With grant funding from the UPP Foundation, NNECL has been able to develop and pilot a new Quality Mark to support institutions to achieve the best outcomes for their care experienced students.
An initial pilot phase ran in 2019 involving seven universities and four FE colleges. The outcomes of that pilot, alongside regulatory changes and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, have further shaped the initiative and given a stronger focus on mental health and wellbeing.
The new Quality Mark will involve an institutional self-assessment with assistance from a NNECL assessor. The process is designed to be holistic and will cover the following seven areas: culture and leadership; continuous improvement; pre-entry activity; admissions; student wellbeing; student success; and collaborative and partnership working.
For each area, the Quality Mark has identified a set of criteria statements against which participating institutions will provide evidence for assessment. The process will help institutions to design an action plan for further improvement in their ongoing support for care experienced students. Proportionality is another key feature of the framework, reflecting the diversity of institutions within the HE and FE sectors. The guidance document also contextualises the framework against the different requirements and policies of the four nations of the UK.
We are currently trialling the revised Quality Mark with 8 HE/FE institutions in Greater Manchester, funded by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority. This will enable us to test and refine the Quality Mark further prior to its public launch and roll out in late May 2021. Further details on the launch will be available soon.