Newcastle College Group (NCG) is one of the largest providers of skills and training in the UK (annual turnover approximately £130m), delivering regional and national education, skills and employment goals. NCG is made up of six operating divisions comprising Newcastle College, Kidderminster and West Lancashire Colleges, Newcastle 6th Form College, Intraining, (providing training and employment related services) and Rathbone. It has secured Taught (and Foundation) Degree Awarding Powers (TDAP.)
Academic governance has been reviewed in relation to new assurance responsibilities and the securing of TDAP and new governance arrangements have been put in place. There is a new HE Committee which is a sub-committee of the Corporation with a minimum of three Governors on it. The Committee’s terms of reference and calendar of reporting have been designed to comply with Element Four of the HE Code of Governance and include clear responsibility for challenge assurance for academic governance. The new HE Committee is charged, in its terms of reference, with responsibility for reporting to the governing body on academic governance effectiveness. Governance effectiveness is achieved through a clear framework and planned programme of reviews undertaken and presented to the governing body.
There is an HE Academic board - the Chair is the Chief Executive Officer of NCG and a member of the governing body. The HE Academic Board reports in to the new Corporation HE Committee on all academic matters. Each governing body meeting receives a monthly HE report as a standing agenda item. The report covers:
- National HE policy updates plus updates;
- Academic standards
- Quality of learning opportunities
- Enhancement and public information
There is also an annual HE report to Governors which collates all the relevant data and student feedback for HE. Included in the report are the outcomes from an HE Quality Audit (where School Quality Managers have been partnered with HE Managers across the divisions to audit other schools) and from HE Quality Reviews undertaken twice a year by Schools with an internal scrutiny team involving targeted interventions and focused action planning as outcomes.
The annual review includes:
- Programme progression and completion data (including classification statistics where appropriate) including comparisons with previous years’ data
- Application and admission data (acceptances and conversion rates)
- Withdrawal rates
- Pass rates (including classifications)
- Destination and progression of leavers.
The review also considers good practice and areas for improvement on each of the following:
- Teaching on the programme
- Assessment and feedback
- Academic Support
- Organisation and management
- Student involvement in quality assurance and enhancement
- Employer engagement with the programmes
- Research and scholarly activity
- External and internal audits.
Management responsibilities within the HE Directorate and Newcastle College have been split and an HE Registry formed serving as an assurance function providing governance on behalf of NCG. The HE Registry is responsible cross-group for HE data, Awarding Bodies and quality and standards. The Colleges remain responsible for delivery of teaching and learning and admissions and enrolments.