Lean in Education

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Background:
This educational establishment had previously received a needs improvement assessment from their last OFSTED report. Key areas for improvement had been identified through staff feedback sessions and the leadership team had set about improving the supporting educational operations.

Situation:
The student journey had been identified and split into 8 phases from enquiry to student feedback. The supporting sub-processes for each of the phases had also been identified. However, no process improvement work had been started. Senior leadership was keen to use Lean to progress the college further through using the Lean tools to improve processes, however they were unsure of the next steps to take.

Task:
A rapid diagnosis was undertaken through a leadership workshop. The key business processes were identified from the 8 phases of the student journey. The leadership team took feedback received from the latest staff survey and sounding groups into account as well as the colleges objectives to prioritise the top 3 processes to improve. They agreed to focus on the core value processes first – those closely associated with teaching.

Actions:
The first workshop looked at the significant amount of time taken by the teaching staff working on administration and support processes i.e. non-teaching time (face to face, marking, tutor groups). This workshop involved a cross functional group from teaching, administration, IT and a cross section of leadership. The team agreed a scope, collected the data and split into groups to map out 4 sub – processes. This surfaced the wastes and issues that existed in the core value processes. A future state and action plan was agreed by the team and supported by leadership.

Results:
From the first workshop, the team identified that 15% of the standard day was taken up competing necessary but cumbersome administration concerning attendance. This took the teaching staff directly away from teaching time. In addition, 3 other sub-processes were identified for improvement – exam entry, claiming exam results and registration. These processes were improved and most tasks moved to the admin support team, freeing up valuable teaching time. In-efficiencies in administration support – printing, IT and stationary provision were also identified, this catalysed the leadership team to accelerate planned improvements in these areas and expand the communications and involvement of working groups.

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