Tackling attendance from the outset
Tackling the attendance headache with an introduction to studies and college life...
More often than not in my travels across the country, I meet tremendously hard-working colleagues, teams and departments looking to both improve their outcomes and in particular, the imminent anticipation of the phone call from our over-seeing colleague at Ofsted. Something that should be embraced to showcase the offers you provide to your local communities and wider.
However – attendance is always at the top of the agenda, particularly at lower levels of programmes with ‘directed study’ elements becoming an attendance headache.
To action and improve, colleges need to review recruitment, induction and IAG arrangements for all courses to ensure learners join the right course and receive IAG that meets their individual needs. Introduce a rigorous progress monitoring process, weekly in the first instance, to ensure that teachers have a detailed understanding of each learner’s performance and are taking actions to ensure each is on track to succeed.
For college Senior Management Teams, it’s an expectation that your that learners are fully prepared for their Programme of Study, they understand the ethos of your college, the learning culture and how your staff teams will start to develop their learning skills.
Induction and setting the ‘agenda’ is key and colleges from this September should be resourcing to increase the period of Induction from the now common three days into a 2nd week & with planning beyond.
My suggestion is to focus more on;
1) Ensuring the right learners are on the right course by participating in activities that focus on the skills and knowledge to be successful on their programme of study.
2) Induction is less focussed on ILP completion, more engaging and more focussed on your staff teams fully understanding their learners and how they socially interact, traits of their learning & behavioural style along with the underpinning transition notes, particularly if your teams are delivering to Entry 3/Level 1 cohorts. Notes and information from previous education is critical, knowledge is everything.
3 ) Learner commitment and engagement on the crucial Work Experience element of the study programme, with subject specific employer engagement and involvement from the outset.
The revised programme should provide your staff teams with a greater insight, into what each individual learner does well and what areas they need to develop to be successful. The intelligence should inform context statements and future planning.
Extra planned inductions also provide more opportunity for learners to transfer courses before teaching starts, particularly with regard to their GCSE/Functional skills assessments/results.
Funding and planning for this vital time is imperative to improve retention, success and progression. Start now, if you’ve not done so already!
Timetabling and staffing, using the skill set you’ve in your already got in established teams, but don’t lose focus of CPD and challenges presented when delivering to the modern youth. Update your staff training to equip your delivery staff to engage millennials’…!
Time is pressing on, if your induction planning is not ready, this is key for an attendance increase…prevention is better than the cure of empty classroom seats.