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PdBW -the Fully rounded learner...

As I’ve come to the end of another #FE assignment, I’m carrying out my feedback meetings and really seeing an improved positive ethos, on the dealing with the ‘soft skills' contained in a study programme...


Particularly in relation to a model of ‘wrap-around’ support for ‘at risk’ learners. Which is instrumental in dealing with today’s challenges society has to offer the millennials, accessing Further Education or becoming an adult in the broad sense...one of my colleagues related to how we would feel – being 16, leaving school, scared and walking into the unknown…..some young people with a whole heap of ‘social’ baggage…


Every-night, as most FE Consultants do, I grab a quick meal for one, I’m masquerading as the companionless person in the restaurant, that same picture in every restaurant connected to a Premier Inn across the country Monday to Thursday.....As I’ve got no conversation, I’m keeping myself engaged also seeing what’s happening in the news on social media. Obviously together with the usual delete next delete sequence of clicks from the bombardment of emails from recruitment agencies and ‘bit-coin’ junk mail.


However, something caught my eye this week. I’ve seen a position advertising a VP role leading both Curriculum & Personal Development Behaviour & Welfare (PDBW) at a South Coast College.

It’s so refreshing to see a College acknowledging PDBW is just as important as a

qualification certificate, and rightly so...it’s a qualification for life itself.....! So crucial in fact, it’s a big part of the Common Inspection Framework (CIF) and a focus for all inspection teams. Parallel to this, it introduces the learner, or should do, to a more rounded overview to the referenced ‘Fundamental British Values 1-4’.


As all Colleges focus on the up and coming GCSE dates, along with the final drive to push for success, achievement plus progress destinations. Together with the teams having the last minute, mad panic to arrange IV sampling and EV visits plus sending samples, College departments sometimes rush putting in place a fully rounded induction plan for the start of the new term which is looming fast.


Occasionally it takes a ‘proper’ back seat and is left to the administrative period at the start of the holiday period.....as I travel around and visit many Colleges, the behaviour and attendance/retention data around April & May, clearly indicates which providers have had a bumpy start to the year....!


It’s absolutely imperative you set the scene for all leaners enrolling and starting in September.

Introduction to both the core elements of the study programmes, highlighting both Work Experience and the areas of PDBW. Careers advice is essential and Gatsby.org have lead some incredibly useful benchmarking to enable providers to improve...


Behaviour for learning in both training (CPD) sessions for delivery staff in the new academic year and all support services during the administration week, will set the tone for staff and students alike to take a journey on a positive platform to aspire to achieve....however, with the added valuable social inclusivity and prosperity for the local areas each College supports...


Are you ticking the PDBW boxes, have you planned an inclusive induction...?

Some examples could be; learners take pride in their achievement and are committed to learning, this is supported by a positive culture in the curriculum area. Or, learners have self-confidence, self-awareness and an understanding of how to be a successful learners. Importantly, learners are given choices about the next stage of their education, training or employment, where relevant, from impartial careers information advice and guidance. Lastly, learners develop personally, so that they are well prepared to respect others and contribute to wider society and life in Britain.


These are hours of fundable activity that are not qualification based. These hours are also known as planned employability, enrichment and pastoral hours (EEP hours).


There are many activities that are defined as EEP and these are valuable additions to your programme of study. This includes hours where students are doing activities that for example;


  1. are spent on work experience and other work-related activities

  2. are spent on enrichment, volunteering and/or community activities organised by or on behalf of the institution

  3. do not count towards a main qualification

  4. are for informal or GIFHE certificates or other non-qualification activity

  5. are for tutorial purposes


I’d suggest Colleges quest in this area to improve particularly around attendance, requires the ‘buy-in’ of the delivery and support teams…..Informing them should be targeted, well publicised between internal stakeholders, well used and personalised for curriculum areas and individual learners. The effectiveness and impact of this model of support provides, I would suggest can be monitored through your Colleges data in the following:


  • Reduction in the number of learner withdrawals

  • Rapid improvements in learner retention, achievement and success, particularly in underperforming departments

  • Increase in retention of learners accessing Support

  • Increase in learner satisfaction with support



Massive thanks must go to my colleagues at the College of West Anglia, in particular Tony Williams for enthusing my quest yet again, to making sure all Colleges induction periods, set the standards for all learners, whatever their level to achieve and aspire to all they can be and beyond….

Bob Rose


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