InternalQualityAssurance

MF Academy’s vision is to better the transmission, understanding and practice of fitness in our society.

The MF Academy is an institution focused on the education and training preparation of fitness professionals, promoting hands-on practical pedagogies in its teaching and learning.

It is within this context that this Internal Quality Assurance document is being developed. Together with key educational experts and trainers, we believe that the concept of quality is core to our strategic efforts. This forms the basis of our Quality Policy which then drives other principles including non-discrimination, tolerance, support to individuals with diverse needs and active participation.

 

This concise document also serves to define the important quality concepts expected by the National Commission for Further and Higher Education (NCFHE) based on the National Quality Assurance Framework. The document is structured to cover all the ten quality assurance criteria systematically.

 

Needless to state, quality assurance is a dynamic activity and this document will be updated through the lifetime of the intended programme(s) delivery of MF academy.

 

Standard 1: Policy for Quality Assurance

 

MF academy’s strategic priorities for the next 5 years are to:

1. Provide high quality training programmes in the field of fitness training

2. Develop trainers that can transform the lives of individuals
3. Formulate strategic partnerships in the field of fitness training in Europe

 

In order to achieve these strategic priorities, MF academy will ensure that a robust policy for Quality Assurance is maintained by all personnel involved in the academy. All students of the academy will be consulted on all aspects related to the provision of the training including design of programmes, method of delivery, and programme reviews. All the academic trainers and mentors that will form part of the academy will be allowed the academic freedom to deliver the training programme along the agreed intended learning outcomes. While no research activity is expected to take place, students will be encouraged to develop valuable projects within the field of fitness training that leads to betterment of individuals’ life.

 

MF academy will adopt a policy of non-discrimination irrespective of age, colour, gender, religion and sexual orientation. No academic fraud will be tolerated, and anyone caught with academic fraud will be expelled from the academy instantly.

 

The quality assurance operations will be managed by a Quality Manager (QM). Since the organization is still rather small we will be engaging this manager on a part-time basis for the time being. The QA manager is central to the upkeep and safeguarding of the quality assurance principles enshrined in this policy and upheld by the operations of the Academy. Irrespective of the engagement process, the QM will need to possess all the minimum criteria outlined for key personnel as described previously.

 

ORGANISATIONAL STRUCTURE

 

MF academy will be owned by Mariano Farrugia and he will act as the main person responsible for administrative and financial affairs of the academy. In addition, a dedicated team of key personnel will act to head the academic side of the academy in order to ensure integrity, reliability and academic freedom. A lean quality assurance system will also be deployed in order to ensure that all the necessary quality criteria are adhered to. All key personnel will possess a minimum MQF Level 7 qualification and at least 5 years of work experience in the specific field. The specific fields are also represented in the figure shown below.

Head of Academy (HOA)

Administrative Manager

Quality Manager, Teachers and Trainers, Student Mentors

Figure 1: Organisational Structure of MF Academy

The HOA will be directly responsible for the overall running of the academy which will be structured into 4 specific domains of operation:

  • ​Administrative Management

  • ​Quality Management

  • ​Teaching and Training

  • ​Student Mentoring

All the fields of operation will be led by key personnel that possess the minimum qualifications and experience as defined in the introductory paragraph of this section. All the specific responsibilities of the above fields will be explained systematically and in accordance with the quality standards in the next four sections.
A. ADMINISTRATIVE MANAGEMENT

The administrative management of the academy will ensure compliance with the following quality standards:

Standard 2: Probity

Standard 5: Student Admission, progression, recognition and certification

Standard 9: Public Information

 

B. QUALITY MANAGEMENT
The quality management of the academy will ensure compliance with the following quality standards:

Standard 1:Policy for Quality Assurance
Standard 8:Information Management
Standard 10:Ongoing monitoring and periodic review of programmes

 

C. TEACHERS & TRAINERS

The teachers and trainers of the academy will ensure compliance with the following quality standards:

Standard 3: Design and approval of programmes

Standard 4: Student-centred learning, teaching and assessment

Standard 6: Teaching staff

 

D. STUDENT MENTORS
The student mentors of the academy will ensure compliance with the following quality standards:

Standard 7: Learning resources and student support

 

Standard 2: Probity

 

In order to ensure full compliance MF academy will have a legal representative that has effective residence in Malta. In addition, all key personnel will possess a minimum MQF Level 6 qualification and at least 5 years of work experience in the specific field as outlined in the previous section. In particular, the Head of Institution is expected to hold a degree at MQF Level 6 in social sciences; and more importantly, have evidence of more than 10 years of solid experience in leading sports-related initiatives at managerial levels. Across all grades, preference will be given to candidates who would have worked with a variety of clients coming from different backgrounds and in a range of contexts. This combination of academic and experiential preparation will ensure that the candidate is able to apply theoretical and knowledge concepts to the practical, hands on pedagogy adopted by our Institution. This will ensure that such positions are fit for the required purposes.

 

All records of financial transactions will be maintained and sufficient financial reserves will be in place in the event of unforeseen events. The academy will also develop and regularly updated its business plans and accounts audited by professional accountants.

 

The above will be made possible through an initial capital investment, effective admin. management and professional level of legal representative and key management personnel.

 

Standard 3: Design and approval of programmes

 

The design, development and approval of programmes will follow a step by step procedure that will be managed by the Head of Academy (HOA), together with the respective teachers & trainers of the academy as follows:

  1. The HOA will consult with stakeholders in the fitness industry and clients (potential students) in the fitness training sector to identify training needs. Similarly, the HOA will also discuss the content of programmes with a focus group made up of potential students or persons interested in the subject. Such discussions will ensure that the programmes designed and their roll out are relevant to both the students’ needs and the industry's needs.

  2. A training needs report is formalised by the HOA that will define the rationale of a programme to be designed

  3. In consultation with the Quality Manager, a programme structure is developed to contain the qualification level and type, credit value, and programme outcomes

  4. Teachers and trainers are engaged to develop the programme accreditation form

  5. Once completed, the Quality Manger will review and update to improve the overall quality of the programme. Students, trainers and management are involved in the design and review process as explained in other sections of this QA Policy document.

  6. The developed programme is submitted to NCFHE for accreditation process

 

Standard 4: Student-centred learning, teaching and assessment

 

MF academy will adopt a student centric approach in its philosophy of teaching and learning. All methods of instructions adopted at the academy, including assessment, will ensure simple, interactive methods where the students, typically students over the age of 18, will be able to take an active role in directing their learning journey. This will be achieved through hands on instruction, practical tasks and assessments, collaborative l

learning and facilitation.
 

The Academy encourages the use of real-life situations and case studies in teaching environments in order to learn through actual, practical experience with a subject rather than just its mere theoretical parts.

 

MF Academy does not have a stand-alone discrimination policy; however, the Academy favors democratic values, inclusive communities and ensures that proactive efforts are taken to increase diversity and eliminate discrimination. We are against all types of discrimination including discrimination on the basis of race, colour, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, and marital status.

 

The Head of Academy will handle all inquiries and complaints regarding any perceived discriminations. We have zero tolerance for discrimination. Any reports of discrimination shall be handled promptly in the manner deemed necessary by Head of Academy.

 

MF Academy is committed to widen underrepresented groups and increase overall diversity. In doing so, the Academy promotes intellectual diversity in its learning community. Where possible, the Academy will recruit and encourage applications from underrepresented groups and create a positive and supportive environment for all.

 

In order to be eligible for assessment, a learner must be enrolled as learner of the Academy, have attended regularly to the lectures and have paid the relevant fees. Assessments will be done within the periods as indicated by the calendar/schedule published by the Academy. If the student wishes to have an assessment postponed, a written justified reason must be sent to the Head of the Academy who will discuss the request with the lecturer concerned in order to accept or refuse the student’s request.

Students will be informed of the criteria and modes of assessment during their induction at the beginning of their training programme. This information will be included in the info pack provided to the students.

​The assessment methods will be of two types: formative and summative. The formative assessments will not be graded. They can take on the form of tests, practical sessions, presentations and write-ups. The summative assessments can take the same form as formative assessments explained but will be graded on a two level system: Pass or Fail. Students will be informed about which criteria they failed and also be given guidance on how to improve their performance.

Students will be given the chance to re-submit their summative assessments only once. The achievement of a qualification will require that all students achieve a pass in all the modules.

 

Assessment decisions are impartial, reliable, fair and provide a valid judgement of the students’ successful achievement of the set learning outcomes. Some might question the decisions issued. Students are allowed to appeal such decisions. The Academy aims to deal with any appeals in a speedy manner.

The Academy will only consider appeals that are submitted within 10 working days of the receipt of the assessment; outlines why the appeal is being submitted and provide supporting documentation; and is submitted by the student himself or herself and not third parties.

 

The Academy will review the appeal and communicate an outcome within 5 working days from receipt.

 

Standard 5: Student Admission, progression, recognition and certification

 

The admin. manager (AM) will also be responsible for student admission, progression, and certification. MF Academy will not adopt the process of recognition of prior learning at the initial stages (3 years) of its operation. In the eventuality that the latter process will be incorporated, this IQA document will be updated accordingly and sent to NCFHE.

 

In order to provide quality management of these processes, the AM will:

  • Organise induction meetings to explain to all potential students the necessary information on the academy and its programmes

  • Keep a record of all the correspondence and information of students asking for information

  • Utilise an effective admission process by checking that all the eligibility requirements expected of the respective programmes are met. All documentation submitted by the students will be vetted manually by the AM. This is done through a step by step procedure by checking each and every application against the entry requirements.

  • Keep evidence of entry requirements and qualifications of students, together with the result of the admission process

  • In liaison with the Head of Academy and teachers & trainers, keep a record of student performance. Individual student records are kept in a physical file in the AM’s office and electronically to safeguard the students’ information. Such

information is only accessible by the HoA and teachers & trainers on a need-to-know basis.

  • ​Record the achievement/progression of students

  • ​Issue certification on the basis of successful programme achievement. The MF Academy issues certificates to all successful students. The certificates indicate the MQF level of the study programmes and the amount of credits. Similarly, the Academy will be using the Europass supplement template provided by EUPA and NCFHE to provide students with additional information about their qualification including the status of the qualification, an overview of the modules covered, the Maltese educational context and the learning outcome covered.

     

Standard 6: Teaching staff

Teaching staff will be engaged on a contract for service, part-time basis. All the teachers will be expected to have at least a level 6 qualification and 3 years experience working in the fitness sector. Trainers will be expected to have at least 8 years experience in the fitness sector and will need to be accompanied by a teacher if sessions are to be conducted in a class-room environment.

 

Prospective trainers apply for the post by being nominated by the Head of Academy. The prospective trainer should present the following documents: personal data, CV, copies of the certificates. On the other hand, trainers can reply to a call for applications issued by the Academy, by addressing an application to the Head of the Academy explaining why he/she considers himself/herself apt for the indicated post and present also the following documents: personal data, CV, copies of the certificates. The Head of Academy is expected to verify all the documents submitted and interview the prospective trainer together with the Quality Manager. The Head will then inform the applicant in writing about the acceptance or refusal for the indicated post.

 

The Academy has procedures for regulation observation of teaching staff. All staff are aware and accept to be observed and supervised as a means of ensuring quality of teaching at the Academy. The Academy supports staff development and upskilling of its teaching staff members. While its teaching staff will be mainly employed on a part time basis, it is still keen to provide them with means of professional development, mainly through online courses and professional development sessions. Part time staff members are kept abreast of the Academy’s developments by the Head of the Academy. Part time staff members are also particularly encouraged to participate in the staff development plan and also scheduled staff development activities.

 

Standard 7: Learning resources and student support

 

The role of the student mentors is to provide all the required support to students which they may need. This role will ensure that students have all the required learning resources and support irrespective of their specific/special need and background. The academy will allocate 25% of its budget plan to learning resources which apart from fitness equipment and stuff will also include specialist books, articles, magazines and online subscriptions.

 

At the beginning of each course, teachers and trainers will indicate the resources required for the training events. Where additional resources are necessary, requests are forwarded to the Head of the Academy for consideration. Unless justified, the Head of the Academy shall not unnecessarily withhold his or her approval.

 

Students and staff are encouraged to make use of the resources made available to them. Students are informed of the resources available at the beginning of their course and are given unlimited access to all resources both during the lessons as well as during the self-study hours. Since students will follow the course on a part time basis, the Academy will make the resources available during indicated evening opening hours to suite the flexibility needed by the students. Details of the resources available and the opening hours will be made available to the students at the beginning of each training programme.

 

The Academy attracts students of different educational backgrounds. In order to support all students according to their individual learning needs, the Academy will make available additional tutorial sessions and re-set options.

 

Standard 8: Information Management

 

The academy will develop an information management (IM) system that will integrate all the information on students, teaching & training staff, student mentors, admission, certification and learning activity.

 

Reports extracted from the IM will be made available, as necessary to the MF Academy management staff. Similarly, teachers and training staff will be provided with information if and when necessary. Safeguarding personal information, both students’ and staffs’, will be central to identifying and justifying reporting requirements.

 

In addition, all the following information management will be maintained through the dedicated IM system:

• ​Student profiles, including personal information such as gender, level of education, disabilities, ethnicity, etc.

• ​Admission records, including the application and additional documentation submitted by the students

  • ​Course participation, retention and performance rates

  • ​Students feedback and expectations

  • Career paths

 

Standard 9: Public Information

All public information will be managed by the AM who will ensure that:

  • Information about the academy’s programmes are made available for potential students on a dedicated website and through printed material such as student booklets and brochures

  • The dedicated website will be maintained and updated regularly by means of a management process check done by the AM

  • The information made available to the public will also be discussed with students by means of dedicated feedback meetings with students

  • All information relating to programmes of study will contain the essential information on the Malta Qualifications Framework such as Level, credit value, learning outcomes, assessment methods and performance rates

  • Programme information will also contain the following information so that students are fully aware of the associated knowledge, skills and competencies that they are expected to gain at the end of the programme:

o ​Selection criteria for admission
o ​Learning outcomes
o ​Qualification title and level
o ​T eaching, learning and assessment methods o ​Student progression and achievement details o ​Further learning opportunities

 

Standard 10: Ongoing monitoring and periodic review of programmes

 

MF academy will adopt a two pronged approach to achieve this compliance with this standard, namely:

 

Approach A: Development approach

Approach B: Audit approach

The development approach will allow the ongoing monitoring of all teaching, learning and assessment activity and will lead to the development of human capital through a facilitation method that will be adopted by the QM. Once the programme is approved, and starts being delivered, it is reviewed internally by the QM, trainers, students’ mentors and students during a dedicated meeting. During this discussion a students’ representative is also invited to contribute and provide verbal feedback to the team. Students views will be considered through structured feedback in the form of questionnaires. Feedback arising from the end-of-course questionnaire circulated to previous students will also be taken into consideration. In addition, external stakeholders will also be consulted as part of curriculum review processes that will be deployed by the academy. Should the need arise, the team could make a recommendation to the HoA to commission a fully-fledged review by an independent expert or request a re-accreditation of the programme.

On the other hand, the audit approach will be applied annually (at the end of July) and will lead to a complete internal audit of the academy’s operation. The internal audit will also lead to the development of a specific action plan for continuous improvement of the Academy

 

MF academy will also review systematically all of its programmes after 5 years of them having been accredited, by updating the programmes and re-submitting them for accreditation.

 

Such results will be communicated through the public information system explained in the previous section.