Quality Assurance Policy

Warwickshire First Aid Training is committed to providing fit for purpose qualifications through our Awarding Organisation, Qualifications Network (QNUK).

 

Our commitments

Warwickshire First Aid Training is committed to ensuring that our learners are given the right opportunities and support in order for them to achieve all that they are capable of achieving.

We will support learners by:

  • Providing current and up to date information in relation to the qualifications that we offer
  • Identifying the correct qualification for their needs.
  • Offering points of referral for any needs that we are unable to meet.
  • Providing a clear and transparent fees list
  • Providing any pre-course information or guidance in good time
  • Ensuring delivery staff, assessors and quality assurers are occupationally competent
  • Ensuring learners are aware of the assessment requirements of the qualification
  • Ensuring learners have fair access to assessment
  • Ensuring learners are aware of the process where competence has not been shown
  • Ensuring learners are aware of our appeals and complaints procedures
  • Ensuring successful learners receive certificates within good time.

 

Promoting our regulated qualifications

Where it has been identified that a learner will be undertaking a regulated qualification, it is important that they are not misled into undertaking an unregulated course. We, therefore, consider the following when promoting our regulated qualifications:

  • Titling
  • Use of logos
  • Access to qualification specifications
  • Fees
  • Logistical information

 

Titling

To ensure learners are not misled, all of our regulated qualifications are identified by their official title. The titles are constructed as follows:

QNUK/ LEVEL/TYPE/SUBJECT/(FRAMEWORK), an example is:

QNUK Level 2 Award in safeguarding and protecting Children and Young People (RQF)

We avoid using similar terms for unregulated courses.

 

Use of logos

Logos help learners to identify any accreditations related to the qualification. Inappropriate or incorrect use may again mislead our learners. Some logos are prohibited from use, therefore we:

  • Do not use regulator logos on any of our materials. Regulator logos include Ofqual, CCEA and Qualifications Wales
  • Do not use any other logos protected by Crown copyright i.e. HSE
  • Do not use logos of memberships or associations that are not directly linked to the qualifications
  • Ensure the QNUK logo only appears on web pages or promotional materials promoting QNUK qualifications or on generic webpages such as “contact us” or “home”

Where logos are used we ensure we comply with any guidance in their correct usage.

 

Access to qualification specifications

A qualification specification for each qualification has been created by Qualifications Network.

We ensure learners have access to the qualifications by having a downloadable copy on our website.

 

Fees

To ensure learners are not disadvantaged by additional or hidden fees we have a transparent list of fees. This fees list ensures learners are aware of any costs associated with undertaking qualifications provided by us.

Our fees list outlines costs associated with:

  • Undertaking the qualification
  • Cancellations
  • Late payments
  • Learner registration
  • Assessments
  • Certification
  • Equipment i.e. course manual
  • Appeals
  • Replacement certificates

Our fees list is available on request

 

Logistical information

Some learners may have difficulty accessing courses in certain locations or at certain times, dates. It would be unfair to accept a learner onto a course for them to find out they are unable to attend for the required duration.

We therefore ensure prospective learners are made aware of the logistical information prior to accepting bookings.

Logistical information is available on our website

 

Booking confirmation and pre-course information

To ensure learners have sufficient preparation time we will ensure, once bookings have been made, we will confirm their place and reconfirm the details of the venue, dates and times and any other logistical information; i.e. parking etc

Where required by the qualification, we will ensure learners receive copies of any course materials in reasonable time.

 

Staff competence

We are committed to ensuring our delivery, quality assurance and office staff are competent and conversant in our products and services.

Our staff that deal with customer enquiries and bookings are often relied on by learners to ensure that the course of study they require, is what they book onto.

We, therefore, ensure staff are aware of the needs and benefits of each qualification. They are also aware of where they can access additional information for uncommon questions and requests.

In order to continually provide suitable information to learners, we record customer queries. This enables us to inform QNUK of any queries and to update our staff with correct, current information.

We ensure that those involved in the delivery, assessment and quality assurance of qualifications are suitably qualified and experienced and meet at least the minimum requirements outlined in the QNUK delivery manuals for each qualification.

Our Managing Director is responsible for ensuring that we retain copies of CVs, certificates and activity logs for our delivery, assessment and IQA staff. These are available on request to QNUK.

 

Staff responsibilities

Below is an outline of our roles and responsibilities in relation to the delivery and assessment of QNUK qualifications.

 

The Centre Manager (CM) is usually responsible for:

  • Planning and auditing course delivery and the quality assurance system
  • Monitoring the Internal Quality Assurance (IQA) Strategy
  • Ensuring compliance with QN requirements
  • Recruitment of course delivery and quality assurance team
  • Writing and updating policies and procedures
  • Liaising with external auditors and external quality Assuror(s) (EQA) including organising visits.
  • Ensuring AO/EQA recommendations are carried out

Lead Internal Quality Assuror is usually responsible for:

  • The quality of assessment and the IQA of assessment
  • Compiling an overall IQA Strategy
  • Leading the IQA team planning process
  • Monitoring and observing internal quality assurors
  • Providing or organising training and guidance for internal assurors and assessors
  • Reporting issues, trends and concerns to the CM

Internal Quality Assuror is usually responsible for:

  • Planning individual IQA activities
  • Monitoring the assessment practice of assessors
  • Verifying the accuracy, consistency and quality of assessors’ decisions
  • Modifying practise and procedures as a result of evaluation
  • Maintaining a record of their own professional development
  • Reporting to the Lead IQA

 

Trainer/Assessor is usually responsible for:

  • Planning, managing and delivering courses
  • Conducting formative and summative assessment
  • Collating and preserving learner portfolios where relevant
  • Agreeing an individual learning plan with learners as appropriate
  • Providing all the paperwork needed to maintain the IQA process
  • Providing feedback on assessment practice
  • Providing guidance and support to meet the assessment requirements of courses
  • Maintaining a record of their own professional development
  • Reporting to Line Managers and/or Centre Manager

 

Assessment

Assessment is a key area for quality assurance. Failures or discrepancies in assessment show that a learner has been unsuccessful in achieving the qualification they have set out to achieve. This, in turn, prompts us to look for any failings in our systems.

QNUK has provided us with documents to support the undertaking of assessments. For some qualifications, these documents include MCQ papers. Others require more input from the assessor, for example, those qualifications that require a learner to build a portfolio of evidence.

Regardless of whether assessments are created by QNUK or within Warwickshire First Aid Training, we are responsible for ensuring that all assessments remain compliant with the principles of VCARS.

  • Valid
  • Current
  • Authentic
  • Reliable
  • Sufficient

Where we have identified that assessments may not meet these principles, the head of centre will be responsible for reporting our concerns to CentreSupport@Qualifciations-Network.co.uk

 

Contributing factors to failures in assessment

There are a number of reasons why a learner may not yet be competent. It is our responsibility to ensure learners have sufficient opportunities to succeed and therefore failures in assessment encourage us to consider:

  • Was the qualification correct for the learners needs?
  • Did the learner meet the pre-requisite(s), i.e. language, abilities?
  • Was the qualification delivered at an appropriate time/location?
  • Were opportunities for reasonable adjustments missed?
  • Was the teaching and learning appropriate to the needs of the learner?
  • Was the learner aware of the assessment criterion?
  • Was the learner suitably prepared for assessment (i.e. had enough recapping and practice time)?
  • Was the learner aware that they were being assessed?
  • Did the assessor assess to the standardised criteria?

With this is mind it is also our responsibility to ensure learners are successful based on each of the above being in place and not because of reasons that may lead to cases of malpractice.

 

Undertaking the assessment

 

Each qualification has different assessment requirements. We will, therefore, ensure all assessment and quality assurance staff have suitable access to relevant QNUK qualification delivery manuals.

 

Access to fair assessment

 

How we ensure candidates have access to fair assessment can be found in our access to fair assessment policy. This has been written to reflect the requirements of QNUK, outlined in their reasonable adjustments policy and qualification delivery manuals.

Quality assurance of assessment

To ensure assessments are fit-for-purpose, assessor and IQAs have a range of responsibilities:

The assessor should ensure that the quality of assessment is assured by;

  • Planning and facilitating formative assessment throughout the course using a range of methods
  • Planning and facilitating summative assessment as per Qualification Network guidelines
  • Ensuring all learner papers are marked correctly
  • The confidentiality and safety of assessment papers and/or leaner portfolios is maintained
  • Being familiar with and following the assessment requirements as outlined by Qualifications Network
  • Cooperating with the Internal Quality Assurance Team and EQA visits

The Internal Quality Assuror (IQA) should ensure that the quality of assessment is assured by;

  • Verifying the suitability of lesson plans and assessment tools
  • Sampling the work of trainer/assessors from each stage of the process
  • Observing trainer/assessors’ performance
  • Sampling candidate work

 

Risk rating assessor/IQAs

The quality of assessment and quality assurance can be affected by the assessors and verifiers; whether this is because of inexperience or even complacency. Because of this, we assess assessment and quality assurance staff on a risk basis. The level of risk is recorded using a “traffic light” system, with green being low risk and red being high.

Each assessors level of risk is recorded on their personnel file.

Examples of contributing factors to each individual’s level of risk is outlined below.

 

High Risk

Newly appointed trainers/assessors/IQA staff

Not yet qualified trainers/assessors/IQA staff

Trainers/assessors/IQAs that have not updated their practice or with no record of CPD

Trainers/assessors/IQAs with frequent remedial actions identified via observation reports

Trainers/assessors/IQAs having made unsafe decisions

Newly appointed trainers/assessors/IQA staff

Not yet qualified trainers/assessors/IQA staff

Trainers/assessors/IQAs that have not updated their practice or with no record of CPD

Trainers/assessors/IQAs with frequent remedial actions identified via observation reports

Trainers/assessors/IQAs having made unsafe decisions

 

Medium Risk

Trainers/assessors/IQAs with few remedial actions identified

Qualified and experienced assessors new to the centre

 

Low Risk

Trainers/assessors/IQAs that demonstrate, consistently, up to date practice and have rare remedial actions identified on sampling.

 

Dealing with learners that are not yet competent

The integrity of a qualification and associated assessments should be called into question if there is a significantly high number of successful candidates.

Therefore on occasion, it should be accepted that some learners will fail to achieve the desired level of competence.

Where we have ensured learners are aware of the required standard, the learner should not be surprised if the assessment decision is that they are not yet competent.

Each learner that is not yet competent will be provided with feedback on where any weaknesses appear to lie. We will then ensure suitable and sufficient support is provided in order for skills and knowledge gaps to be filled.

We will then arrange a reassessment. Learners should already be aware of any reassessment fees.

 

Appeals and complaints

On occasion, candidates may not be satisfied with the decisions related to their assessments. They are therefore able to appeal these decisions.

The process, including escalations, are outlined in our appeals policy.

This is available to candidates on request

 

Processing of certificates

On successful completion of their qualification learners have the right to receive their certificate. We will ensure the swift registration of results onto the MyQNUK system. We will also ensure that once received certificates are signed and distributed as soon as possible.

Where we receive replacement certificate requests we will ensure that the identity of the candidate is confirmed and that requests are registered with QNUK within 5 working days.

 

Quality assurance activities

 

To ensure the quality of our processes the head of centre is responsible for ensuring the following quality assurance activities are undertaken:

  • Website audit
  • Marketing materials audit
  • Customer service audit
  • Fees list audit
  • Staff records audit
  • Policy audit

These audits are undertaken on an annual basis or where a significant change occurs. Results of audits are recorded and retained for at least 3 years.

In addition to auditing our quality process, we also undertake verification activities in relation to the assessment.

 

Planning IQA Activities (visits)

The head of centre is responsible for producing a sampling plan based on the current risk rating for each individual trainer/assessor.  The sampling plan would identify who requires an IQA assessment, what units need to be verified and when.

Individual IQA staff should then produce an IQA Activity Plan for each activity they will be undertaking.  This plan outlines what units/outcomes are to be verified, how the assessment will take place (methods), any resources needed by the IQA, any special needs identified by the assessor, how feedback will be given and how outcomes will be recorded.  This plan ensures transparency, consistency and standardisation across the IQA team.  Verification visits can be unnerving for some individuals and transparency can help to reassure trainers/assessors of what to expect on the day of the visit.  As such, it is important this plan is shared with them and the Centre Manager in advance – 48 hours minimum notice is standard.

The IQA may choose which assessment methods to use from the following;

  • Observation of trainer/assessor performance
  • Sampling of trainer/assessor work
  • Sampling of learner work
  • Witness statements (from learners/co-workers)
  • Learner Evaluation
  • Learner Interviews
  • Verification of lesson plan validity and application

Sampling Paperwork

The amount of paperwork reviewed by our IQA’s is comparative to the assessor’s current risk rating.  For example, a high risk assessor will have all paperwork completed at the time of the visit reviewed by the IQA to ensure that marking is correct and documents have been completed properly and according to centre policy.

For a medium risk assessor, it is sufficient to review only half of written papers (50% of the class) and for low risk IQAs will sample a small percentage, such as 25% of the class.

Feedback is provided to the Assessor by the IQA both verbally and written as soon as possible after the IQA visit.  Feedback is also provided to IQAs by the Head of centre as soon as possible after receiving their reports.

To differentiate who has marked/reviewed questions papers/assignments/reports etc is important that we have a system in place that allows a clear and consistent audit trail.  Our system is as follows:

  • Assessor mark/verify work in blue or black ink.
  • IQAs verify work using red ink
  • Lead IQA should use a different colour to clearly show when/where they have reviewed IQA reports or have some way of distinguishing themselves from the other IQAs
  • EQAs verify using green ink

Conducting an IQA Activity

Our sampling activities are usually carried out by visiting the assessor while they are assessing, however, on some occasions it may be possible to conduct a ‘remote’ visit whereby data is sent to the IQA. Whichever method is used, the following steps/procedures will apply.

 

Planning/Preparation

Our IQA’s will produce an assessment plan detailing which assessment will be verified during the activity and what methods will be used. This plan will be shared with the assessor and the lead IQA.

When planning the visit, the IQA will ensure they have the correct contact details and site details and have planned their journey to arrive at the agreed time.  For some qualifications sampling activities may include a review of the formal teaching session to verify if learning outcomes have been met and formative assessment conducted as well as the summative tasks.

This is not a review of teaching practice or subject knowledge, simply verification that the outcomes are being covered.  It would be difficult for assessment criteria to be met by a learner if they had not received the correct training prior to assessment.  A record of this observation should be kept.

Arriving on site

Upon arrival, the IQA should inform the assessor of their arrival but without causing unnecessary disturbance or interruption to any learning sessions.  When convenient the IQA will review the assessment plan with the assessor and both parties should initial their agreement on the plan.

The IQA may at this point ask to see the course register to verify it has been completed properly and to also have ready the learner information they will need to complete their reports.

During the sampling activity, especially during observation of training/assessment, the IQA should ensure they place themselves in a suitable position whereby they can monitor activity but not cause a disturbance to the learners or be located in such a way that they would cause unnecessary anxiety for a candidate undertaking assessment.

Collecting Evidence

During the sampling activity, the IQA may observe the delivery of subject content and formative assessment and record how each learning outcome for the unit is covered using the ‘IQA’ observation form.

During the summative assessment, the IQA will observe learners demonstrating skills or completing test papers and will make notes of how assessments were conducted including the outcomes.

Observations/feedback will be referenced against the assessment guidelines outlined in the QNUK qualification delivery manuals.  Paperwork completed by candidate and assessors will be reviewed and the IQA will initial, ideally in red ink, to show the work has been reviewed.

The IQA will record the evidence collected on the ‘IQA Sampling Plan’ form. Feedback and development points identified are recording on the ‘IQA Report Form’.

IQA Evidence Collection – Tool Box

In addition to the standard forms described above, our IQA’s have a ‘toolbox’ of resources which can be used to substantiate the outcome of their report.  For example, if our IQA has not been able to directly witness or evidence an outcome being met, it may be appropriate to interview a learner(s) or to ask further questions of an assessor.  This can be particularly useful if there are discrepancies in observed practice and feedback from the assessor or learners.

Learner Evaluation Forms

 

Learner evaluation forms can be used when a sampling activity is taking place after an assessment has been conducted.  This may have been necessary due to IQA/Assessor availability or due to delays in arrival or a change to the expect course delivery/assessment schedule.  They can be used at other times but are best suited for these occasions

 

Learner Interviews

 

Learner interviews can be used to support observed practice using the ‘Learner Interview Checklist’ or for longer interviews where assessment has not been observed using the ‘Learner Interview Sheet’.  When conducting interviews, IQAs ensure the activity does not cause unnecessary disruption to the class and does not detain a learner from participating in course delivery.

Assessor Question Sheet

This can be used to evaluate underpinning knowledge of an assessor on the assessment criteria such as reasonable adjustment and marking schedules.

Completing the Activity

 

Assessor Feedback

At the end of the sampling activity, the IQA will provide the assessor with an opportunity to reflect on their performance and to identify any development points or concerns.  The IQA will need to liaise with the assessor on the best time and place to conduct the feedback/review session but, whenever possible, this should be completed at the time of the visit.  On rare occasions, the assessor may be requested to submit a written reflection; however, this must be clearly detailed in the IQA report and action plan.   Feedback should relate to the learning outcomes and assessment criteria only.

Reports

Upon completion of the verification activity, the IQA will submit their reports to the Head of centre as soon as possible. Reports should be sent electronically.

Should any urgent issues have been identified during the activity, the IQA will report to the Head of centre immediately.

Standardisation

Standardisation ensures the validity and reliability of the IQA process.  IQA team members are required to attend regular meetings to review best practice, raise ideas/concerns and to receive updates on process/policy/training etc.

Standardisation events are also organised by QNUK. Attendance of these meetings/events contributes to individual Continuous Professional Development (CPD) portfolios.  CPD is an important part of the quality assurance process and IQAs maintain a record of their CPD activities.

A key component of a CPD record is reflective statements.