Quality Policy

Control of document

Adult Community Learning Senior Leadership Team

Policy aims and intentions

Consistent approach to the presentation, development, and communication of ACL strategies and policies

Responsibility Group

ACL Senior Leadership Team

Date of acceptance

October 2012

Last review date

August 2023

Next review date

August 2024


All ACL staff, learners and subcontractors.   The description “learners” is inclusive of apprentices and traineeships.

Stored location

ComEd Pool/Policies and Strategies.

VLE within ACL Policies

ACL Staff Portal

The Policy

This policy sets out the systems and processes which underpin the way we work with our learners and partners to meet their requirements.  We are committed to putting our learners and learners at the heart of what we do and recognise that we all have a role to play in this.

ACL is committed to an ethos of continuous review and improvement in the standards of delivery of all aspects of its service.   We will maintain this through rigorous systems of quality improvement, monitoring, and management.

How we will achieve our aims:

  • setting out clear aims and objectives which underpin the Service’s development and operational plans and creating a common, sustainable mission shared by all stakeholders.
  • implementing policies and procedures which are clearly set out, effectively communicated, consistently applied, monitored, and reviewed.
  • working to clear standards which stipulate the level of service, and the quality of teaching and training that learners and potential learners can expect.
  • engaging in peer review, self – assessment and development activities to benchmark the quality of provision with other providers.
  • engaging in a range of national networking events, for example, through HOLEX, the ETF, and LEAFEA, to share good practice.
  • sharing best practice through local network groups
  • focusing on the needs of learners, communities and employers, seeking and acting on their feedback
  • implementing and evaluating a rigorous self-assessment process to review the quality of the service provided and setting targets for required improvements.
  • implementing an effective workforce development strategy which values, supports and develops the contribution of all staff.
  • rewarding excellent staff performance through reward and recognition schemes
  • analysing customer, learner, partner and employer satisfaction with the quality of service provided and taking appropriate action.
  • ensuring value for money and financial probity


  • evaluating and improving the quality of teaching, learning and assessment through session visits and professional discussion.
  • targeting staff development activities towards key areas of organisational development, service priorities and teaching, training and learning
  • conducting Performance Reviews, setting and measuring clear performance objectives
  • taking action to manage under-performance.
  • service and curriculum self-assessment process supported by the quality assurance cycle.
  • conformity with external quality standards i.e., Matrix, the Education Inspection Framework (2019), Keeping Children Safe in Education (2023) and awarding body regulations.
  • ensuring that appropriate quality monitoring/improvement systems are applied to sub-contracted provision.
  • systematic analysis of learner/employer/partner feedback on the quality of Service
  • supporting the wellbeing and safety of ACL staff and its learners

Supported by the structures of:

  • moderation and standardisation of teaching, learning and assessment activities throughout the year.
  • learner feedback on their learning experience
  • staff development
  • EDI Practice
  • Service Safeguarding and Prevent policies.
  • Customer services and Learner Support strategies.
  • Curriculum Monitoring and Performance Meetings each term.

The Learner Experience

Learners can expect:

  • a high standard of teaching and assessment from appropriately qualified staff whose work is reviewed and supported.
  • timely and impartial, information, advice, and guidance to support with choices regarding future learning and work options.
  • regular, constructive feedback on work and progress
  • a high-quality apprenticeship experience from qualified and occupationally competent curriculum staff
  • appropriate, accessible and sustainable resources
  • identification and assessment of individual learning needs
  • appropriate learning support including English and maths and digital technology.
  • a safe and supportive learning environment
  • differentiation of learning
  • well planned and structured learning opportunities
  • an inclusive approach which recognises diverse needs
  • representation of views via learner satisfaction surveys or focus groups.
  • progression advice that supports them into employment, self-employment, further learning/training, supportive work in the community, voluntary work or other appropriate progression routes.

Equality and Diversity

Adult Community Learning (ACL) Essex is committed to fairness and equality of access, opportunity, and outcome, and to eliminating all forms of discrimination together with any institutional barriers, which might disadvantage current or prospective learners and/or staff, and to take affirmative action to remedy any forms of discrimination in all aspects of ACL life.

ACL Essex aims to:

  • actively promote inclusivity for all learners, regardless of age, disability, race and culture, pregnancy and maternity, religion and belief, gender, sexual orientation, and social and financial circumstances
  • support all staff to promote a culture and ethos which fosters and values equality, diversity, respect and tolerance, challenges prejudice and discrimination and equips learners for life and work in a multi-cultural, multi-faith society.
  • implement the Essex County Council Framework for Equality Impact Assessments and take appropriate action to implement recommendations from Equality Impact Assessment outcomes.
  • make recommendations based on data trends and information sources to develop the curriculum and support quality improvement.
  • seek feedback from learners, prospective learners, internal and external partners to improve the learning experience and overall quality of our service.

Teaching and Learning

We support our tutors and assessors to develop further their teaching skills and techniques, to maintain subject specialist currency and to update their knowledge of local, regional and national priorities by:

  • the provision of an IQA Handbook for QCF accredited programmes.
  • Mentoring support for staff
  • Session Visit Policy
  • Comprehensive staff development offer

Session Visits

Sessions visits will:

  • be conducted as coaching opportunities with an emphasis on professional discussion, and development.
  • look to maintain and share best practice, as well as support those that are developing in their teaching role.
  • gain feedback from learners.
  • evaluate the impact of teaching on learner progress, achievement and success.
  • support colleagues in meeting the needs of external bodies/awarding organisations.
  • put emphasis on the quality of the learner experience, progress towards reaching learning goals and ability to progress to further learning/training/employment.
  • provide evidence for the Self-Assessment Report, particularly relating to teaching and learning, assessment, and achievement.

Learning walks will be conducted periodically throughout the year.  These are walk throughs and an opportunity to speak with tutors and leaners about their teaching and learning experience.  These may be conducted in partnership with peer visitors.

Internal Verification/moderation systems (IQA systems)

Please refer to the ACL IQA Handbook

External moderation/verification (EQA)

All EQA (external moderator/verifier) reports are maintained in a central file. Good practice is highlighted; issues for action are identified and monitored via the Curriculum Lead.

RARPA (Recording Progress and Achievement in non-accredited learning)

Judgements about learners’ success on non-accredited learning programmes are expected to be reliable, accurate, valid and robust.  The RARPA system (Recognition and Recording of Progress and Achievement) is in place to ensure that “hard” data on learners’ achievement of intended learning outcomes is used as a means of identifying areas of strengths and weaknesses within non-accredited learning.

Supporting Learners

ACL aims to provide a high-quality service to all learners through strategies and structures to ensure individual learning needs are met and maintained.  We also continue to review the support and systems in place so that we can monitor and implement improvements where necesSARy.

The Learning Support team:

  • respond to disclosure of need within two days of receipt.
  • implement appropriate support in partnership with appropriate subject sector team.
  • maintain documentary evidence of implemented support.
  • review implemented support with learner to ensure needs are continually met.
  • meet and respond to funding requirements as appropriate.
  • support customer services and curriculum to ensure financial support through Discretionary Learning Support Fund is managed effectively and funding guidance is adhered to.
  • develop a culture and improved understanding of need across ACL Essex by providing training and/or peer support to staff.
  • recruit, manage and develop LSA and Volunteer staff.

Information Advice and Guidance (IAG)

Adult Community Learning Essex was approved for MATRIX Re-Accreditation in October 2021.

Quality of Outcomes

The ACL Service is committed to improving learner success, setting and managing performance goals and targets, benchmarking performance, acting immediately on underperformance and identifying and sharing good practice.

The EIF (Education Inspection Framework, September 2019) in conjunction with the Professional Standards (2022) are used as performance-improvement frameworks to assess performance against national standards.

Destination and Progression Reporting

ACL carries out destination and progression reporting to inform the Curriculum Intent and Implementation.

Intended destination is captured prior to the completion of the learners programme of study or course.

Longitudal sampling of sustained destination reporting after the learner has competed their programme of study or course to establish if their intended destination was achieved and sustained.

Intended and actual destination is collated, analysed and reported on during the academic year and details the percentage of learners gaining positive destinations.

The analysis and review of learner destinations informs the effectiveness of the ACL’s curriculum planning process to ensure ACL’s curriculum offer is fit for purpose and provides the skills, knowledge and attitudes to all learners to attain their intended goals.


The Learner and Stakeholder Voice

We will:

  • engage with stakeholders, learners and potential learners to gather their views.
  • act on learner feedback to plan, manage and improve provision.

We aim to identify and remove any barriers that potential or existing learners may have in participating in learning activities and to ensure that the principles of diversity and equality inform all learner involvement activity.

Health and Safety

The Service is committed to ensuring high standards of health and safety for its employees, learners and other visitors to its premises.

The Service is committed to promoting the “safe learner” concept in addition to ensuring a safe, healthy and supportive environment through health and safety management.

Tutors are provided with information regarding health and safety procedures through induction and ongoing service training.  Tutors complete a Health and Safety risk assessment at the start of each course, and this reviewed by curriculum leads.

Health and Safety is part of learner induction and is included within learner information.

By the end of the first session, learners will be informed on:

  • emergency arrangements
  • any significant risks
  • control measures for the risks
  • supervision arrangements and the contact person for any health and safety concerns
  • any restrictions or prohibitions that apply in the learning situation and premises.
  • any personal protective equipment or clothing that must be worn.
  • accident reporting
  • support for those with disabilities, learning difficulties and medical conditions.
  • any health and safety rules (“dos” and “don’ts”)
  • details of the safeguarding team and support available.

The Business Operations Manager is responsible for:

  • reviewing the Health and Safety monitoring systems
  • reviewing and updating subject specific risk assessments
  • ensuring that the Service complies with the Safe Learner concept and Health and Safety Procurement Standards (HASPS)
  • providing Health and Safety advice and support to ACL Managers
  • providing risk assessment as appropriate
  • overseeing termly Health and Safety Inspections for Centres
  • ensuring that risk assessments of ACL main and outreach premises are carried out.
  • collating, evaluating and monitoring trends in relation to all accidents and incident reports.
  • making recommendations for improvements relating to Health and Safety
  • Emergency Planning and Business Continuity.

Adult and Child Safeguarding

The ACL Essex Safeguarding Policies established agreed procedures to ensure that safeguarding, personal safety and security issues are embedded in the quality processes. The policies identify a designated safeguarding lead, supported by a Safeguarding Group.

Prevent duty.

ACL’s policy with regard to implementing its Prevent Strategy is primarily to protect vulnerable individuals from radicalisation and being drawn into criminal activity.

In line with the ACL Prevent strategy ACL’s security procedure takes into account the specific risks raised by Prevent.  All staff are trained in Prevent and are expected to be vigilant and report any concerns to their Line Manager or the Designated Safeguarding Lead.

The ACL service may provide learning opportunities and/or employ young people who fall within the scope of the Children’s Act 2004(under the age of 18 years) In addition, within learning programmes provided for parents/carers the service may become aware of child safeguarding issues and has a duty to collaborate with partner organisations where appropriate.

The Adult and Child Safeguarding policies will aim to ensure that clear direction is provided to staff and others about expected behaviour and action when dealing with both child and adult safeguarding issues and to make explicit the ACL Service commitment to the development of good practice and sound procedures.  They will ensure that staff are appropriately trained and supported to respond appropriately and sensitively to Safeguarding issues, that clear roles and responsibilities are identified and that a clear process is put in place should a disclosure of abuse be received, an allegation is made, or a suspicion of abuse occurs.   The policies will be reviewed annually.

Supporting and developing our Staff

The Service is committed to supporting staff and providing staff development opportunities in response to identified need, where the outcomes clearly contribute towards its objectives and are within budget constraints.

A training plan is produced annually and reviewed regularly. The plan is based on a needs analysis informed by:

  • the results of review processes
  • forward planning and the requirements of change
  • training and development needs identified through session visits.

All staff to undertake at least 30 hours of CPD per year (pro-rata).  All teachers and academic staff are required to plan, record and reflect on their CPD activities either by maintaining a CPD record as part of the annual self-review process or by using My LEARN.

Staff are supported to attend a range of training opportunities, in line with priorities and budget constraints, including those provided by Essex County Council’s Learning and Development team, ACL courses and qualifications, other in-house bespoke training, external events and conferences, external courses leading to further qualifications.

The Employer Experience

ACL works closely with employers to ensure that apprentices are supported in the workplace and that the employer is informed of the progress of their employee. The Apprenticeship Learning agreement and ILP is an agreement between the candidate, the apprenticeship team, and the employer.  It states what is expected of the candidate, the provider, and the employer.  It incorporates personal details of the learner, results of initial assessment, planned learning and support required and reviews.  All parties are aware of the learning that is due to take place and regular reviews are sent to the employer.  Employers are encouraged to feedback on the reviews on learner progress.

Health and Safety

HASPS (Health and Safety Procurement Forms) are completed by qualified and vocationally competent staff for all employers’ premises to ensure the safety of the learner in the workplace.  All learners in the workplace complete a Standard form which takes into account any physical or mental disabilities, set against the employer placement. It identifies risk assessment controls and prohibitions.

In addition, learner files are selected to confirm relevant Health and Safety documentation is in place, that Health and Safety Procurement Standard Forms are completed.

Equality and Diversity

All learners complete an Employers’ Rights and Responsibilities workbook or have E&D embedded within their learning.  This informs learners about diversity and equality and checks their understanding of legislation and its practical application.

Monitoring and Performance Meetings.

Monitoring and Performance Board (MAP) meetings are a key element of the ACL quality assurance cycle.  Each meeting will focus on teaching & learning, the learner experience, learner achievement, attendance, quality improvement plans, and relevant KPI.  Curriculum leads to present to a panel consisting of the MIS Manager, Vice Principal Quality and Compliance and the Vice Principal for Curriculum and Learning.  In the event of one being unable to attend another member of SLT or a Curriculum and Learning Manager will deputise.

Meetings to be held termly to focus on continuous improvement and the impact on learners.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Curriculum Lead – to lead the discussion.
  • Curriculum and Learning Manager – to support discussion.

MAP Panel Members

  • Vice Principal Quality and Compliance
  • Vice Principal Curriculum and Learning
  • MIS Manager (guest)

Service Self-Assessment

The aim of self-assessment is to achieve continuous improvement in the quality of provision and learner experience.  It involves evaluating provision against agreed criteria, making rigorous judgements about the quality of specific aspects and setting targets to improve. The reliability and rigour of these processes are an indication our capacity for self-regulation.

Key aspects of Self-Assessment Reports and Quality Improvement Plans are to:

  • focus on the learner.
  • evaluate the views of employers, partners and stakeholders.
  • support continuous improvement.
  • meet organisational needs.
  • support effective management.
  • form a key element in the annual planning and review cycle.
  • be linked to quality systems.
  • be part of strategic development
  • maintain evaluative rigour.

Key stages in the Self-Assessment process

Self-assessment is a continuous process which focuses on quality improvement. Self-Assessment reports will continue to align with areas of provision and also take into account organisational needs and preferences.

Review of areas of provision and Quality Improvement Plan (QIP)

Curriculum and Learning Managers work with Curriculum Teams to produce reports for the areas of provision and Quality Improvement/Development Plans which are then used to inform the SCL Self-Assessment Report (SAR)

The Executive Summary and Service Quality Improvement Plan

The service SAR is produced by the Vice Principal Quality and Compliance and provides overall judgements and grades based on the areas of provision feedback.  This informs the Service Quality Improvement Plan.

Review of Areas of Provision and Quality Improvement Plan

Each Curriculum/Subject Sector report will include the following:

  • Overall Effectiveness and Grade
  • Overview course information
  • Brief summary of improvements made since last Self-Assessment Report
  • Brief evaluative summary of overall strengths, weaknesses and areas for improvement/development based on outcomes for learners, quality of teaching, learning and assessment, effectiveness of leadership and management.

Key sources of evidence for self-assessing areas of provision include:

  • performance data, including enrolment, attendance, retention, achievement, and progression, destinations and employment rates, where applicable.
  • minimum levels of Performance
  • learner views, Learner satisfaction
  • observation of teaching and learning
  • quality of work produced by learners.
  • feedback from employers, partners, parents and carers
  • Equality and Diversity statistics and Equality Impact Assessments
  • RARPA moderation outcomes
  • Tutor course files and course review documents
  • other learner feedback, including compliments/complaints
  • curriculum mapping and needs analysis.
  • Moderator/Assessor and EV reports
  • Health and Safety audit results
  • Peer Review reports and action plans
  • Staff Development, training and impact plus staff qualification audits

Quality Improvement Plans

Self-assessment does not take place in isolation but is seen as one stage in a cyclical planning and review process.  Quality Improvement plans identify specific steps needed to address weaknesses and build on strengths and set measurable targets for improvement. The targets link to the Service and County Council strategic objectives. Progress in achieving improvement targets to be systematically monitored and results of actions taken should be reported on as part of Monitoring and Performance meetings. Plans may also include any new areas for development. These might include curriculum development/changes to meet identified need or new priorities.

Quality Assurance Cycle 2023-2024

A comprehensive cycle of quality activities throughout the academic year that proactively monitors the quality of education across all types of ACL provision.


Month Activity and Dates Responsibility

September 2023


SAR – agree base data.

Learner Voice summative results from end of course learner voice surveys produced.

Session Visits – scheduling of session visits for 2023-2024

Safeguarding – refresher training released

Safeguarding – KCSIE training released


Data Manager

Workforce Development Officer



Vice Principal Quality and Compliance


September 2023 Our ACL Away Days 31 August and 1st September

SAR – First draft, including achievement to date, provisional grade, completed and submitted to Vice Principal Quality and Compliance September 22nd.

Staff Development Offer – Autumn term edition released

Vice Principal Quality and Compliance

Curriculum Leads





Workforce Development Lead

October 2023 Learning Walk Week 9 October 2023

SAR – Amendments to SARs completed.  Final versions submitted to Vice Principal Quality and Compliance 27/10/23.

Strategic Advisory Board 10/10/23

SLT and Curriculum Leads/Management Team

Curriculum Leads and Management Team


Board Members

November 2023 SAR moderation

·       Moderation by curriculum leads.

·       Moderation by external peers

·       Strategic Advisory Board

SAR Executive Summary Completed and shared with SLT.

Strategic Advisory Board 9/11/23

ILP Moderation Dates (tbc)

Curriculum Leads

Curriculum and Quality Improvement Group and Peers

Board Members

Vice Principal Quality and Curriculum

Board Members

Workforce Development Lead, Curriculum Teams

December 2023 MAP Meetings w/c 4/12/23


Session Visit – Moderation

Curriculum Leads

Vice Principal Quality and Compliance

Workforce Development Lead, Curriculum Teams

January 2024 SAR uploaded to Ofsted Portal

QIP Updates 23-24

·       monitor progress against targets using monthly performance data.

·       Curriculum and Quality Improvement Group Monitors Service Quality Improvement Plan and reports to SLT.

Strategic Advisory Board 15/1/24

Our ACL Away Days 4&5 January 2024

Staff Development Offer – Spring term edition released

Vice Principal Quality and Compliance

Curriculum Leads and Managers

Curriculum Leads and Curriculum Managers


Curriculum and Quality Improvement Group


Board Members


Workforce Development Lead

February 2024 Learning Walk Week w/c 12/2/24

MAP Meetings w/c 26/2/24

Curriculum Leads/Management Team


March 2024 Strategic Advisory Board 6/3/24

Tutor Course Pack – review of tutor course packs (prep for 24-25)

Board Members

Quality and Compliance Team

April 2024 MAP meetings w/c 15/4/24


ILP Moderation Dates (tbc)

Learning Walk Week 29/4/23

Curriculum leads and managers.


Workforce Development Lead, Curriculum Teams

May 2024 Strategic Advisory Board 20/2/24

Staff Development Offer – Summer term edition released.


Board Members

Workforce Development Lead

June 2024 SAR – Curriculum Manager data management workshops held.

SAR – New ACL Self -Assessment Guidance Handbook issued to Curriculum teams



Vice Principal Quality and Compliance

July 2024 SAR – Curriculum Teams analyse qualitative and quantitative data to support evaluative judgements against Self-assessment criteria.

SAR Coaching Sessions

QIP – Sign off QIP 23-24

Strategic Advisory Board 9/7/23

Our ACL Away Day 19/7/24

Updating of policies (ongoing)

Curriculum Leads and Managers



Curriculum Leads and Managers, Workforce Development Lead, Vice Principal Quality and Compliance.

Board members



The calendar for reporting aligns with the following data collection timetable 2023-2024

Year Return Code Data included up to: Changes/additions/results to be entered by: Submission Deadline
23/24 R01 31/08/2023 31/08/2023 04/09/2023
23/24 R02 30/09/2023 29/09/2023 03/10/2023
22/23 R14 31/07/2023 12/10/2023 17/10/2023
23/24 R03 31/10/2023 31/10/2023 02/11/2023
23/24 R04 01/11/2023 01/12/2023 04/12/2023
23/24 R05 31/12/2023 31/12/2023 03/01/2024
23/24 R06 01/01/2024 31/01/2024 02/02/2024
23/24 R07 28/02/2024 28/02/2024 04/03/2024
23/24 R08 31/03/2024 30/03/2024 03/04/2024
23/24 R09 30/04/2024 30/04/2024 03/05/2024
23/24 R10 01/05/2024 01/06/2024 04/06/2024
23/24 R11 30/06/2024 29/06/2024 02/07/2024
23/24 R12 31/07/2024 31/07/2024 02/08/2024
23/24 R13 31/07/2024 10/09/2024 12/09/2024
23/24 R14 31/07/2024 12/10/2024 15/10/2024


Monitoring and evaluating the policy

  • The ACL Principal has overarching responsibility for monitoring the overall effectiveness of the ACL Service and its capacity to improve or maintain excellent provision.
  • The Vice Principal Quality and Improvement is responsible for the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the Quality Improvement Plan.
  • Curriculum and Learning Managers will confer with and advise all Curriculum Leads on the implementation of the policy who will in turn cascade this to tutors, assessors, and learning support staff.
  • Centre Leads and the Business Operations Manager will confer with and advise all customer services staff and site staff on the implementation of the policy.

Associated Policies and Documents

  • Adult Safeguarding Policy
  • Childrens Safeguarding Policy
  • Online Safety Policy
  • Computer Use Policy
  • Exams Policy
  • IQA Handbook
  • Session Visit Policy
  • Self-Assessment Handbook
  • Positive Behaviours Policy
  • Fitness to Learn Policy
  • Staff Development Policy
  • ECC Equality and Diversity Policy

If you require this document in any other format, please email jaimie.huckfield@essex.gov.uk stating the document name in full and the format you need.