Evidence of improved collaboration and changes in organisation practices
The staff at the college are hourly paid and tend to work independently of one another. There is a culture of ‘ships passing at the photocopier’, but this project has given tutors a focus and reason to get together and work collaboratively and have valuable conversations about teaching. It has opened up opportunities for informal peer mentoring and helped tutors reflect on how these materials and lessons can effect cultural change in the classroom.
The tutors involved have started to see the benefits of sharing ideas, materials and reflections on teaching and learning. The project leader has had the opportunity to carry out learning walks that are not based upon college wide priorities and engage with the students and see the impact of the lessons on their engagement and enjoyment.
We have created better links with Student Services and are better able to signpost students to sources of support within and without the college.
Evidence of improvement in learners’ achievements, retention and progression
The students involved in this project have fully engaged with the learning materials. In the Entry level group, who have been immersed in the project, attendance is currently at 90% which is 9% up from the same cohort last academic year, and all the students in the group have been retained so far. A learning walk and student case study carried out within the group showed that students were able to talk openly about the challenges they face and that they were able to take risks and share with one another the painful stories of their past.
The experience in the level 1 group has not been as immersive yet: attendance for the cohort for the term has remained steady at 84% over 18/19 and 19/20. This is still below the college target of 90% but a step in the right direction. Evidence from learning walks shows that students have found the lessons stimulating and have expressed to me that the content of the lessons has been motivating and powerful. The tutor for this group has grown in confidence and has decided to use more of the materials with the group.
Attendance for term 2 continues to be high, which may be indicative of the increased focus on wellbeing. All the students from term 1 have progressed on to term 2. This is particularly notable as the level 1 group is a non-accredited group and students often lose motivation at this stage of the academic year as there is no external qualification attached to the course and it can feel that there is a ‘long way to go’.
The data is replicated in the level 2 group with attendance for term one at 82% for the past two academic years and has increased to 89% for term two. Some of the comments from the student evaluations also bear witness to the impact of the course on the students:
I really enjoyed the activities used in class for the past few weeks and I really understand what wellbeing means to me.
Talking about this topic made me think about my wellbeing and solutions for me to improve it.
Honestly this course is amazing and I’m very happy that I’m taking it.
It really does increase our resilience and teach us how to take care of our minds and bodies.