The Highgate-based Harington Scheme delivers individual learning programmes, including gardening courses, which are designed to help young people into employment, further education or lead a richer life.

The charity’s management team, under the supervision of scheme manager Joanna Baxter, adopted new Mesma self-assessment and improvement planning software to assist in the administration, implementation and tracking of its development plan as part of the training provider’s wider commitment to improving quality assurance.

How We Helped

The move has helped to address key concerns highlighted in a 2015 Ofsted inspection that required attention. These revolved around critical development planning and administrative processes, as well as the need to ensure up-to-date progress reports were readily available to assist Ofsted inspectors.

Joanna Baxter said the investment in the online service, which replaced the previous paper-based Word document, has ‘delivered demonstrable improvements’.

This in part is reflected by the technology’s contribution towards shifting Harington from a ‘needs improving’ Ofsted to the current ‘Good’ status, which was secured after a recent re-inspection.

She said: “Mesma’s proving a valuable tool, which has helped us to reduce by upwards of two-thirds the amount of time taken to format and produce reports – in some cases, this has been cut from three hours to just one, delivering considerable savings in the process.

“Tasks assigned to staff are now updated quickly while actions can also be updated easily in real-time during our team meetings. Staff can also log-in prior to these sessions to update the status surrounding their assigned actions.”

“Securing a ‘Good’ status certainly benefited from having all the relevant and latest information to hand at the time of inspection. We have demonstrated to Ofsted the value of having an effective self-assessment and improvement planning resource available.”

Mesma has been integrated across Harington’s administrative and management processes during the last few months, and is now perceived as a key component of a ‘much improved’ administrative and supervisory function.

Harington’s self-assessment report (SAR) is now proving less of a strain to administer for Joanna Baxter and her colleagues. Sections can be reviewed and updated quickly on Mesma – along with queries from Ofsted – through an easy-to-use dashboard function and some simple formatting tools.

This is improving overall visibility of the SAR and access to critical performance data, while delivering real-time evidence that assigned tasks and duties are actioned, followed through and then documented in reports. It also provides accessible evidence to support the reporting and recording of teaching observations.

Joanna Baxter says the technology definitely helped in confirming to inspectors at the recent Ofsted improvements in whole sections of data capture, behind-the-scenes processes and staff engagements and actions.

Mesma has been, and will continue to be, a massive improvement over the old paper-based system,” she says. “It offers reassurances, and saves considerable amounts of time when it comes to administration, planning and self-improvement development.

The team benefit from shared ownership of the system, seeing in real-time the information relevant to them. This is improving the overall management and control of tour day-to-day operations as we move forward to deliver teaching and learning to our young people.