New Programme Validation Consolidated Report National College of Ireland ba(Hons) in Early Childhood Education ba (Ord) in Early Childhood Education Higher Certificate in Early Childhood Education



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New Programme Validation

Consolidated Report

National College of Ireland
BA(Hons) in Early Childhood Education

BA (Ord) in Early Childhood Education

Higher Certificate in Early Childhood Education

Certificate in Early Childhood Education


1Panel Report 2

1.1Details of Validation Event 2

1.2Overall Summary 2

1.3Examination of Programmes 3

1.4Development and publication of explicit intended learning outcomes 3

1.5RECOMMENDATION/COMMENT 7

2Programme Team Response 13

2.1Certificate in Early Childhood Education/Higher Certificate in Early Childhood Education 15

2.2BA (Ord) in Early Childhood Education 20

2.3BA (Hons) in Early Childhood Education 23

3Panel Acceptance of Programme Team Response 26

4Programme Schedules 27

4.1BA(Hons) in Early Childhood Education 27

4.2BA (Ord) in Early Childhood Education 35

4.3Higher Certificate in Early Childhood Education 41

4.4Certificate in Early Childhood Education 45

5Memo on Context of Validation 47



  1. Panel Report



BA (Hons) in Early Childhood Education and associated Awards
    1. Details of Validation Event





Provider

National College of Ireland







Date of Visit

29th March 2015







Programme(s) Evaluated

Certificate in Early Childhood Education

Higher Certificate in Learning Development

BA (Ord ) Learning & Development

BA(Hons) Learning & Development









Programme (s)

Recommended for Approval

Certificate in Early Childhood Education

Higher Certificate in Early Childhood Education

BA(Ord) in Early Childhood Education

BA(Hons) in Early Childhood Education









Panel of Experts



Mr Terry Twomey, Registrar, Limerick IT, Chair

Subject Matter Experts

Dr Mark Glynn, Head Teaching Innovation Unit, DCU

Prof. Nóirín Hayes, Visiting Professor, School of Education, Trinity College

Dr Mary Moloney, Lecturer, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick

Ms Regina Bushell, MD Grovelands Childcare, Athlone

Mr John O’Flaherty, Management of Change Lead, Hewlet Packard



In attendance: Sinéad O’Sullivan, Director of Quality Assurance & Statistical Services, NCI (Rapporteur)

Ms Alga Mulhall, QQI Observer











    1. Overall Summary

The Expert Panel, having reviewed the documentation presented by NCI and considered the responses of the programme team during the course of the site visit; recommend approval of the following programmes




  1. Certificate in Early Childhood Education with 2 conditions

  2. Higher Certificate in Early Childhood Education with 3 conditions and 10 recommendations

  3. BA(Ord) in Early Childhood Education with 4 conditions and 12 recommendations

  4. BA(Hons) in Early Childhood Education with 6 conditions & 15 recommendations

The panel would also like to commend the College on its widening access mission, processes for recognition of prior learning and its CSR activity in Dublin Docklands. The panel also commends the cohesion and engagement of the programme team in the discussions held during the day and their preparedness to consider the feedback provided.




    1. Examination of Programmes

The panel met with staff of NCI involved in the design of the programme, to examine the programme submission against the criteria for the validation of programmes as stipulated by the QQI board. In this regard, the QQI’s Core Validation Policy and Criteria, 2010, revised 2013 was used by the Panel. The panel heard that programmes proposed were developed arising from the College’s existing work with early learners in in the Dublin Docklands area and complements existing provision at level 9 in the area of learning & teaching. The panel was presented with comprehensive documentation outlining the new programme proposal. On review of the documentation presented the panel was of the view that the areas of programme specialisation which were presented as elective groupings should be split into two distinct award sets in Early Childhood and Adult & Workplace Education. This approach was accepted by the programme team and the panel then proceeded to evaluate the programmes under the following areas;



  1. Adult & Workplace Education

  2. Early Childhood Education

The remainder of this report refers to the Early Childhood Education area.

    1. Development and publication of explicit intended learning outcomes


The programme submission documents, together with the outcome of discussions with NCI staff articulated the target learners’ prerequisite learning and any other relevant assumptions about programme participants. The panel is satisfied that the programme learning outcomes are appropriate to the level and were designed using QQI’s generic award standards at the required award levels of the National Framework of Qualifications for each of the awards, subject to requisite modules and amendments being implemented.

      1. Programme content, design and learning environment


Prior to meeting with the programme team the Panel was concerned that the proposed Higher Certificate in award in particular was not fit for its stated purpose. These concerns were allayed somewhat when the programme team spoke to and further articulated the module content. The panel recommends that throughout the set of module descriptors, particularly where modules are shared with other programmes that the area of ECE is clearly highlighted and explicit and that the language used is sympathetic to the sector (e.g. use of ‘group’ rather than ‘class’ etc. ) Notwithstanding this, the panel felt that a number of core area required to ensure that graduates were employable were not covered, particularly in the initial two stages of the programme.
Subject to the programme team meeting the conditions outlined below, the panel is satisfied that the programme content and learning environment are appropriate to the programmes intended learning outcomes and that the module learning outcomes are aligned to the programme learning outcomes.
The programme team that the panel met is competent to enable learners to achieve the intended programme learning outcomes and to assess their achievements, in accordance with QQI’s Assessment and Standards 2013. The panel is satisfied that the College has sufficient resources within its current full-time and associate faculty and the recruitment plan outlined to the panel to appropriately resource the programme.
Comment on Programme Modules

Modules were reviewed and subject to the following commentary in relation to specific modules were found to have appropriate learning outcomes, indicative content and assessment strategies. As noted above, the panel recommends that throughout the set of module descriptors the context of ECE is clearly highlighted and explicit.


Stage 1
The panel is of the view that that Stage 1 of the programme requires modules on the following areas:

In introducing this content, the panel recognises that other content will be required to be removed or integrated into existing modules.

7.2: Learning Stories: The panel recommends that this module is removed from the ECE programme as the concept of ‘learning stories’ has a particular meaning in the early learning space and believes that this is not necessary for the ECE context.

7.3: Recognition of Prior Learning: The panel is of the view that this module should be removed as there is danger that the learner could be exempted twice for the same learning.

7 .7 Introduction to Early Childhood Education: Remove reference to blended learning in the text and ensure that the practice frameworks Aistear and Siolta underpin this module.

7.9: Introduction to Management: This module is deemed not relevant for this sector.

Stage 2

7.16: Play & Creativity: For the ECE sector, this module should be retitled Advanced Play and creativity and the pedagogy of play should be included in the module content.

7.18: Observation in Practice – this should include Reflection in the title and content.

7.19: Core Approaches to Learning & Development, Child Health & Welfare: The panel is of the view that this module would be better split into 2x 5 credit modules Learning & Development and Child Health & Wellbeing.

7.22: Leading & Managing in Education: The panel believes that this module would be better placed in Stage 3 of the programme.

7.23 Technology & Learning: Include the adoption of technology in the curriculum. The 3 pillars that the module is built on should be explicitly referenced in the content.
Stage 3:

7.33: Skills of Teaching: The panel recommends that this module title is changed to reflect the environment e.g. Encouraging Early Learning & Development

7.34: Professional Development Skills: Resource recommendations: Rodd: Leadership in Early Childhood. Project management etc could be moved to the Leadership in Management module.

7.35: Games & Behaviour: The panel does not believe that this module should be included on this programme.
Stage 4:

7.40: Research Methods in Learning & Development: The panel recommends looking at moving some aspects of this content into stage 3
7.42/7.43: Design & Evaluation of Curriculum and Family Participation/In Practice: The panel is of the view that these modules would be better split into 4x5 credit modules rather than 2x10 credit modules.

7.45 Application of Technology & 7.46: Specialist Topic in Learning & Development should be merged so that learners can use some of the skills outlined in Application of Technology but have a larger credit weighting for the capstone project



7.47: Career Management Skills: The panel recommends looking at the sequencing of this module – either at late stage 3 or early stage 4 of the programme.
The professional development strand modules should extend to the learner reflecting on their role in the organisation as well as the individual

In all ‘practice’ modules, the title should be amended to ‘placement’ so that learner transcripts can communicate to employers that a placement activity has taken place.


Reading & resource lists should be expanded upon and provided for all modules.
The panel recommends that the themes of Siolta & Aistear and topics such as transition, working with parents and the learning environment are highlighted throughout, as these are fundamental to the programme.
      1. Enabling the achievement of the intended programme learning outcomes


The panel is satisfied that learners will be able to meet the programme learning outcomes using the delivery mechanisms and patterns as described by the programme team.
      1. Actions and procedures for access, transfer and progression for learners


The Panel was satisfied that the procedures for access, transfer and progression are consistent with national policy.
The panel is satisfied that the programme’s use of ECTS (credit) and provisions for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is consistent with QQI’s Assessment and Standards 2013 and with relevant national policy including:

  1. NQAI’s Principles and Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of a National Approach to Credit in Irish Higher Education and Training 2006

  2. NQAI’s Principles and Operational Guidelines for the Recognition of Prior Learning in Further and Higher Education and Training 2005



      1. Education and training needs


The panel is satisfied that this programme satisfies a current need in the Irish education market. The panel recommends that the programme team revisit the roles that are outlined in the programme document and clearly articulate the core skills that graduates will have on leaving the programme.
      1. Programme viability


The Panel was satisfied that the programme is consistent with the provider’s mission and strategy. The panel heard the projections for student intake over the next 5 year period.
      1. Learner Protection


NCI’s policy is that once a programme has commenced, the programme will be completed for all learners enrolled. It is National College of Ireland’s policy that, should a programme commence, it will be offered to completion for the specific intake of learners. The College is committed to the provision of this programme.  As a member of the Dublin Pillar II Cluster, NCI has agreement from Dublin City University and Maynooth University to provide Learner Protection. Learners may transfer to an appropriate DCU or Maynooth University programme. In the case where the programme does not have an appropriate transfer option DCU or Maynooth University will complete out the QQI award using NCI faculty and premises. NCI has agreement in principle from QQI and is currently working with QQI on finalising the arrangement of these provisions’

      1. Assessment of learners

The panel is satisfied that the learners will be appropriately assessed and underpins the achievement of the relevant standard of knowledge, skill and competence. In general, the panel would like to see greater variety of assessment methods and an articulation of the rationale for the breakdown of assessment. The timing of assessment should be monitored to ensure that the assessment workload is sufficiently spread across the semester.



      1. Quality Assurance Arrangements


The panel is satisfied that NCI has appropriate quality assurance arrangements in place and that no new quality assurance arrangements are required for these programmes. The documentation submitted demonstrated that the programme development followed rigorous institutional quality assurance to ensure that it conforms with strategy, stakeholders had been consulted with, had clearly identified resource requirements, and had undergone internal review prior to submission.


      1. Ethics


It is expected that providers will have procedures in place to ensure that any teaching and learning or research activity at any level shall be conducted in a manner that is professionally ethical. The panel was satisfied that this requirement has been met in respect of the proposed programmes.

      1. Programme Titles and Award Titles


The Panel heard the rationale for the programme title and is satisfied that the programme title and award as proposed as being appropriate and consistent with QQI policy for the naming of awards.


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