The governance of MAEL is based on a stewardship model, whereby the directors of the company support and assist management, and steward resources. Based on the UK Stewardship Code, the directors have adopted the following principles of governance:
- * Full public disclosure of policies on how their stewardship responsibilities will be discharged,
- * Maintenance of a robust policy on managing conflicts of interest,
- * Transparent monitoring of teaching centres,
- * Establishment of clear guidelines on when and how intervention in stewardship activities will be initiated,
- * Willingness to co-operate fully with other involved organisations, and
- * Periodical reporting of stewardship activities and (where appropriate) of voting decisions.
These principles do not constitute a rigid set of rules. In any situation where a constituent chooses not to (or is unable to) fully comply with one of the principles, or not to follow the guidance, they should deliver meaningful explanations that enable the reader to understand their approach to stewardship. In providing an explanation, the signatory should aim to illustrate how its actual practices contribute to good stewardship and promote the delivery of the company’s objectives. They should provide a clear rationale for their approach. Their personal approach is subject to veto by a majority vote of the board of directors.
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MAEL consists of three main bodies within the company, serviced by office staff and led by the Managing Director (MD):
The Board of Directors who have overall responsibility for determining the company’s overall strategy, monitoring progress towards achieving the objectives and the operation of the policies, appointing senior management and accounting to stakeholders;
The Assessment Board which has specific responsibility for independently ensuring that all assessment processes are conducted professionally and without bias;
The Teachers’ Panel which is an advisory body, reporting to the MD and acting as a consultative group and a channel of communication with centres.
MAEL also acts as a publisher of Montessori texts. At the present time (April 2016) this is confined to practical manuals that accompany the qualifications (and are provided to learners as part of their fees – and to Centres de bono) and booklets of readers provided in a similar way. Centres are consulted, via the Teachers’ panel, as to whether they are content for this arrangement to continue. The production of the books is overseen by the MD and QO jointly and is subject to the general overview of the Board of Directors, who will review content and subject matter and make recommendations as appropriate. Should it be proposed (by any party) to offer any other services, the Board of Directors will be notified and take a decision on the strategic implications. The Board will also determine the extent of their ongoing involvement and oversight of the new service.
The company operates as an ethical concern, governed by policies which are openly available on the company website. All staff are expected to make themselves familiar with the policies and procedures of the company. In the case of any issues, these must be raised with the appropriate officer of the company. For an employee this will be their line manager. For a director this will be agenderised at the next meeting. Changes to policies will only be made by resolution of a director’s meeting unless an emergency situation arises or a legal challenge has been made. In such extraordinary circumstances the MD may make a temporary ruling, to be ratified or amended at the next director’s meeting. Fuller details are provided in section 4.1 herein. Any alterations or extensions to policy must be notified to all staff by the MD or his/her delegated officer.
The Board of Directors
This consists of the CBD (normally one of the NXDs), the MD, any other executive directors and all NXDs, and exercises its stewardship through regular meetings. All directors attend and the company secretary shall be in attendance in an advisory role (if not also a director). Meetings shall be at not less than quarterly intervals, with additional ad hoc meetings if required. The board’s role is to:
determine the company’s overall strategic objectives;
oversee the decision as to which qualifications shall be offered, and how the offer is worded and advertised, in accordance with details in the Qualification Development Handbook, taking final responsibility for approving all new qualifications;
appoint senior management, and specifically a responsible person (RP) for each and every accreditation body (there shall be one responsible person per regulator, but not necessarily the same for all authorities), to act as the primary point of contact, to conduct or oversee all correspondence and to monitor compliance. The RP shall be sufficiently senior to be accountable for the development, delivery and award of qualifications and there is a presumption that this role would normally by fulfilled by the QO.
regularly check for compliance through updating the self-assessment template (see appendix 10 of the Qualification Operation Handbook): this matter to be automatically agenderised for each meeting. Also check and approve the annual report to Ofqual.
guarantee the independence of the Assessment Board in all matters relating to the application and assessment of standards;
authorise the issuance of any information required by competent bodies (and specifically ensuring that an annual report to Ofqual is referred to the Board for approval in a timely fashion);
safeguard the interest of learners in the case of a change of control (see details below)
monitor progress towards the achievement of objectives and policies, including overseeing the maintenance and application of MAEL policies in general, specifically dealing with breaches of policy and any changes to policies which may become necessary, excluding minor changes deemed necessary by the MD to ensure clarity;
delegate such duties as may be efficiently carried out by others (normally to a task group of the directors);
oversee the publication of reaching materials, through the MD’s involvement in their production and consultation with the chair of the board;
oversee the operation of the Risk Management policy, reviewing action plans, their progress and completion;
oversee stewardship and management of resources, and
act as the formal repository of all data, ensuring its security and appropriate dissemination (the day-to-day duties being delegated to the MD and staff.)
The general oversight of the operation of MAEL policies and procedures includes the following specifics:
Specific duties of the Board of Directors with respect to Qualification Development
The Board of Directors will accept final responsibility for ensuring that the process of qualification development is carried out in accordance with MAEL’s policies and also in accordance with the rules of compliance of any and all regulatory bodies. The overall process will involve, but not be limited to, the following specific tasks.
In establishing the need for a new qualification, the Board of Directors will:
Receive a preliminary report from the MD and make a provisional decision to proceed, or a final decision to shelve the proposed new qualification.
In investigating viability and commitment, the Board of Directors will:
Receive a summative report from the MD;
Raise any further issues which are not sufficiently explicated;
Should it be apparent that third-party involvement will be required, the Board will check that the MD has ensured that this will not affect ongoing regulatory compliance;
Make a decision as to how to proceed.
When consulting with stakeholders, the Board of Directors (or a designated task force) will:
Receive consultation information from the MD at the following break points:
When the need is first raised
When the competencies have been determined and organised into units/sub-units
When the assessment tasks have been set and assigned to LOs
When the proof copy of the syllabus is being circulated
Propose alterations if it appears appropriate.
When reviewing provision, the Board of Directors will:
Receive the MD’s annual report;
Ratify it or propose amendments.
Specific duties of the Board of Directors with respect to Qualification Operation
With respect to working with teaching centres, the BoD will:
Receive the MD’s report on a prospective centre and take a decision on their suitability,
Receive the MD’s reports on the consultations on the packaging of the qualification and supporting materials, and make recommendations on future procedure,
Receive action plan(s) from the MD relating to any issues arising from the IV or EV processes, and take a view on them
Receive a self-evaluation report form the MD quarterly and review any changes
Make a decision on qualification withdrawal if the MD indicates this is to be considered
These shall be held at not less than quarterly intervals. The company secretary shall select a date (in consultation with directors in order to ensure maximum attendance) and notify all directors not less than four weeks before the date. With the notification an agenda will be sent, set out in the following format:
Time, date & place of meeting
Standard agenda items, to include:
Minutes of last meeting
Self-assessment report for Ofqual compliance
AOB (to include arrangements for next meeting as far as practicable.)
The Chairman of the Board (CBD) shall be elected from the non-executive directors (NXDs) and will serve for a term of 3 years (re-newable upon re-election). Meetings will be quorate if over 50% of eligible members are in attendance. Electronic attendance (e.g. by Skype) is acceptable. The CBD will hold a casting vote, and meetings will normally be minuted by the company secretary. Minutes will be distributed not less than 28 days after the meeting.
The Assessment Board
Thus consists of the chief examiner, the external (if they wish) and internal verifiers and representation of examiners (who may elect to be represented by proxy by one of their number). The main meetings will be held before the examination papers are approved, to compile a paper from the question bank, but others shall be held as needed. The board’s role is to:
oversee all aspects of assessment, including setting tasks, marking, security, determining grade boundaries, appeals and award of certificates,
issue a report on the assessment of each cohort of learners, and on each examination session, and
co-operate fully with all accrediting bodies.
Minutes of all meetings shall be distributed to all members and (where appropriate) be made available publicly. All business and assessment is carried out in the English language.
A number of individuals are involved in the assessment procedures. Their roles are as follows:
The Chief Examiner – to have overall responsibility for setting assessment tasks and ensuring they are correctly marked, and to chair the Assessment Board.
Practical Examiner(s) – to undertake viva examination of candidates for the practical component of an assessment scheme.
Markers/Assessor(s) – to undertake the marking/grading of written assessments and production of individual written feedback.
Internal Verifier – to undertake the checking of the final marks for internal consistency and quality of marking.
External verifier – to act as an independent consultant to check the overall standard and determine where the grade boundaries should lie, in the context of their own experience in HE.
Teaching Practice Tutor – to supervise the learners’ teaching practice (aka work experience) and undertake on-site evaluations of assessment tasks.
Mentor (aka Field Consultant) – to act as a guide in the workplace on a day-to-day basis and to provide witness statements for some assessment tasks.
The Teachers’ Panel
This consists of a representative of each teaching centre, the MD ex-officio in an advisory role, and such other persons (e.g. representatives of employers and/or adult learners) as the panel may elect to invite. Meetings shall be at not less than annual intervals. Its role is to:
have an advisory role only,
be given full responses to requests for guidance or information, in a timely fashion,
represent to the MD any issues arising out of the assessment procedures,
only communicate with the Assessment Board via the directors, and
elect a chair from among its number, to act as the main point of contact.
In view of the wide geographical spread of associated centres, all meetings are quorate when a minimum of 66% of the members are present. Electronic attendance (e.g. by Skype) is permitted. Minutes will be produced at the discretion of the panel.
N.B. A ‘firewall’ must be maintained between the Teachers’ Panel and the Assessment Board, ensuring that no confidential material is transmitted inappropriately and that no inappropriate influence can be exerted upon the examiners. This will be done through having separate post-holders who sign a commitment to confidentially. It is part of the CE’s responsibilities to ensure that no contact is permitted between the Teachers’ Panel and the Assessment Board. Any communication shall be via the MD. However this does not preclude the CE giving advice to teachers’ centres on matters relating to the conduct and rubric of assessments, or general advice on marking and/or grading procedures.
The Teachers’ Panel also acts as a formal partner in the stages of stakeholder consultation.
Document reviewed 03.06.2016