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Quality Assurance Policy & Framework



Purpose of the Policy

CTSW Training/1st Leap Training is committed to delivering high quality skills training to enable learners undertaking an apprenticeship programme to succeed, progress and thrive in their chosen career, by ensuring they have the right level of knowledge, skills and behaviours. In return supporting employers to develop a sustainable workforce. 

To achieve this, we need a quality assurance framework which will allow us to strive for excellence and meet our external stakeholder’s expectations and satisfaction. 

The Quality Assurance framework has been designed to provide a platform for us to review and monitor the quality of our provision through a range of activities, leading to sustained improvements to the learning experience and successful outcomes for learners. 

Scope of the Policy


This policy applies to all staff and associates involved with the management and delivery of CTSW Training/1st Leap Training programmes.


Access to the Policy and Quality Assurance Framework


This policy and Quality Assurance framework can be accessed electronically and will be disseminated as part of staff and associates inductions.


Related documents and procedures

Quality Assurance Audit - compliance documentation

Internal Quality Assurance Strategy

Observations of Teaching and Learning Strategy and documentation

Learner Initial Assessment and Induction procedure

Standardisation and Training (CPD)

Internal Quality Assurance feedback forms

External Audit arrangement

Self-Assessment Report and documentation

Quality Improvement Plan



This policy is the responsibility of the Managing Directors of CTSW Training/1st Leap Training. 


Quality Assurance personnel are responsible for implementing the procedures and monitoring the overall effectiveness of the provision, through the Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) and Self-Assessment Report (SAR).


Tutors are responsible for taking an active part in the quality assurance processes in order raise the standard of teaching and learning and to promote best practice. 


Quality Assurance Framework


There are eight key areas of activities within the framework, which are designed to support our ability to drive continuous improvement throughout the provision and meet external audit arrangements. 


The eight key processes are;


  • Internal Quality Assurance audit (IQA).

  • Observations of Teaching and Learning (OTL)

  • Observations of controlled assessments and moderation. 

  • Compliance audits

  • Data analyses

  • Evaluation of learner feedback 

  • Quality Improvement Plan (QIP)

  • Annual Self-Assessment Report (SAR)


  1. Internal Quality Assurance audit (IQA)


The overall purpose of IQA is to implement a risk strategy where we can monitor and evaluate the overall effectiveness of our delivery and maintain a rigorous assessment process. The systems are designed to support external audit arrangements required by Awarding Organisations (AO) and Ofqual. 


Assessors will be supported and guided by Internal Verifiers (IV) who are appointed by CTSW Training/1st Leap Training and licenced by the AO, where applicable. 


Assessors are likely to move from one risk banding to another depending on a numbers of factors, which are outlined in the strategy. This influences the number of observations and sampling, which takes place throughout the contractual year. 


It is the responsibilities of the IV(s) and Quality Assurance Manager to review and monitor individual performance in order to mitigate any risk of sanctions enforced by an AO. 


CTSW Training/1st Leap Training is aware of the importance of ensuring that the IQA process is objective and supports the AO by scrutinising the assessment process by sampling across a range of principles - CAMERA:

  • Candidates

  • Assessors

  • Methods

  • Evidence

  • Records

  • Assessment sites and or cohorts. 


The following ‘RAG’ rating system is used to establish the volume of sampling required as part of our IQA sampling strategy.


  • Red - Unqualified (U) are considered high risk and all portfolios will be 100% internally quality assured. All assessment decisions must be counter-signed by an experienced assessor. This proviso will continue until the assessor qualification has been achieved. In addition to this, assessors who are new to post or are delivering the qualification for the first time may fall into this category. 


  • Amber - Assessors who are deemed to be reasonably experienced are considered to be making consistent and reliable assessment decisions are classed as low-medium risk, and as a result will have up to 50% of their work verified. 


  • Green - Assessors who are considered to be experienced and may have achieved their ‘V’ units or D34 are considered low risk. As a result they will have between 10 - 25% of their work internally verified. 


As part of the IQA process the IV will undertake observations of skills assessment in order to make a judgment regarding the standard of the assessment practice being conducted in a workplace environment. The process works in conjunction with the IQA process, whereby the observer will make reference to the consistency of the assessment decisions being made and whether particular protocols are being followed to meet the AO(s) requirements. This can include sampling of the learners’ evidence folders as well as interviewing learners and employers. 


  1. Observations of Teaching and Learning (OTL)


The objective of the OTL process is to provide a standardised framework to help observers make a judgement about the quality of teaching, learning and where appropriate assessment. The process has to be seen as supportive therefore CTSW Training/1st Leap Training have implemented ‘ungraded’ observations to focus more specifically on the development needs of an individual and overall curriculum content. The development needs of individuals are monitored through the quality improvement and training plan. 


All assessors/tutors will be observed on at least two occasions within the contractual year. To ensure judgements are consistent and free from bias we have adapted specified criteria outlined within the OFSTED inspection handbook (2020).  


CTSW Training/1st Leap Training recognise the importance of dealing with poor performance and as such will implement mechanisms to reduce any risk to learner progress and or achievements. This can include, but not limited to, implementing a capability plan and or placing individuals on lighter duties, including the removal of taught sessions. In this situation, we have an expectation that individuals will be committed to developing specific areas of their practice in order to facilitate effective teaching and learning sessions, which meet the expectations of our learners, employers and other stakeholders. Failure to do so, may result in the termination of contract. 


The observation process is not a standalone process and the views of the learners alongside their progress and course material will be taken into consideration when making overall judgements. 


  1. Observation of Controlled Assessment and Invigilation


The objective of process is to provide structured guidance to help observers make an informed judgement about the quality of the invigilation process and controlled assessments. This is especially in relation to Functional Skills English - Speaking, Listening and Communication (SLC)


In order to maintain the rigour behind the assessment process and comply with regulations laid out by JCQ we have implemented a set of documentation to formally record outcomes from these processes. All documentation is housed on the company one drive, which can be accessed remotely. 


The frequency of observations will depend on the number of learners, invigilators and assessment sessions. However, invigilators will be observed once (as a minimum) within the contractual year. 


Tutors undertaking Functional Skills Speaking and Listening assessments will participate formally in one onsite moderation process within the contractual year which is supported further by IQA sampling. Standardisation meetings and training will take place twice yearly where mandatory attendance is expected. 


As outlined in process 1, the IQA will adapt a CAMERA style approach and risk-band tutors according to their experience and the overall findings. This may include additional observations as required to support the development of an individual’s performance. 


  1. Compliance Audits


The objective to undertaking quality audits is to establish the overall effectiveness of how the learner’s journey is being recorded to mitigate any risk of monetary clawback from ESFA and or shortfalls in Ofsted grading. 


In order to meet external audit arrangements there are 4 key areas we focus on:

  • Establishing individuals starting point through the completion of initial assessment covering both the vocational and Functional skills strands

  • Implementation of individualised learning ( ILP) and target setting

  • Tracking and monitoring of progress (caseload reviews and end of phase reports)

  • Evaluating 20% off the job activities and assessing the overall impact this is having on the learners development

In order to facilitate this process learner files will be sampled on 3 occasions, at start, middle and end of the programme. Depending on the duration of the programme (13 months+) and Quality Assurance findings, the frequency of sampling may increase.

We will take a holistic approach when sampling to ensure that there is triangulation between the learners starting point, target setting and actual progress being made. Off-the-job training is crucial to the learners’ skills development and therefore it is imperative that we monitor activities being undertaken by individuals to assess whether these are having a positive impact on their progress and activities being undertaken are relevant to their course of study and personal development. 

We will formally record outcomes from this process by using documentation, which will include a set of grading criteria, to assess whether we are effectively recording information and to assess areas which may require further improvement. Feedback will be given directly to the tutor or assessor, or where there is more than one person involved disseminated as part of team or director meetings. Areas identified as requiring improvement will naturally fall into the QIP and be actioned accordingly by relevant team members. Where remedial action is required timescales will be allocated to ensure performance levels improves. 

  1. Data Analysis


We recognise the importance of capturing and using quantitative data to enable us to assess whether there are any gaps in our performance and to bridge these shortfalls, especially in relation to learner progress and achievements. Although not limited to, the following minimum data sets will be reported on a monthly basis and escalated during operation and director meetings:


  • In learning Progress (categorised as slow, satisfactory and good)

  • Achievements (Vocational and Functional Skills)

  • EPA (gateway and achievements)

  • Retention including withdrawals

  • 20% off-the-job

  • Attendance (classroom) sessions

It is important that we take opportunities to use the data correctly and evaluate between different groups of learners, therefore we will produce data sets which allows us analyse information in the following categories:

  • Geographical

  • Ethnicity

  • Disability

  • Gender

  • Employers (private/public)


  1. Evaluation of Learner Feedback

The learning experience is critical to the success of the business and therefore must be taken seriously by all personnel. Learners have the opportunity to share their views through the completion of learner surveys and module feedback. Both processes have been designed to capture a number of criteria to assess the quality of their experience and identify new learning and skills development. 

The frequency of the survey has been planned across the duration of the programme starting at the induction stage, during their programme and at the end as part of the exit review. Learners will have the opportunity to complete these remotely through survey monkey or orally through a telephone call. Information will be collated electronically and disseminated through team and board meetings. 

Learners have the opportunity to record their experience and new learning and skills development directly onto the learning platform. Tutors and members of the Quality Assurance team will monitor activity in this area and review comments being made by learners to share best practice and identify further improvements to the delivery and course content. 

  1. Quality Improvement Plan


The QIP is primarily a management tool designed to complete the following functions:


  • Identify key areas for improvements

  • Set realistic targets for completion

  • Measure the impact of the changes through data analysis 

  • Evaluate the overall effectiveness of the plan and how it is managed

Although this is seen as a working document for all personnel, the Quality Assurance Manager will take ownership of reviewing and monitoring performance towards the activities; disseminating information as part of monthly team and Directors meetings. 

Directors will provide direction with regards to signing off specific actions as complete, and support managers in implementing interventions to support the timely completion of actions.

  1. Annual SAR

The SAR is written at the end of a contractual year, usually between August and October. This process involves all staff, associates and key stakeholders, taking into account the views of the learners and employers. The completion of the SAR provides an opportunity for us to critically evaluate and report on key processes surrounding the learning experience, and to identify areas which require further improvement.

There are five themes which form the basis of the report, which are taken from criteria obtained from the Ofsted Handbook (2020):-

  • Effectiveness of Leadership and Management

  • Quality  of Teaching, learning and assessment

  • Personal Developmental, Behaviours and Welfare

  • Outcomes for Learners

  • Safeguarding

CTSW Training/1st Leap Training will use the Ofsted grading to assess current performance levels and identify how this can be improved upon, with outcomes naturally feeding into the QIP. 

  • Outstanding

  • Good

  • Requires improvement

  • Inadequate

The Apprenticeship Manager will take the responsibility of collating the information and writing the final report which will be reviewed and signed off at board level prior to publication. This is shared and accessible by all personnel, employers and other stakeholders including Ofsted and AO. 

Whilst this is an annual process, CTSW Training/1st Leap Training will review the SAR periodically with position statements drawn up to clearly report on progress being made in key areas.