Quality Statement & Grievance Procedure
Waterpark Montessori International (WMI) places quality as a high priority in its training philosophy and practice. The college operates a transparent quality programme. Programmes and courses are conducted according to WMI regulations as set down in this document.
Quality standards are maintained by WMI by having clear learning objectives which can be measured against professional criteria as relevant. Delivery and assessment systems are maintained in a transparent and open manner which allow standards to be examined at all times by those with a legitimate interest.
FLEXIBILITY IN TRAINING
WMI recognises that those who wish to study may be currently in varying situations in their personal lives and come from varied educational backgrounds. WMI’s flexible learning opens access to higher education and progression routes for adult learners. Use of the Internet and workshops during vacation weeks also widens learning opportunities by allowing students from different regions to study together, sharing cultural perspectives and varied ideas. Students will be able to take the courses from their homes and in their own time, visiting centres for workshops and gaining workplace practice in their own locality.
Flexible training because of its innovative nature requires particularly strong quality control procedures. The WMI Examination Board monitors this overall.
The systems in place for delivery have been, and are continually being, researched and tested. WMI issues evaluation forms at the end of each short course, module or programme. Evaluation is invited from learners and tutors.
Assessment of evaluation is ongoing and WMI makes adjustments to its programmes, courses, conditions and staff according to feedback from educational peers, students and tutors.
ADMINISTRATION AND FINANCE
WMI maintains a system of financial guarantee so that students who have enrolled and paid fees are ensured that the entire course will be delivered. Once a course or programme has started WMI will make adequate provision within its budgetary management to make all payments necessary to complete that course or programme.
Fee schedules for courses or programmes are published in advance and adhered to. Regulations on refunds are published and adhered to. Accurate accounts of fees received and payments made are maintained at all times. If a student fails to make payments WMI will give notice in writing before withdrawing that student from a course or programme.
WMI adheres to all statutory taxation regulations.
WMI adheres to admission regulations which reflect the level of learning of the programmes and the level of expertise required of graduates
The WMI website, brochure and other published material reflect the ethos of the programmes, are related to the programmes available, and do not present false information.
Conditions and regulations for enrolment on courses will be published in advance.
Rules for conduct and their enforcement will be clearly stated to students at the commencement of the course or programme. Timetables for course or module sessions and assessment presentations will be given to students at the commencement of the course or programme. Any changes to rules, timetables or location will be clearly notified to all students in advance.
If a student does not adhere to the stated rules, WMI, in the person of its manager or its chief tutor, is responsible for taking appropriate action. This person may ask a student to withdraw from a course or programme if it is considered necessary for the good conduct of the course or programme.
WMI will keep accurate records of a student’s personal details, assessment marks and any personal evaluation sessions. A student is entitled to examine their personal course records at any time. WMI guarantees confidentiality on these records.
Grades are not issued. WMI will publish a list of graduates but a graduate may opt to be excluded from this.
WMI adheres to statutory regulations on staff appointment, provision and maintenance of premises and materials, and administration procedures.
Grievance procedures are made available to all students and staff.
WMI appoints a registrar. This position involves responsibility to the board of directors for the following:
Monitoring the legal obligations of WMI to students and staff.
Monitoring criteria in relation to recruitment, enrolment and finance for students.
Monitoring criteria for the recruitment, support, payment and training of staff.
Monitoring the WMI management systems by which the course quality is maintained.
EDUCATION & TRAINING
Courses are designed and written based on best practice in adult learning techniques. The delivery mechanisms encourage mature reflective practice and self-awareness. Modern technology is used to allow students to interact and reflect in a manner that supports deep understanding. WMI bases its training on the belief that this level of reflection and understanding is the optimum way to make the shift in attitude which is required if learning is to be effective in practice.
WMI offers ongoing tutorial support for students in their learning process, adhering to all evaluation and examination regulations which are consistently monitored by a transparent system of a board of examiners.
All programmes will maintain a high standard of educational content in the presentation of principles and practice and will incorporate available quality material without prejudice against any other training programmes.
WMI has a policy of inclusion and appreciation for all Montessori education and does not encourage criticism of other colleges or methods.
Examinations and non-examination coursework will be assessed according to WMI regulations.
WMI operates ongoing internal standardisation of assessment and evaluation procedures and conducts regular monitoring by comparison with other systems.
Each programme will have clearly stated learning aims and curriculum which are available for inspection by those with a legitimate interest. A detailed syllabus and related timetable will be prepared for each programme or module giving objectives and expected outcomes.
Programmes will not be run with fewer than 6 or more than 25 students, unless negotiated separately and unless WMI management is satisfied that the quality of the programme delivery will not be affected. A course of study will be run over a minimum of the hours as stated for each module/programme.
EDUCATIONAL CONTROL SYSTEMS
WMI criteria for delivery, staff and assessment are laid down. WMI will adhere to these at all times.
The quality control procedures in place to assure this are:
The Examination Board monitors educational content, assessment and awards.
The Board of Directors monitors all activities of the company;
The Registrar monitors registration, legal, administrative, financial, staff appointment and management responsibilities;
The criteria are maintained in a transparent open system, which can be examined by anyone with a legitimate interest.
There is an evaluation system in place for all modules and diplomas
There is a grievance system in place
WMI gives special attention to in-service training of staff both individually and in formal seminars. The emphasis is on ensuring that tutors are experts in their field but also on ensuring that they are skilled in the art of teaching adults. Given that WMI is training people in the skills of managing people - adults and children - it is of utmost importance that the teaching staff model good practice.
Teaching for each element of the programmes or modules will be of an adequate standard and delivered by tutoring staff who satisfy the WMI staff criteria.
The ‘open’ style structure of the training programmes and the organisation ensures that WMI is dependant on the maintenance of clear quality criteria for all its training. Staff must deliver training according to these criteria and be able to provide evidence that they have maintained these standards.
WMI trains its staff in its own training systems which have been researched and evaluated as the best practice for training adults. WMI places emphasis on training systems for online face to face course delivery. Teaching tutors are always encouraged to use their own talents, personalities and techniques to deliver courses. The systems are in place to act as a quality control but these systems allow flexibility in style.
STAFF ASSESSMENT AND SUPPORT
Staff assessment is conducted through evaluation and regular meetings with the college director. Every member of teaching staff is invited to meet the WMI director annually or more often if requested by either party.
As part of regular evaluation WMI will receive evaluation of its teaching staff. This evaluation will be monitored and used when assessing teaching qualities.
WMI offers students support in their learning in a variety of ways. The flexible nature of the training programmes requires a strong web of support that will create a beneficial learning environment for the students.
Tutors guide the workplace component and offer ongoing support throughout the course. A tutor will also be appointed to supervise a student’s theory study via internet. The practical workshop tutor will demonstrate practical skills and guide students in practice with these. The practical workshop tutor will also lead sessions and activities to increase self-awareness and promote student interaction.
The Grievance Procedure is available if a student is not satisfied with any level of support or decisions made by teaching staff.
Tutors will offer clear unambiguous feedback when assessing coursework, guiding the student to further learning. Coursework will be returned to students within three weeks of submission.
Tutors will personally guide each student through their course, providing one-to-one evaluation and encouragement, either personally or via email.
Tutors will be available on a regular basis for student queries personally or via email.
Where courses have face-to-face workshops WMI will provide premises and materials. The premises will be a suitable location for adult classes. If the site is a workplace environment or Montessori school it will be of a quality standard. The premises will be of adequate size, have comfortable heat and lighting and be in good condition. Adult sized chairs will be provided for sessions involving written work. Facilities for preparing coffee/tea/snacks must be provided. A reasonable standard of health and safety will be observed within the premises and local regulations in this regard must be adhered to.
WMI will provide materials for activities or exercises demonstrated at workshops and will make them available for practice by the students during training sessions. These materials will be in good condition.
ONLINE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT
Flex Learn is the system used for an online learning environment for WMI students. Certain modules are totally online and others are partly online. All assessment and other student records are maintained on this system. Flex Learn has been in use for 16 years and was developed with a strong emphasis on learning techniques as well as technical availabilities. It provides ideal opportunities for students to learn in a reflective in-depth manner. It continues to be developed and upgraded according to student and staff needs.
The same procedures for grievances are operated for both staff and students.
Student or staff grievances should be reported verbally to the person immediately responsible for them in relation to the issue concerned. The person responsible should attempt to resolve the issue to the satisfaction of both parties.
If the issue is not resolved both parties should put in writing an account of the grievance and how they have attempted to resolve it.
The issue may then be brought, in writing, to the attention of the person at the next level of responsibility. (See chart). They will attempt to resolve the grievance involving all parties concerned.
This procedure may be continued if a resolution is not found. If the matter reaches the Managing Director and cannot be resolved it may be referred in writing to the Board of Directors of WMI in the local centre, acting as a quality control committee for this purpose. If the local centre board is not available for this purpose, the matter may be referred to the board of WMI Limited in Ireland. This quality control committee must refer the grievance to the Examination Board if it is an academic matter which they are not qualified to deal with.
A formal grievance will not be considered by the Board of Directors or the Examination Board unless submitted in writing to the board within 6 months of the original grievance. Grievances related to awards should be submitted at least two months before the Examination Board meeting in October each year.
The decision of the Board of Directors is final. Awards made by the Examination Board are final.
All programme design, implementation and quality control is the responsibility of the managing director, reporting to the board. The managing director follows the academic recommendations of the examination board.
The managing director is Clare Healy Walls, Montessori Diploma, MA in Educational Management.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
International branches of WMI are monitored by Waterpark Montessori International Limited (WMI Ireland) which in turn is a subsidiary of Waterpark Training Services Limited (Ireland). Management arrangements vary from location to location. Some branches are managed directly by WMI Ireland, others are managed by a local board under the direction of WMI Ireland, and others centres operate their own management under the quality control of WMI Ireland.
Waterpark Montessori International Limited (Ireland), is responsible for the legal and financial conduct of the business affairs of the company, where it owns or directly runs the college in a centre. If the management of the WMI centre is managed locally under a sub-contract agreement, that centre is responsible for its own legal and financial affairs, under the conditions of the contract.
Waterpark Montessori International NUF in Norway is a branch of and owned by Waterpark Montessori International Limited (Ireland), The college board of Waterpark Montessori International NUF in Norway is responsible for academic quality and students’ rights within Norway. The board of the owner company is represented on the college board of Waterpark Montessori International NUF in Norway.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF WATERPARK MONTESSORI INTERNATIONAL LIMITED (IRELAND)
Clare Healy Walls, Chairperson
EXAMINER BOARD OF WATERPARK MONTESSORI INTERNATIONAL
Educational control is maintained by means of an examination board. WMI appoints this board from qualified representatives of Montessori and other education drawn from more than one country.
The board monitors WMI programmes and examinations. It meets annually and validates examination procedures and awards.
In 2017 the board is composed of:
Britta Bring (Sweden)
Carmel Vera Flynn (Ireland)
New board members pending