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QUALITY ASSURANCE POLICY (QAP)
 
     
  Introduction

This document outlines the objectives and procedures that underpin that commitment, detailing how we as an institution provide, audit and improve the following:- Quality Teaching, Quality Learning and Student Satisfaction.

1. QUALITY TEACHING & SERVICE

1.1.1 Staffs are included in, and benefit from, observation and appraisal processes.

1.1.2 Outstanding academic staffs are the institute’s strongest asset.

1.1.3 At interview, teaching staff are required to demonstrate their communication skills and subject knowledge, in presentations and demonstration lessons.

1.1.4 Faculties/Trainers are observed training by the Academic Department. Lesson observation notes from this process are then shared and discussed with the faculties/trainers in a one-to-one, follow-up meeting. This involves personal target-setting by the faculty/trainer. Observation notes, meeting notes and targets are then copied into their respective files, all such notes are reviewed in subsequent meetings and in appraisal at the end of the year.

1.1.5 Faculties/Trainers who have completed their probation period are observed formally on further occasions at the Academic Head discretion, until appraisal at the end of the year.

1.1.6 Faculties/Trainers are also observed by one another, on a more informal basis. Peer observation notes are then shared and discussed openly, and this process is hoped to facilitate the spread of good practice across the institute. Peer observation notes may be copied into the Faculties/Trainers staff file at his or her own discretion.

1.1.7 A failure to improve areas of concern that might be highlighted during the (formal, not peer) observation and appraisal processes may lead to a verbal or written warning and ultimately to dismissal.

1.2 Staff Training & Development.

1.2.1 It is assumed that, in the right environment, the quality of each staff member’s performance will improve over the time they spend with the company. The staff training programme aims to facilitate the achievement of institutional goals and to help individual staff achieve their personal and career goals. It is consistent with the Institutes staff development policy and will be revised in line with internal or external changes affecting staff development.

1.2.2 All new staff will undergo a period of induction. This will include being allocated a mentor on arrival, receipt of a staff handbook. In addition, staffs are encouraged to attend the induction presentation for new staff offered by the Concern Authority.

1.2.3 At least one in four staff meetings is used as a platform for staff training.

1.2.4 All respective departmental heads are responsible for providing training to their respective staffs.

1.2.5 The Staff Training records each of these training sessions - it is the duty of the member of staff responsible for each training session to record that session in the log.

1.2.6 Each member of staff keeps their own personal training log. This is used to record each training session at college, and staffs are also encouraged to record aspects of their own learning outside of the prescribed curriculum. A ratio of one self-directed learning experience to every three directed by the employer is suggested.

1.2.7 Peer observation is counted as self-directed learning. Lecturers are encouraged to observe their colleagues teaching as often as is practical - a minimum of once per term. They share their Peer observation notes with the lecturer whom they observed (see 1.1.7 above), and record in their personal training log any notes on good practice that may aid their own professional development.

1.2.8 In their personal training logs, staffs also evaluate each learning experience, grading it according to perceived benefit, relevance and quality of delivery. During appraisal at the end of the year they are asked to analyses their own professional development with reference to the training programme.

1.2.9 The personal training logs of all staff are also used to evaluate the whole staff training programme as delivered by each head of department. At the end of each term this response is analyzed by a joint meeting of those heads, and in this meeting the whole staff training programme is reviewed and revised accordingly.
Interested staff will be allowed to attend courses available in EPITOME SKILLS at a reduced or no cost.

2: QUALITY LEARNING

2.1.1 Students are provided with all the information they need, before, during and after their course.

2.1.2 Information about each course - title, course structure, entry requirements and duration - is made available to students and prospective students via Epitome website.

2.1.3 The website and student handbook also explain the institutes Learning Support Policy and Attendance Policy.

2.1.4 Faculties/Trainers, under the guidance of the Course Co-ordinator, are expected to add value to the basic syllabus. Unless otherwise specified, it is their responsibility to plan lectures and handouts from the course syllabus, and to deliver them to students in a way that is most readily accessible to them.

2.1.5 Students are asked to evaluate all written material provided to them by their faculties/trainers, along with the study material provided by the institute. The Academic Department is expected to take the initiative in improving the quality of written material, using their professional skills and experience.

2.2.1 Students are provided with an appropriate level of learning support, if required or requested

2.2.2 The college provides additional support to students for whom English is not a first language, and to those whose IT skills are deemed to be no higher than the minimum requirements of the course.

2.2.3 Faculties/Trainers are also encouraged to provide differentiated resources, and the Academic Department has the authority to insist on this, based on students feedback.

2.2.4 Students receiving learning support are asked to evaluate their classes according to the standard student feedback format, they are also asked to evaluate the effectiveness of the programme as a strategy for raising achievement. This feedback is analyzed in the same way as other course-specific student feedback.

2.3.1 Student progress is monitored by the institute, according to individual and objective standards.

2.3.2 In addition to continuous, informal assessment of our students on the part of their faculties/trainers, the institute holds progress tests on regular interval, for each student. These tests are marked by the faculties/trainers.

2.3.3 The Course coordinator analyses the institutes overall results on regular interval, which helps the institute in forming future strategies for raising achievements.

3: STUDENT SATISFACTION

3.1.1 Students have access to Senior Management, who are responsive to their views.

3.1.2 The students are enabled to feedback their view to Senior Management through a “Feedback” form which will be made available to them on monthly basis.

3.1.2.1 - Friendly, approachable staff: - A key requirement for all EPITOME staff is that they have excellent communication skills. EPITOME staffs are trained to be “always available, approachable and amiable.”

3.1.2.2 - Any negative student feedback is recorded by the Concern Authority and presented to Senior Management for review.

3.1.2.3 - Feedback Questionnaires: - Students are asked to evaluate their faculties/trainers lectures and their overall level of satisfaction with the institute. The resulting Feedback Questionnaires, which are anonymous, are analysed by the Concern Authority, who presents his/her findings to Senior Management on time to time basis.

STUDENT RETENTION POLICY

PURPOSE

Epitome is committed to promoting an inclusive environment for all students, in order to support students in achieving their learning goals and to encourage further personal development.

Research has shown that students ‘drop-out’ for a complex variety of reasons. EPITOME therefore requires a coherent strategy to address retention and its impact upon (a) student success and (b) potential loss of EPITOME income. Any measures adopted need to recognise the holistic nature of student retention and the contribution of all sections of Epitome community in an integrated way.

KEY PRINCIPLES

In order to achieve appropriate focus and targeting of effort in relation to student retention, Epitome will:

(a) Adopt an evidence based approach, through the provision and analysis of information (quantitative data and qualitative feedback) relating to student withdrawal and failure.

(b) Encourage and support the adoption of a range of retention initiatives within an identified timescale

(c) Seek to achieve significant improvement in retention in a calendar/financial year.

(d) Develop transparent and robust monitoring and evaluation of initiatives affording the opportunity to report upon and measure the success of strategies at an institutional level.

(e) Promote appropriate staff development to support retention initiatives.

IMPLEMENTATION

Retention will be monitored by the Management of the institute.

It is recognised that action to improve student retention will cover a large number of areas ranging from pre-entry guidance to measures to assist the development of the learner and the transition from study to work.

Retention to be promoted by ensuring compatibility between students’ expectation of programme/institution and their actual experience. The intention being that students will receive all relevant information that will help them to plan for their study, well in advance of commencement together with opportunity to participate in pre-entry preparatory session.

To familiarise students with the local area, the campus, support services and key academic staff. Induction activities should promote the development of social interaction between students and good communication between students and staff.

Support should be available prior to study where problems are predicted.

INFORMATION SECURITY POLICY

This policy is mandatory and MUST be followed by all staff as any breach which results in an unauthorised disclosure of personal information has to be reported to the Competent Authority. Any failure to follow this policy will be treated as gross misconduct and hence liable for disciplinary action.

The protection of the personal information of both staff and students is very important and is enforced by a policy of upward disclosure. This means that information that needs a particular access level can be disclosed to a person with the same or a higher access level but not to someone with a lower access level.

Staff must at all times adhere to the data protection principles and only disclose information that it is necessary to disclose and is in accordance with this policy. Staff must only use information gained from their position for the purposes of that position and must not disclose it to any person outside Epitome except as allowed for under this policy.

STORAGE OF PERSONAL DATA

All personal information must be kept secure. Under no circumstances are any files that relate to either staff or students to be kept out in the open over night. All student and staff files are to be kept in locked secure cabinets and are not to be moved between locations unless it is unavoidable.

When working on personal information in an electronic form you MUST guard against accidental disclosure. When leaving your computer all windows that contain personal data are to be closed. Under no circumstances are open windows with student’s personal data to be left in view or accessible. If for any reason it is necessary to leave your computer with personal information then you must lock the computer so it cannot be accessed.

To ensure that there is no unauthorized disclosure of personal information staff are not to disclose their password or login details to anyone for any reason. All passwords must be changed every 30 days.

DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION

The default position is that personal information is not to be disclosed to anyone outside the institute or to other students. Personal information is only to be disclosed to other members of staff where it is necessary for the proper performance of their duties. The exceptions to this rule are:

Local Authority – Information can only be disclosed to staff in the Council Tax department. In the case of the Local Authority queries MUST be in writing. Under no circumstances are details to be given in response to telephone queries.

References - References may be given for students and information relating to them given to employers but only in response to a specific written request. Verbal references in response to a telephone query are not permitted.

If a student requests information on the behalf of his friend then unless his friend confirms the request in writing information is not to be given out to students in relation to another student. The only exception is that examination results may be posted on notice boards.

 
     
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