Quality Assurance of RARPA

Getting QA right in non-accredited learning programmes

The SFA’s funding arrangements for adult education, 2016-17, (V2 March 2016) offer greater scope for the delivery of non-regulated programmes but a key condition of this improved funding flexibility requires providers to have “appropriate and robust quality assurance processes in place. For instance ‘Recognising and Recording Progress and Achievement’ (RARPA) that would be acceptable to Office of Standards in Education (Ofsted)”

Unfortunately in their March 2016 publication, “Moving Forward?” Ofsted reported:

“The use of systems to recognise and record learners’ progress and achievements was the weakest aspect of provision at all the providers sampled, especially where learners were not working towards a qualification. Providers were typically weak at developing and using a reliable system to improve the outcomes for their learners beyond the achievement of qualifications.”

With Ofsted highlighting potential weakness in the very area the SFA is stipulating as a condition for funding it makes sense that all providers offering non accredited adult learning programmes and study programmes review their quality assurance arrangements urgently.

Whilst the first 5 stages of the RARPA process are well-accepted and widely uses as a means of validating the outcomes of non-accredited programmes, too few providers have implemented RARPA stages 6-8, “the organisational systems to quality assure RARPA” effectively.

This workshop explores what an effective and robust RARPA QA system looks like, how it should operate, and the results it should deliver.

It also explores how the RARPA process enables providers to comply with certain standards laid down in the 2015 Common Inspection Framework and also ensures that providers are adhering to the ETF Professional Standard and Workforce Development Guidance 2015 which emphasises the importance of teachers ‘involving learners in their assessment process.’

Aims and Objectives
The aim of this workshop is to help participants develop a clearer focus on the action they need to take to improve the effectiveness of quality arrangements in their organisations for non-regulated programmes.

As a result of attending this workshop participants should be able to:

  • Describe how effective implementation of RARPA impacts on learners and the quality of teaching, learning and assessment
  • Understand and explain the fundamentals of, and rationale for, quality assurance of the RARPA process
  • Evaluate their organisation’s current QA arrangements
  • Describe how internal QA procedures can be designed to ensure that RARPA is implemented consistently
  • Understand and describe the 8-step external check process for external QA and how to implement systems for external check by peer review
  • Describe how to use the RARPA process to provide evidence for self-assessment
  • Describe how the RARPA process links to the 2015 Common Inspection Framework (CIF) and can help providers to prepare for inspection

For Whom
This workshop has been designed for managers in education and training organisations who have responsibility for quality assurance / improvement, and those with broader responsibility for managing organisational performance.

It will be particularly useful to managers who are new into the QA / QI Manager / Co-ordinator role, and those who expect to be in such roles in the near future.

The principles apply to non-accredited programmes in Further Education (FE), including for High Needs learners and learners with learning difficulties. It is also suitable for ESOL, Adult & Community Learning (ACL) and Work-based Learning programmes.


1. Why RARPA?

  • The RARPA process – busting the myths
  • Standards and criteria – how the staged process can improve the learning experience for your learners
  • Sources of evidence and examples
  • Creating meaningful success measures



2. Quality-assuring RARPA

  • Organisational systems to quality assure RARPA: Standards and criteria – stages 6-8
  • Internal Quality Assurance: internal moderation and the internal review process
  • External Quality Assurance: the 8-stage process
  • Arranging, preparing for and carrying out external QA checks
  • Sources of evidence and examples



3. RARPA, self-assessment and inspection

  • RARPA standards and the 2015 Common Inspection Framework
  • RARPA and the Self-Assessment process
  • RARPA and performance management



4.Where are you now?

  • Evaluating your organisational systems to quality assure RARPA
  • Setting priorities for improvement