Programme Design and Approval

LOETB delivers QQI programmes developed to lead to major awards under the Common Awards System (CAS), which follow the model common in ETBs where a programme leading to a major award has a wide range of modules (in line with the award structure, as outlined in the award specification). Validation is sought from QQI for a programme on behalf of the entire ETB, with named centres identified for delivery. That programme may then be used in a range of courses, each with its own unique specialism and module selection, across a range of centres within the ETB, and even in different courses within the same centre. Approval is sought from the FET Director/FET SMT for delivery of a course in a centre. The QA Department is consulted prior to approval, in order to ensure that the centre meets Specific Validation Requirements, and has the required resources available to them in order to successfully deliver the programme.

Development of new Programmes and Modules

LOETB’s former VEC centres mainly deliver QQI-certified programmes. Programmes from Levels 1 to 3 were developed and validated under a Programme Approval Agreement with Co. Westmeath VEC prior to VEC amalgamations. Programmes at Levels 4 to 6 were developed and validated under the ETBI Shared Programme Development Process. The Shared Programme Development Process was a huge task which was shared by all of the VECs at the time, and supported by staff members from the Further Education Support Service, and led to a very comprehensive range of awards. In general, the programmes developed under those processes have largely met the programme needs of the centres. However, from time to time, the need for a new programme has been identified, either at FET Management level, or at centre level, in response to a locally-identified need. In this situation, a centre manager or staff member will request permission and support to develop a programme or module from a QQI award specification. Consideration is given as to whether the development is in line with identified organisational goals. Once it has been agreed that there is a need for development and that the required resources are in place, development may proceed, with appropriate training for the writers and evaluators (provided by the Further Education Support Service) involved in the development process. The QA Manager coordinates all stages of the development process, and after writing and screening is complete, the programme/ module is evaluated against a range of criteria. Once development of the programme is complete, including writing, screening and evaluation, it is sent to the FET SMT, where a decision is made as to whether or not to approve it for application for validation.

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