QQI courses in SHEP
In early 2012 the agency then called The Further Education and Training Awards Council (FETAC, now incorporated into QQI) agreed SHEP’s quality assurance procedures. This means the SHEP is now registered with QQI to offer programmes leading to QQI awards in the National Framework of Qualifications.
We intend to offer only a small range of QQI accredited courses to complement the range of experiential courses offered by SHEP. Our first QQI-accredited course was a Level 6 minor award in Advocacy. This course was successfully delivered for a second time in Autumn 2014. Our next offering will be Leadership in the Community: An Introduction.
The National Framework of Qualifications
QQI is the national awarding body for further education and training. QQI has responsibility for making awards from Levels 1 to 6 on the National Framework of Qualifications. The function of QQI include making awards, determining standards, agreeing providers’ quality assurance, validating providers’ programmes, and monitoring and evaluating the quality of programmes. QQI does not provide training programmes nor does it fund others to provide programmes.
All training providers registered with QQI must demonstrate the capacity to maintain and improve the quality of education and programmes. This is done through a process of agreement regarding quality assurance procedures.
The National Framework of Qualifications
The National Framework of Qualifications comprises of 10 levels. It accommodates awards gained in schools, colleges, universities, workplaces and training centres from the most basic (QQI level 1) to the most advanced (QQI level 10) levels of learning.
The Framework helps to provide clarity to employers, learners and the public on the type and level of qualifications available in Ireland.
SHEP Education and Training Policies for QQI accredited courses
As part of our agreed Quality Assurance procedures with QQI, SHEP has developed a range of policies that will ensure a learner-centered environment. These policies include:
- Staff recruitment and development
- Access, Transfer and Progression of Learners
- Fair and Consistent Assessment of Learners
- Protection for Learners
SHEP will promote and ensure regular and effective communication at all levels of the project.
SHEP will provide relevant, accurate and up-to-date information and guidance about our programmes of education and training so that learners and potential learners can make informed choices and so that staff, trainers and tutors can be fully effective,
SHEP will use formats of communication which are accessible and which take into account the diversity of learners accessing our programmes of education and training.
In addition to communicating with staff, trainers, tutors and learners, SHEP will communicate with external stakeholders, as appropriate, as part of our commitment to transparency and accountability.
SHEP will encourage learners, staff, trainers, tutors and other stakeholders to contribute feedback and suggestions for the improvement of our programmes of education and training.
SHEP will respect at all time the dignity and equality of all persons.
SHEP will provide an environment that ensures equality of treatment for all our learners regardless of gender, marital status, family status, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, race, or membership of the Traveler community.
SHEP will comply with the requirements of the Equal Status Acts 2000 and 2004 the Employment Equality Acts 1998 and 2004 in relation to equality in employment, service provision and anti-harassment.
SHEP will promote within the project an environment where racism, sexism and all other forms of discrimination are unacceptable and seen to be unacceptable.
SHEP will develop policies, programmes, curricula, practices and traditions that facilitate individuals’ free, safe and full participation.
SHEP will promote an awareness of best practice through providing on-going training.
SHEP will regularly audit our training project operations for compliance with good practice in equality and diversity and plan for improvement to our practices.
Staff Recruitment & Development
SHEP recognises the importance of recruiting qualified, professional staff and trainers to ensure provision of a quality service to its learners.
SHEP will attract, select and appoint the best candidates through fair and transparent processes.
SHEP will ensure that all SHEP staff members will be well-matched to roles and have clear job descriptions.
SHEP will provide appropriate supports to all staff, trainers and tutors.
SHEP will ensure that staff, trainer and tutor development needs are regularly reviewed.
SHEP will arrange in so far as possible, appropriate further training and or continuous professional development for staff, trainers and tutors.
Access, Transfer & Progression
SHEP will facilitate access, support transfer and promote progression for the diversity of learners recognised in the Equal Status Acts 2000 and 2004, to enhance their educational opportunities.
SHEP will provide potential learners with appropriate, accurate and up-to-date information, in a suitable format, to make informed choices regarding programmes of education and training and progression options.
SHEP will treat equally all those seeking to enroll in our programmes of education and training in accordance with both course admission requirements and existing legislation.
SHEP will recognise a learner’s prior learning which may have been acquired through formal, non-formal, or informal routes
SHEP will provide necessary supports, within reason, to enable learners to successfully participate in courses.
SHEP will support learners to progress from one programme to another where possible, or to transfer to other programmes within the Project, or elsewhere, where appropriate.
Programme Development, Delivery & Review
SHEP will design and develop programmes of education and training based on social, personal and health education needs at local and regional level.
SHEP will deliver SHEP accredited and QQI accredited education and training programmes in a way that will meet the identified needs of learners and in accordance with best practice.
SHEP will review and evaluate our programmes of education and training to achieve excellence in programme development and delivery, with all stakeholders contributing to the evaluation.
Fair and Consistent Assessment of Learners
SHEP will continue to offer a significant number of experiential courses where learners engage in a process of self-assessment and there is no assessment of learners by trainers. This is because we believe the introduction of assessment would fundamentally, and adversely, affect the nature of the course.
With regard to courses where learners are formally assessed, SHEP will ensure that the assessment of learners is conducted in way which is consistent with our mission, and is internally and externally authenticated to ensure fairness and transparency.
SHEP will ensure that the assessment of learners is consistent across assessors, is consistent with national best practice and adheres to legislative requirements.
SHEP will ensure that the assessment system for externally accredited courses is fully understood and implemented within the Project by learners, staff, and trainers.
SHEP will clearly communicate i) how each programme of education or training is assessed, ii) what is expected of learners in terms of the assessment process, and iii) the rights of learners and trainers in the assessment process.
Protection of Learners
SHEP is not subject to Section 43 of the Qualifications (Education and Training) Act as the project is a registered charity operating on a not-for-profit basis.
However, SHEP is committed to providing appropriate protection for all our learners on all our programmes of three months duration or more. To ensure this we will endeavour to provide alternative learning option(s) for learners, within our service, should a programme cease unexpectedly.
In the event that courses offered by SHEP do not proceed, e.g. due to insufficient numbers, SHEP will refund learners any payment made. Furthermore, learners will be directed to other learning centres as appropriate.
Sub-contracting/Procuring Programme Delivery
SHEP retains sole responsibility for the delivery of programmes of education and training. Whilst course trainers and tutors are generally self-employed service providers rather than employees of the Project, responsibility for the management of the programmes of education and training always stays with the Project.
Self Evaluation of Programmes & Services
SHEP will promote on-going organisational self-evaluation with regard to all programmes of education and training.
SHEP will provide clear and defined procedural guidelines for organisational self-evaluation
SHEP will involve all relevant stakeholders in programme evaluation and will use a variety of methodologies.
SHEP will use an approach in self-evaluation which will be fair, positive, and focused on using the findings to enhance our delivery of programmes of education and training.
SHEP will complete a formal organisational self-evaluation at the end of Year One (following registration) and every three years thereafter.