Q. I am part of an organisation delivering out-of-school education to children. We want to achieve the Quality Mark, what do we need to do first?
Take a look at the ‘Route to quality assurance for supplementary schools‘ flow chart. If your local authority/safeguarding children board are already supporting supplementary schools you will follow the ‘blue route’. The ‘red route’ is for organisations that are not able to get support from the local authority and want to apply for quality assurance directly. Get in touch with us to discuss your options further 020 7697 4053/55
Q. I work for the local safeguarding children board, can you help us to ensure that out-of-school education in our area is being run safely and with regard to the law?
At NRCSE we have been working with local authorities to support community-led provision of ‘supplementary education’ since 1996, initiallyr in London as The Resource Centre for Mother Tongue and Supplementary Education, then across England in partnership with ContinYou and since 2012 as an independent charity NRCSE. Over 1,000 supplementary schools have joined NRCSE since 2012, and 352 have achieved a quality award. To find out how we can support you in your work download the ‘Route to quality assurance for supplementary schools‘ flow chart and get in touch with us to discuss further 020 7697 4055
Q. I want to open a supplementary school, what do I need to do?
Take a look at our ‘How to…’ guidewhich takes you through the steps of planning, establishing and running a safe and effective supplementary school.
Q. When does my membership expire?
- Subscribers’ membership will last twelve months.
- Quality Assured Membership will last 2 years from the day you received the quality award.
Q. Is there a defined period for membership renewals?
- For Subscribers/Former members : You should renew your membership one week before it expires. Online renewal is simple and can be completed anytime by clicking on ‘Renew your subscription by completing £25 payment’
- For Quality Assured Members : To request revalidation of your Quality Assured membership status simply click on ‘revalidate my Quality Mark‘, pay £130 and upload your documents. As soon as we receive your documents one of our Quality Development Advisers will be in touch with you to arrange a visit to your school.
Q. Who can I ask to help me quality assure my supplementary school?
In order to be quality assured by NRCSE, an appropriate person (either a UK qualified teacher or a registered NRCSE mentor must visit your supplementary school, see that your school follows procedures relevant to the setting and understood by staff, volunteers, parents and pupils as appropriate, and write an observation report/witness statement. You can get ready for their visit by logging in and taking the self-assessment quiz.
Changes in the way NRCSE is going to quality assure supplementary education
Q. Is it the case that individual schools wanting to access advice and information in relation to good practice etc. will still be able to access that via the NRCSE website, except that the only way they will be able to download templates now will be if they register by paying £25
That is already the case and has been since 2016.
Q. To achieve an NRCSE Quality Mark, will schools somehow need to access the three-day management course?
To be quality assured by NRCSE schools will first have to demonstrate that they are running safe provision. NRCSE offers a 3-day Good Management course as a way of supporting groups of supplementary schools to do that. We don’t prescribe it as the only way to support schools to run safely. NRCSE will look at the safe practice not at the means by which the school learned what constitutes safe practice. We will quality assure any school that wants our support to be quality assured. But it has to be paid for and the criteria for being quality assured includes the completion of an initial online stage to demonstrate that minimum standards are in place to ensure that children are safe.
From September 2017 – when a supplementary school comes to NRCSE to be quality assured we will first look at the structures they have in place to ensure that all their activities are safe, as well as effective. We will ask to see their management file/documents/practice.
Q. What about revalidation?
Schools will come back to a recognition meeting to renew their quality assurance. It will be individualised and dated. The process will look at their schools as it is in the term they come to a recognition meeting. To register for revalidation of your school’s quality assurance upload your mentor’s recommendation here. The supplementary school’s listing on the NRCSE website will be removed two years from the date of the recognition meeting.
Q. But my children’s school shows that it has the Silver Quality Framework Award. What does that mean now?
This video of a Silver Recognition meeting shows what schools had to demonstrate in order to get the Silver Award. They worked hard to produce the evidence and a mentor visited the school in operation and produced a witness statement detailing what they observed. This good practice is still recognised in our directory of quality assured supplementary schools.
Q. Will there are no Bronze Quality Framework Awards issued after July? So if a school is interested in achieving bronze they needed to do it before then?
The Bronze Quality Framework Award level (basic safeguarding standard) no longer exists. Basic safeguarding is a must, any organisation providing services to children should have everything in place to ensure childrens’ welfare and wellbeing. We can not validate basic safeguarding for local authorities unless government (local or central) pays us to do so. We are working to get all the schools currently at Bronze to attend a recognition meeting this year so they get an NRCSE Quality Mark (equivalent to Silver/Gold Quality Framework Award). The NRCSE Quality Mark will include verification and validation of safeguarding and management procedures but go beyond that to quality assure the teaching and learning taking place.
The Bronze was only ever a step towards quality assurance of teaching and learning. Too many (306 or 63%) of the 488 supplementary schools entering the QF stopped at Bronze. The quality of their educational activities was not recognised. NRCSEs mission is to support supplementary schools to deliver quality educational activities. It is not, and never has been, to police BAME community-organisations or to manage the implementation of local safeguarding procedures.
Q. What is the 3-day Good Management course?
NRCSE can be commissioned to work with groups of supplementary schools to prepare and implement the policies and procedures they need to run safely. The purpose of this three-day course is to help providers of out-of-school activities for children prepare a School Management Pack consisting of:
- A Welcome Pack for Parents
- Staff and Volunteer Handbook
- Management Committee Guide
- Safeguarding Policies and Procedures for all
Q. How much does the 3-day Good Management course cost and does this include venue and light refreshment costs?
At £1,350 for the full three days, and suitable for up to 20 learners, the course is very competitively costed to allow local authorities and other agencies to use their own venues/local community venues/negotiate with a community organisation to exchange venue for free place(s) – etc. The fee charged by NRCSE does not include venue or light refreshments. We may make an additional charge for travel expenses, but this will be discussed and agreed before the course is confirmed. Where possible we will use local NRCSE trainers.
Q. Will you run some general Good Management courses for individual schools?
Yes, we will run the course centrally (at Resource for London) for individual schools to book on. The fee will be in line with our existing open training course fees. If we can obtain funding to deliver open access courses elsewhere in the country we will do so. Check the event calendar to find courses running each month.
Q. What will schools get in the end?
The school representatives completing the course will get personal attendance certificates detailing what has been covered. Each school will be supported and encouraged throughout the course to produce (or update) the key documents: welcome pack for parents, staff and volunteer handbook, management committee guide and all the basic policies and procedures necessary to run safe and effective out-of-school educational activities.
Q. How will the course link in to NRCSE’s quality assurance offer?
The key documents recommended and developed during the course will meet the NRCSE’s minimum standards and entitle the school to put themselves forwards for the NRCSE Quality Mark.
Q. Do supplementary schools still have to meet a predetermined set of quality standards, over and above the Good Management Course? What about the proposed government regulation?
NRCSE continually engages with government agencies and local authorities to ensure that our recommended minimum standards meet all current, relevant, requirements for safeguarding in the out-of-school sector. The Dept for Education have confirmed that the Government does not currently have a timescale for the implementation of regulation the provision of out-of-school education. NRCSE’s director was on the advisory group to the government on the proposal to regulate and we have used the latest information from the Dept for Education and the Home Office on what that regulation might have looked like to develop our courses and minimum standards.
Q. What about Ofsted?
Supplementary schools are not classified as ‘schools’ by government/Ofsted and cannot be registered as such or inspected as such. Furthermore, they are exempt from registering with Ofsted as childcare providers so long as they don’t have children under 3 years, and any 3-5 year olds are not attending more than four hours per day. They can apply to join the voluntary part of the Childcare Register, this currently costs £114 and must be renewed annually.
Q. What would the self-assessment consist of? Will it just duplicate the Management criteria? Or will it move on to the teaching and learning?
The minimum standards (code of practice) quiz will ensure that the schools understand safe practice and the NRCSE Quality Mark self-assessment questionnaire will tell them whether they are ready to come to a recognition meeting. It will be up to the school to decide whether they are ready, they will pay to attend the recognition meeting and that fee will not be refunded if they don’t demonstrate sufficient quality. So the base line will be the current ‘silver’ descriptors.
Q. Do the schools still have to upload documents or will they show them to the mentor and bring them to the recognition meeting for checking?
Schools will have to upload some of their basic management documents in order to determine eligibility for the NRCSE Quality Mark. They will also bring them to the recognition meeting.
Q. Having three sets of descriptors does help schools to aspire to higher quality, and helps the mentor guide development. What’s going to happen to these?
The descriptors have been up dated, there are standard and advanced levels. Each descriptor will stand alone, so a school could be at standard level for creating and effective learning environment, teaching effectively and recording progress; and at advanced level for choosing the right resources, planning and development, selecting/supporting staff and financial planning. Schools will be encouraged to improve the quality of their delivery when they come back for recognition.
Q. How do you ensure consistency in the good practice recorded? Are there standardised statements? Do you plan to use the existing descriptors, but write on the certificate only those which the schools meet?
Yes, we will use the standardised discriptors and the quality report will state which ones are met ie. some will be met at standard level and some at advanced level. The quality report will be published on NRCSE’s website.
Q. How long will certification last?
Schools will receive a clearly dated certificate e.g. “On 15th September 2017, the NRCSE found that ……” so it will be up to schools (and funders) when they reapply. The supplementary school’s listing on the NRCSE website will be removed two years from the date of the recognition meeting.
Q. How will NRCSE decide which schools attend which recognition meeting? Currently can be difficult when one school teaching core curriculum find themselves at a meeting with three schools teaching language.
Flexibility of the new system means that recognition meetings will be able to be more thematic ie. three schools teaching faith or two schools teaching English and maths.
Q. Will there still be a need for a mentor witness statement and will mentors have to attend the recognition meetings now? I have no budget for travel.
There will still be a requirement for a mentor, or other appropriately qualified person, to visit and observe the school in action. The school will have to submit a mentor’s witness statement at the application stage. Mentors will not have to attend the recognition meeting although they will be very welcome. NRCSE will ensure that there is an independent educational expert giving their response as well as one school and one NRCSE person. So, the recommendation will no longer have a peer weighting.
Q. Will the recognition meetings be the same as now?
The educational expert and the NRCSE expert will scrutinise the portfolios before the supplementary schools attend to give their presentations. The presentations will be an opportunity to showcase the school and there will be more opportunity to discuss your school; to talk to the independent expert and the NRCSE expert; schools will be able to show a film of their school. Each school will have 8-10 minutes to present and 12-15 minutes to answer questions. Because the need for peer schools, other mentor has gone it should be easier to hold recognition meetings locally for 1,2,3 schools – the length of the meeting will depend on the number of schools participating.
Q. What about existing Quality Framework Awards?
The NRCSE website will state clearly that the QF is no longer operational. Schools that have QF Award will continue to be listed on the website for 2 years from the date of their QF Award or until they notify us of significant change such as a change of premises or significant reduction or increase in the number of pupils – which ever happens first. Schools that complete the new quality assurance will have a detailed report of their good practice whereas schools with a QF Award will not so we encourage all schools to come to a new recognition meeting as soon as possible.