We are delighted to announce our client Newcastle and Staffordshire College have been awarded Outstanding on the new Ofsted Education Inspection Framework. Smart Apprentices asked the college in what way did Smart Assessor e-portfolio support the college during their Ofsted visit and how does the college make use of the e-portfolio to deliver their apprenticeships to an Outstanding level.

Dean Moorhouse, Work-Based Learning Assessor for Business Administration and Customer Service at Newcastle College advised how other Smart Apprentices contributed to their Ofsted grade and what makes Smart Assessor their e-portfolio of choice.

What would you say are the most helpful features in Smart Assessor?

“We are currently using Smart Assessor with every apprentice within the NSCG group across both sites, This is at all levels for Business Administration, Customer Service, Retail, Management, all Engineering and Construction, Early Years, Health and Social Care,  Hospitality, Motor Vehicle, Plant Maintenance, Hair and Beauty and Accountancy.

Smart Assessor is great for us as it offers visibility and is easy to use, it enables early identification of learners who are at risk which means suitable and appropriate intervention can be applied earlier to reduce the risk of early leavers.

Learners can make progress in between visits by uploading evidence which is assessed between visits – this makes visits more productive and means they aren’t spent marking. Using the feedback system to clearly show how we are developing the skills learners require is definitely a positive feature.

Monitoring apprenticeships progression and providing support is easy with Smart Assessor and boosts employer engagement between them and the learner.

Under the new inspection framework there is a move away from data, however inspectors were very keen and actively aware of how to use the system, because of this prior to the inspection observation learners’ files were reviewed so inspectors were aware of the true apprentice journey and asked to show evidence produced on Smart Assessor to show how their work was planned and fed back on during their observations using evidence produced to show distance travelled.

Managers were then asked to describe and demonstrate how they identified learners at risk using SA and then the managers had to show how assessors recorded support on SA to support these learner’s journeys.”

What about support from Smart Apprentices during the visit?

“The support team and account managers are an amazing support system, if there are any issues, they are responded to and resolved promptly. My account manager spends time and regularly updates me on developments and changes to the system which allows me to provide better support to my colleagues and managers.

No matter how prepared you are for Ofsted, there is always a worry even though we have been preparing for an extended period for this inspection. Smart Assessor has helped with developments and training over the past 2 years including the merge of Newcastle and Stafford sites with apprentices meant that anytime we have requests regarding our apprentices we had it on hand which helped us to secure our Grade 1.”

What is your experience with Smart Assessor as a whole?

“I have used many e-portfolio systems in my career, and I can honestly say Smart Assessor is by far the most effective and easy to use system I have experienced. The ethos of Smart Assessor is to listen to its clients, provide support and work with them to develop its product and our practices to meet the constantly changing requirements of the industry – for this reason I would recommend anyone who doesn’t use Smart Assessor to have a look.”