Many of those working in Adult and Community Skills delivery unsurprisingly are committed to transforming lives through education. Often those that engage with the services of adult education have previously fallen through the educational net, so access to, and good experience of education is a key challenge in the sector, and one that is being increasingly met through the use of data.
A challenge for nearly every Adult and Community Skills provider is how to be dynamic to the changing needs of the community and to do so in an efficient manner. So understanding the communities in which they operate is critical to ensuring courses and their enrolment processes are effective and efficient. This is where data is first playing its part in the learner journey. In areas of deprivation for example, providers turn to their admissions postcode data held in their management information system (MIS) to make sure they are optimising their resources to tackle specific areas of deprivation.
Maximising the number of learners coming through the applications and enrolment stages is also a challenge providers find themselves tackling through their MIS data, drawing on analytics to target incomplete applications and simplify the whole process for both the prospective learner and the admissions team.
Enabling core teams to focus on the thing they are most committed to, helps get the very best out of each function. In this respect, function-specific data and KPIs are being used by tutors, managers and admin staff as an integral part of what they do to help them improve performance, whether this relates to, for example, attendance levels, successful completion of learning, financial performance of programmes or ensuring the quality of partner delivery.
Leaders of Adult and Community Learning providers have to have confidence in their data in order to make the right decisions for their delivery and to present information for audit and Ofsted purposes. With so much data being created, shared and acted upon (all too often from several separate systems) it is wise to regularly check its validity and ensure data and practices are compliant. Fine tuning its presentation so judgements and decision making are increasingly robust, is another area where providers are becoming more savvy.
The pressures on the FE and Skills sector mean that all providers need to get the very best out of their very committed staff. We’ve only scratched the surface of the topic here, but effective use of data is a discipline providers will need to embrace if they are to continue transforming people’s lives.
If you are a provider of Adult and Community Learning and are looking for expert advice on either data management and funding compliance, inspection readiness or management information systems, you can download our free paper here: