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What is RARPA?

RARPA (Recognising and Recording Progress and Achievement) is the process to measure the progress and achievement ofAn image from the RARPA webinar learners on non-accredited learning programmes. The introduction of study programmes has given providers the flexibility to develop individualised, non-accredited learning programmes; a very welcome move for learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities. Watch the RARPA webinar (45 minutes) to find out what RARPA is and why you should use it. Learn about its learner-centred stages and how you can implement them. 

Just as with externally accredited provision which is subject to the external scrutiny and verification processes of awarding bodies, non-qualification provision should be quality assured. Quality assuring the RARPA process gives inspectors, commissioners, and providers themselves the confidence that their non-qualification provision is of high quality and is helping learners achieve ambitious outcomes.

On this page you’ll be introduced to a collection of tools and resources to support you with RARPA, many of the resources were produced by provider organisations as part of project to develop staff skills in quality assuring the RARPA process.

The main principles of RARPA

Four providers produced "quick reminder" resources explaining the main principles of RARPA to give to their staff.

  • RARPA principlesAn image of Derwen College RARPA quick reminder sheet (Derwen College) a one page reminder and the key questions that you need to ask.
  • RARPA roadmap (Kirklees Adult Education) a simple, colourful guide for students to check that they, and their tutors, are following through all 5 RARPA stages.
  • RARPA Handbook (John Dewey) a resource for staff that customises the RARPA guidance for their organisation
  • RARPA and the learning journey (Thornbeck College) a visual map showing the evidence sources and actions staff need to take at each stage and how the learner should be involved. 
Quality assuring the RARPA process for learners with SEND

This Guidance is the key document. An image of the guidance document on how to quality assure RARPA for learners with learning difficultiesIt contains information and templates that will help you to carry out an internal review, an external check and to embed the review into your quality assurance processes. It includes:

  • the standards, criteria and types of evidence that need to be produced
  • sets of questions to ask when reviewing the RARPA process
  • an action plan proforma for  reviewing your own RARPA processs in line with the quality assurance standards and criteria
  • a template to record findings, of your internal review including the  strengths and gaps to be addressed
  • an external check template.
Learners at the centre of RARPA

To help learners with SEND recognise and record their progress and achievement, providers have been creating resources:

  • A peer assessment form (North Lincolnshire Council) for learners to record the outcome of peer assessment.
  • RARPA photographic evidence sheet (Weston College) enables learners to record what they have done, the skills being developed and what they are working towards.
  • Today my work has been.... (Derby Adult Learning Service) a very simple sheet with images for learners to record instant feedback on their experience of a session. This could also be presented in card format.
The expanding role of RARPA

This document, Quality assuring non-accredited provision: the expanding role of RARPA,An image of the Quality assuring non-regulated provision document written by the Learning and Work Institute, March 2017 provides a six stage model of RARPA revised to ensure that it is fit for purpose for the use of non-regulated provision as changes to funding rules allow providers more opportunities to offer non-accredited provision, particularly in response to local skills needs. The RARPA Cycle has been modified to ensure it can act as a robust quality monitoring system in line with the requirements set out in the Adult Education Budget (AEB) funding rules. Alongside this guide, a document containing case studies from four different organisations is available.

Individual learning plans for staff and students

Individual Learning Plans (ILPs) are central to the RARPA process they put and keep the learner at its heart. Here are examples of ILPS; both full ILPs and extracts.

Staff self-evaluation of the RARPA process

As part of the review process, providers developed approaches to assist staff to evaluate their own practice. Here are examples that used different methods, appropriate to their context.

  • ACL 'dartboard'An image of Kirklees RARPA dartboardAnne Sykes from Kirklees Council ACL used a ‘dartboard’ for sessional staff to plot how evident the 5 stages of the RARPA process were in their practice.
  • Web-based survey, Cecilia Brindle from ACL Essex used a web based survey.
  • Initial assessment process, Michelle Kerridge from In Touch Care developed two questionnaires to enable staff and managers to self evaluate their initial assessment process
  • Initial assessment self-evaluation templateAnne Hooper from Springboard produced a staff self-evaluation template for RARPA standard 2 initial assessment that includes questions to ask to ensure that the evidence is adequate and robust.
  • Health check questionnaire, Pete Vickers from Pennine College held a training event to help staff evaluate their practice. He also developed a ‘health check’ questionnaire that was intended as a fun way of gathering evaluative feedback from staff.
  • Staff self-evaluation questionnaire, Roger Dill Russell from Abingdon & Witney College developed a detailed questionnaire and asked staff to rate how effectively they met the standards and criteria and the evidence for it.

Caro Birtles from Ruskin Mill College describes an approach she developed to help staff reflect on their practice.

    Staff development approaches

    Carrying out a review led providers to develop staff development tools and approaches.

    • Staff development approaches, Pete Vickers of Pennine College has produced a description of an assessment process (Stage 2 of the RARPA process) based on individual student observation rather than following a formulaic process.
    • Tutor questionnaire for discussionThe Mount Camphill Community and College (specialist residential community) produced a questionnaire to encourage individual tutors to reflect on their own practice in relation to RARPA.
    Carrying out a review of your RARPA process

    These internal RARPA reviews are examples of how the review process can be useful in clarifying what is working well in an organisation and what needs to be improved. (Note these reports are based on an early version of the standards and criteria which have subsequently been refined and streamlined):

    Providers may focus on only one standard and/or section of provision.

    Observation of the RARPA process

    Carrying out the review process led providers to develop observation tools and approaches.

    • Observation of learning proformaPennine College used an observation of learning proforma to confirm that relevant RARPA criteria were adhered to in the lesson.
    • ILP moderation checklistLewisham Southwark College used an ILP moderation checklist to ensure that appropriate targets were in place and progress was being monitored

    First Place training produced a set of Learner review documents for staff and learners to use for learner reviews, and for staff to use in the observation of learner reviews. These include:

    External checks by peer review

    Providers carried out external checks using a review report template together with guidance documentation on how to complete it. Here are two anonymised external check reviews;  please note these reports are based on an early version of the standards and criteria which have subsequently been refined and streamlined, and the current report form has also been slightly updated, including some of the terminology used to describe the external check process.

    These External review training resources were created to support regional coordinating organisations (CETTs) to support their trainers to plan and deliver training in carrying out external checks by peer review as Step 1 of the RARPA external quality assurance process. The training resources provide the complete package for deliverying the training including workshop agendas, slides, handouts, resources and evaluation forms.

    The two documents below provide regional co-ordinating organisations with guidance on setting up and running the annual regional standardisation meeting and cross-region standardisation meeting which form Steps 7 and 8 of the external quality assurance process.

    RARPA Code of practice

    Providers developed this Code of Practice quality assurance framework for RARPA in non-accredited learning during an early stage of the RARPA project. It establishes a common set of recommended threshold standards for supporting progression and quality assuring education and training provision for students/trainees with learning difficulties and disabilities. The document includes a one page proforma for organisations to customise.