A large general further education college with two campuses, Uxbridge College is graded outstanding by Ofsted and serves over 4,000 full-time students. The College has a proud history going back to 1965 and incorporates a number of community services alongside its learning provision.
Gurveen Merriman is the Systems Support and Development Officer for the College’s systems and took responsibility for the SIR Data Insights submission, working with Chris Brown in the HR team. Gurveen and Chris collaborated to extract as much data as possible from the College’s HR and Payroll systems, before identifying gaps on the data spreadsheet and collating data manually for missing fields.
Gurveen comments, “It took four or five goes to submit a data set without errors. We had 100 or so errors to start with, then we got it down to 60 and so on.
The on-screen error review process was very good, it was very informative. For example, with work category, it showed us information about other clashing fields.
The new SIR Data Insights website looked up to date. The previous system looked old fashioned and seemed to serve the funders as opposed to providing you with information.”
HR Adviser, Chris Brown, thinks the data dashboards could be useful going forwards: “Looking at the College’s data from year to year in the dashboards, I can immediately see that it’s consistent. I think the key question is how the data will be used.” We discuss that the usefulness of the data will be tested when all the data is collated and benchmarks are published early in the autumn.
Gurveen adds, “We need to know what the fields will be for next year’s submission as soon as possible in this next academic year. Our current HR system doesn’t have a SIR module but it does let you customise fields to collect the data needed for the SIR return. We are currently out to tender for an HR system, so we didn’t worry about missing fields in the current system and decided to sort things out on a data entry spreadsheet. It probably took a week collating extra data and fixing errors. Hopefully next year we can get more data from our new HR system.”
When Gurveen pressed the button on the final submission with a correct set of data, she expected a sign off process and was surprised that there was no extra step. This is because the new service has been designed to give immediate visibility of data. Whether there should be a workflow with a final sign off step is something to look at when it comes to the review of this year’s submission.
Thank you Gurveen and Chris for your feedback!