Quality assurance issues in a centre

Qualification consultant Karen Pontin talks about the importance of internal quality assurance

29 April 2014

Ask any City & Guilds Qualification Consultant what the current issues are in quality assurance in centres and they will respond with a resounding response of – new staff!

Many centres have gone through a period of intense change in recent years. Few centres have managed to avoid mergers, takeovers and consortia arrangements as a response to the economic climate. This turbulence has left a high proportion of centres with new staff teams who are grappling with changed and increased responsibilities.

Although the new staff may in previous roles, have been involved in the delivery of the qualifications, they are often unfamiliar with the systems and processes for monitoring and ensuring quality learning.

Typically it is in the field of internal quality assurance that the new post holders seem to struggle most as they try to fulfil the requirements of their new role. Many have been trainers or assessors previously but they will now have to learn about the mechanics of IQA and undertake a Level 4 qualification. As they start they may not even be aware that internal verification is only a small part of internal quality assurance which follows a cycle.

Unfortunately the importance of internal quality assurance is seriously underestimated in centres. When roles have to be filled quickly managers may appoint anyone who has worked with a particular qualification to become the IQA. This sometimes happens because in the past the role of internal verification was quite limited – basically sampling portfolios - and in many cases managers think that internal quality assurance is simply a new name for it.

Internal quality assurance is far more wide reaching and fundamental to ensuring good quality learning. Inexperienced staff carrying out poor or incomplete IQA could result in sanctions and seriously damage a centre’s reputation. Nobody benefits.

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