About QUAL4T 1 and 2
‘’Further Quality Improvement for VET, guiding teacher Teams in Europe in strategic planning’’ - QUAL4T2
This project runs from 11 November 2016 / 10 May 2019. The QUAL4T2 project is funded by the European Commission through the Erasmus+ KA2 Grant program. It supports teacher teams in VET schools in their use of quality assistance mechanisms like the Plan Do Check Act cycle. We aim to use a bottom-up approach when getting teams aware of quality mechanisms and address teachers in teams as the professionals that they are. The development of prototype products mixed with indispensable teacher feedback tends to lead to a further change of quality culture and a set of final quality tools that help teams in further development of their quality mechanisms.
QUAL4T 1 and QUAL4T2
After the successful implementation of the QUAL4T project, that focused on quality awareness by individual teachers, it deemed only a small step to a follow-up project named: Further Quality Improvement in European VET, guiding teacher Teams in their strategic planning (QUAL4T2). The value of the first project but also the needs for the follow-up project were clearly expressed in the final feedback of teachers and trainers from The Netherlands, UK, Spain and Italy, where the pilots took place. In QUAL4T2 the project partners aim to contribute directly to the improvement of outcomes of quality systems in Europe's institutes, by investing in teachers’ professionalization to develop more effectiveness and involvement of teachers/trainers in the quality strategic planning.
Teams in VET education are facing the problem of prioritizing how they spend their work day. Teachers need to teach, coach, visit companies, prepare lessons, but also meet as a team to evaluate student results and other outcomes. As a follow up teams need to set aims and plan actions for further improvement in their team plans. It is crucial that the right aims are chosen and the right actions planed! Teachers stated in their feedback in the first QUAL4T project, that they still feel they don’t have enough knowledge and tools to write a good year plan and follow the PDCA-cycle. And this definitely is needed to connect the institutes’ long term strategy and policy with the short term actions on the ‘work floor’ by the teams.
The main project target groups are educators: teachers in their teams, supported by quality staff and management. These educators will be approached as professionals, triggering them to further develop in the topic of quality improvement of their own program in the classroom, but also as a team.
The project aims to introduce and further implement a bottom up approach for the design of strategic planning in VET institutions by teams. Setting good targets for continuous improvement of their education programs is not an easy job for teacher teams! By providing teams with good and easy accessible material to help them in their strategic planning, the project partners expect teams to write better and sustainable team plans. Thus in the end leading to a better use of their working hours, a better performance towards the students and finally to a more efficient use of their financial funds.
- An attractive and user friendly Quality guide for teams with chapters on how to build up an effective year plan and work on the quality culture in a team, and several tools to help teams get there, including model/s for the plan itself will be ready by August 2017. Mind that this is a pilot version. After the pilot, the team will implement the changes proposed by the teams who have used the material and the final improved Quality Guide will be ready and free to use in October 2018. The final Guide will also include a Good Practice Guide and a Workshop Training programme.We will provide teams with three main products, that will be downloadable for free:
- A Best Practice publication, with the best success stories from all the pilots that we performed. This will be published on this website after the pilot year (2017-2018), and is free to use by teams in education. As quality improvement is not only an issue in VET we expect that teams in primary education, secondary education and higher education or university will also find these best practices interesting.
- A Training Program that we will use within our own organizations, and a shorter program that all VET organizations can use to train their own teams, or can even be used by teams themselves. The training program will be developed after the pilot and finalisation of our materials. Follow our news section regular, to be informed about what is cominig up!
The project will start with a short research and the designing of the pilot version of the Quality Guide. Then four pilots take place, in Netherlands, Spain, Denmark and Italy. Based on the feedback from teams and teachers the final version of the Quality Guide will be made, best practices will be gathered and the five day training program will be developed and given. Both the prototypes as the final products will be published on the website free for use. Besides the implementation in our own institutes we aim to reach schools and policy makers in our partner and other countries and also Higher Education, educating student teachers.
We address the following European priorities:
- Further developing quality assurance mechanisms in VET (VET priority)
- Sustainable investment, performance and efficiency in education and training (HORIZONTAL priority)
- Extending and developing educators' competences (AE priority)
- Landstede Groep - NL
represented by Margrieta Kroese (coörd.) and Bert Hamhuis.
- Politeknika Ikastegia Txorierri - ES
represented by Anabel Menica
- CIOFS-Formazione Professionale – IT
represented by Francesca di Paolantonio
- IDEC SA – EL
represented by Natassa Kazantzidou
- Kôge Handelsskole – DK
represented by Gitte Dyrlov
With the first QUAL4T project - LdV call 2013 - seven European partners aimed to provide teachers and trainers with good materials to help them improving quality in Vocational Education.
- To provide a toolkit and a practical guide/ method in six languages, with ready to use instruments for teachers, trainers, quality staff and mentors
- To develop a quality improvement culture, where teachers and trainers are active players
- To transfer quality instruments and best practices
- To connect management and teachers through the management brochure
Can you use the materials for free?
Yes! No matter if you are teacher / trainer, quality staff member or management, you can use all tools for free, and you can even adapt them to your own wishes. The tools have been tested and afterwards updated following the feedback of our target group: teachers/trainers from our own organizations.
Although we already have good quality systems in our educational organizations, we concluded that still not all teachers seem to be fully engaged. When asked, teachers for instant state that it is hard for them to feel (and get) involved in quality subjects and indicators that they have no influence upon. By involving them in what they DO feel that they can influence addressing their professional skills, by changing paper into action, by focusing on teaching and learning process and building toolbox instruments that they can straight use for quality improvement. But mostly by involving them and evaluating with them, we want to improve a positive attitude. From our experience of last year we know this method works!
As the project aims to bring quality to the teachers/ trainers, we will involve this direct target group as effective as possible! The input for the designing of the products and the evaluation of the pilots will be strong indicators for this.
Within our project we used the Recommendations of the QALLL project and the recommendations of representatives from European vocational education and adult training.
In the QALLL project all participating National Agencies gathered last years’ finished projects from their countries, subjecting quality. These were compared and a report has been made. The QALLL consortium finally gave their recommendations for future European work in the field of Quality Assurance and Improvement.
Our project started with a selection of those recommendations, being innovative without re-inventing the wheel. In our turn, we aim to disseminate and exploit our research outcomes and quality toolkit amongst EU National Agencies.
The outcomes of QUAL4T can be used in all sectors, EQF-levels and curricula of professional education.
We are implementing our quality toolkit in The Netherlands, United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, Italy and Greece. In fact we shared best practices, and rewrote them for general use, not only for our partners' institutes, but for national, European and International use!
We believe that the outcomes can also be used in other educational sectors as in fact Quality Assurance is an important factor in all education systems. Meaning that the products can be used in Universities and Adult Education as well as in Secondary and Primary education (excluding the student tools) too.
Nowadays quality improvement in professional education is a main issue. In The Netherlands, Greece, Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom approaches to Quality Assurance are in line with the EQAVET Reference Framework, and Spain is preparing this approach.
Nevertheless we know that we are not yet finished. There is more work to be done, as in the 2012 EQAVET survey is concluded that both teachers and pupils in only 50% of all countries are 'always or sometimes' involved in the development of the national Quality Assurance approaches. And it is THESE teachers that are our main target group and these pupils that we aim to involve in QA.
The QUAL4T project was coordinated by Landstede Group NL and funded by the European Commission through the Leonardo da Vinci (TOI) Grant program and ran from 1 November 2013 till 31 October 2015. The products will stay on the website, also after the project lifetime.