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Overview

This strategy will outline how Learn Devon will plan, deliver and evaluate the provision of educational advice and information to adults over the age of 16.

What is IAG?

Information means the provision of information on learning, training and work, without any discussion about the relative merits of the options through:

  • printed materials such as leaflets and posters;
  • audio-visual materials via the internet, Learn Devon website and social media channels;
  • verbal information on a face-to-face basis through local centres or via telephone or live online events
  • verbal and audio-visual information via online learning platforms

Advice requires more interaction with the service user, usually on a one-to-one basis. It may require explanation of some of the information provided, how to access and use information, and a recognition of when more in-depth services may be required by the user.

Guidance requires a trained advisor. Learn Devon does not provide a guidance service.

What is the purpose of information and advice provision?

To ensure that adults are supported to make informed decisions which enable them to engage in appropriate learning programmes, complete the intended learning outcomes and achieve personal learning goals.

Advice and information will be impartial and will signpost individuals to wider guidance services, such as careers guidance and other education and training providers who are better placed to meet their needs.

Our foundation for planning and delivery of IAG

Learn Devon's Values

  • Act with integrity, placing people and communities at the heart of what we do
  • Passionate about improving lives through learning
  • Inspire and empower people to reach their potential
  • Use innovative solutions

Principles of Coherent IAG Service Delivery

  • Accessible and Visible – IAG services should be recognised and trusted by clients, have convenient entry points from which clients may be signposted or referred to the services they need, and be open at time and in places which suits clients’ needs;
  • Professional and Knowledgeable – IAG frontline staff should have the skills and knowledge to identify quickly and effectively the client’s needs. They should have the skills and knowledge either to address the client’s needs or to signpost or to refer them to suitable alternative provision;
  • Effective Connections – Links between IAG services should be clear from the client’s perspective. Where necessary, clients should be supported in their transition between services;
  • Availability, Quality and Delivery – IAG services should be targeted at the needs of the clients, and be informed by social and economic priorities at local, regional and national levels;
  • Diversity – The range of IAG services should reflect the diversity of clients’ needs;
  • Impartial – IAG services should support clients to make informed decision about learning and work based on the client’s needs and circumstances;
  • Responsive – IAG services should reflect clients’ present and future needs;
  • Friendly and Welcoming – IAG services should encourage clients to engage successfully with the service;
  • Enabling – IAG services should encourage and support clients to become lifelong learners by enabling them to access and use information to plan their careers, supporting clients to explore the implication for both learning and work in their future career plans;
  • Awareness – Adults should be aware of the IAG services that are relevant to them, and have well informed expectation of those services.

Learn Devon’s Disability and Inclusion Principles

Our IAG service will always be learner centred and will address equality and promote diversity. Information and advice giving will take account of the requirements of individuals who use alternative forms of communication and Learn Devon will use a range of methods to help adults be better informed about learning opportunities.

Our new strategy for 2020-2023

A review of current practice suggested that there were gaps in the effectiveness of IAG either because the information is not available or clear enough, or there is a lack of a standardised approach across the region. We have drawn from our stakeholder consultation some themes and below are recommended practical next steps to improve the information, advice and guidance (IAG) available for learners.

The key aims of our strategy are

  1. To provide all learners and potential learners, with clear information and advice, including signposting to formal guidance that empowers them to make informed choices about their learning within and beyond the service.
  2. To ensure that the provision of information and advice is in line with Learn Devon’s Disability and Inclusion Principles.
  3. To enable staff to support learners in achieving agreed learning outcomes and personal learning goals.
  4. To help learners plan their future learning to support their personal and work aspirations.

Our objectives and target activity

Learners and potential learners receive clear, accurate, up to date, accessible and impartial information before committing to a course

What we seek to address

  • From a review of IAG we have found that there are varying levels of quality of Course Information Sheets (CiSs). CiS information gaps have included lack of accuracy, not being up to date and often don’t change for recurring courses. Very often the initial IAG that learners get will be via our website and through reading CiSs.
  • Our customer service teams have identified our website as a barrier to potential learners accessing information. They regularly receive requests for information which is available and for help navigating the website.
  • Overwhelmingly the feedback from learners’ surveys in the academic year prior to this strategy being written has been positive about the IAG potential learners have received before joining their course. Customer service teams agreed that receiving learner survey or evaluation results could help them improve performance and build on successes.

Target activity

  • We will ensure that CiSs provide accurate, engaging, accessible information to learners. We will know that we are achieving this from a) periodically reviewing learner feedback and evaluation (qualitative target to be included here once Learner Voice project is completed) and b) attaining feedback from Customer Support Officers.
  • We will improve the functionality, purpose and accessibility of our website by prioritising the work associated with the website roadmap and regularly using learner feedback to measure the improvements we have made.
  • Promote website links to ‘practice before joining’ English and maths exercises available online which help learners prepare for learning. Checking and updating links regularly.
  • Learner feedback and evaluation results at a sub-regional and regional level to be provided to SCSOs to be shared with CSOs and used for team level planning.

Who will do what? (L) = Lead

  • Marketing Officer (L) will provide training for tutors on writing engaging CiS, ACOs will line manage tutors performance in completing the CiS, CCOs will check CiS quality relating to curriculum standards and SCSOs will gather CSO feedback.
  • Business Support Team Manager (L) will provide a report on progress of website development in accordance with roadmap. MIS Team will contribute data to this report.
  • Marketing Officer (L) will work with create this content. Learning Support Team will provide appropriate links and regularly check relevance.
  • BST Senior Support Officer to send data to SCSOs (L) to be reported at Customer Service Team meetings.

When to start and how often?

  • 2020/21 start with an annual review
  • As set out in Website Roadmap and Learner Voice Strategy
  • 2020/21 start and provide termly

Learn Devon provides learners with appropriate opportunities to discuss how a proposed course meets their needs, including access to initial assessments for English and Maths to inform individual learning plans.

What we seek to address?

  • At peak times during the academic year there is an increased demand for initial assessment for English and maths which can impact on capacity of learning support staff to provide opportunities to discuss proposed courses. This differs within the sub-regions. From consultation with staff we have identified some administrative changes which could potentially improve this situation. Since transitioning the service to deliver primarily online the initial assessment process is being administrated regionally.

Target activity

  • Agree a service benchmark for processing (both length of time and volume) initial assessments sub-regionally for classroom delivery and regionally for online delivery. Compare performance against benchmark on a termly basis.

Who will do what? (L) = Lead

  • Area Manager (L) agree with LSCOs and SCSOs the benchmark for processing initial assessments. LSCOs and CSO work towards the benchmark and highlight any issues to Area Managers and SCSOs. Area Managers include performance in reporting to SMT.

When to start and how often?

  • 2020/21 start with termly reporting

 

Information and advice about learning support is easy to access for learners and potential learners, any financial help available and/or other local learning opportunities that might meet their needs.

What we seek to address?

  • Information on learning support is available in paper and digital formats as well as on the Learn Devon website. Customer service and learning support staff feel confident about being able to provide information on support available. An area identified for improvement by staff was communication about bursary fund availability and tutor distribution of learning support information within class.
  • Our service has transitioned rapidly to online delivery during 2020 due to coronavirus restrictions. The provision of learning support information and advice is adapting with new online enrolment days and Facebook Q&As being trialled. New ways to signpost learners to information and advice on learning support are being tested and improved upon.

Target activity

  • We will review regularly how signposting from IPEGs supports the provision of IAG.
  • Area Coordinators to raise awareness of tutors during line management 1:1s and team meetings of learning support provision and how learners can access this provision.

Who will do what? (L) = Lead

  • Learning Support Manager (L) will work with Business Support Team Manager to review. LSCOs (L) promote and raise awareness of ACOs of IAG during area meetings. ACOs will line manage tutor’s performance through 1:1s.

When to start and how often?

  • 2020/21 start with termly review

Learners can access clear, accurate, up-to-date, accessible, impartial information, advice and guidance about progression opportunities. Formal guidance will be through referral to appropriate practitioners for specialist or alternative help.

What we seek to address?

  • Understanding of roles and responsibilities in relation to IAG for progression vary across the organisation which can lead to differing sub regional approaches.

Target activity

  • Produce a flow chart of responsibilities for supporting learners with information, advice and guidance for progression and consult all staff within teaching and learning support.
  • Schemes of Work include the options for curriculum progression routes internally and referral to LSCO for signposting to external information, advice and guidance.

Who will do what? (L) = Lead

  • Learning Support Manager (L) creates flow chart based on job description responsibilities. Consults staff on current practice compared to flow chart and agrees practice going forward recorded on flowchart with version control. Tutors, Customer Service Teams,
  • Curriculum Team (L) inform, support and check that Schemes of Work include progression routes.
  • Tutors receive CDP training from Curriculum Team and LSCOs on identifying progression routes.

When to start and how often?

  • 2021/22 start with an annual review

Learners can be confident that their personal information will be dealt with in accordance with our privacy policy.

What we seek to address?

  • Learners can be confident that their personal information will be dealt with in accordance with our privacy policy.

Target activity

  • Data Protection Policy is up to date and staff are made aware of their duties under GDPR.

Who will do what? (L) = Lead

  • Senior Management Team (L) communicate to all staff they line manage.
  • BST make all staff aware of where the Data Protection Policy / GDPR Guidance is on SharePoint
  • ACOs check tutors awareness of IAG their responsibilities.

When to start and how often?

  • 2020/21 start with annual action

Learners are provided with a range of opportunities to feedback on the information, advice and guidance service provided by Learn Devon and are provided with information about how Learn Devon has used their feedback to improve their situation or service delivery.

What we seek to address

  • There is focused work being carried out to improve how we attain and use learner feedback and evaluation to improve our service.

Target activity

  • Learner Voice Strategy is up to date and our performance in delivering this is reviewed periodically.

Who will do what? (L) = Lead

  • Senior Management Team (L) signs off Learner Voice Strategy, monitors performance towards strategy aims and objectives.

When to start and how often?

  • 2020/21 start with an annual review

 

To ensure that all staff are aware of and are supported in meeting the standard of information, advice and guidance required to meet the Matrix standard; Education Inspection Framework (OFSTED) DCC customer service standard and national IAG board principles.

What we seek to address

  • Staff are already committed to making continuous improvements and following regulatory and best practice standards.

Target activity

  • Continue to provide opportunities for staff to increase awareness and gain support in meeting standards through communications via staff newsletter, senior management Q&A, line management support and CPD opportunities.
  • Evaluate staff awareness of standards and the organisation’s progression in improving or meeting standards in an annual staff survey.
  • Keep the organisational structure chart up to date with changes and easily accessed.

Who will do what? (L) = Lead

  • Senior Management Team (L) monitor strategic and operational activity to include target activity.
  • Learning Support Manager (L) develops survey and sets out activity to improve practice based on results.
  • Marketing Officer promotes the survey and reports results through newsletter.
  • Senior Management Team (L) informs Business Support Team of changes required to the organisational chart.

When to start and how often?

  • 2020 ongoing

 

Staff have access to up to date information to support the delivery of an effective information, advice service together with information to enable signposting to further guidance

What we seek to address

  • Our Area Coordinators have broad range of community contacts and our Customers Service Teams have knowledge of the communities where we are located. This could be formalised and build upon the informal information network which already exists so that information is shared.

Target activity

  • Create an information network with organisations who learners can be signposted to for pastoral support (e.g. money advice, citizen rights, social and health support).
  • Create and keep updated a page within the Centre Staff area of SharePoint with links to organisations within the network.
  • Invite organisations into centre’s to provide an information stall or talk for learners and staff to drop into.

Who will do what? (L) = Lead

  • Customer Service Officers (L) meet and identify key organisations from across the region to contact.
  • One nominated CSO from each sub-region to make contact and lead on target activities.
  • Learning Support Manager monitors impact of the activities on learners and staff through learner and staff survey.
  • SMT will develop / update appropriate policy to cover visiting speakers from external agencies.

When to start and how often?

  • 2021/22 start with termly review
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