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Practice makes perfect
By trialling the same course up to 75 times and learning from all 1,000 courses we teach each year we are improving the quality of the education we deliver.
It is great to know that we have been assessed as an ‘outstanding’ learning provider* and that 90% of visiting teachers rate us in the highest category on a 5 point satisfaction scale. We work hard to achieve this with sophisticated continuous improvement systems.
One of the key processes enabling us to produce high quality courses is formative evaluation and applying our own learning to each successive course we offer.
‘Discovering Epping Forest’, one of the projects we are currently delivering, is built around formative evaluation processes. In this project Epping Forest Field Centre is responsible for delivering three of the six modules to year 5 classes from 25 primary schools.
The following formative evaluation processes are helping us to continually improve the delivery of the ‘Discovering Epping Forest’ project.
• Repeatedly teaching each module 25 times enables us to refine the teaching and ensure it meets the needs and expectations of the pupils and their teachers.
• Constructive feedback from school teacher and pupil evaluation forms helps us to identify highlights of the course and improvement points for the following year.
• Throughout this project Epping Forest Field Centre is working with three other Learning Providers to promote discovery learning in Epping Forest. Discussions with the other Learning Providers enable us to share experiences.
• At the end of each academic year a workshop is held for designated Champion teachers from each primary school to discuss learning points and future programme development.
We are applying these formative evaluation processes to the other courses that we deliver at the Centre to ensure they are all of high quality. In addition to learner and teacher feedback, we have other internal mechanisms for course review and sharing best practice across our team. We also have the benefit of all the expertise that collectively exists throughout the Field Studies Council. With 17 centres across the UK and the support of leading academics and practioners there is no shortage of best practice that we can adopt.
And with nearly 1,000 courses at this Centre per year (often including 110 river studies days) we now have lots of opportunities to apply the learning from one course to another. We have listened to pupils and teachers and always try to build on what we do well and to improve the things we have not done so well. We view teachers from our partner schools as ‘colleagues for collaboration’ and ‘critical friends’, and we hope that you will keep telling us how we can continue to meet your needs now and for the future.
*Chris Warn (former Senior OFSTED Inspector) described the overall provision of the Centre as ‘outstanding’ after his 2009 external evaluation visits (OFSTED equivalent).
Thursday, October 6, 2011