that the departments could continue to move forward when they left.