Uniac - July 2022

29 • resource requirements, which may be specialist and complex. The OfS are firm in expecting providers to adopt sophisticated and robust data-driven, evidence-based performance assessments and measures. In addition, plans should be underpinned by robust evaluation and research and a rich evidence base drawn from internal and external (national) sources. Smaller and specialist providers have raised additional challenges in their context, for example: • the lack of specialist subjects in the national curriculum, such as agriculture or jewellery, and professional practice pathways, such as osteopathy. This means that the critical focus of continuation and progression and improving outcomes centres around the need to deliver extracurricular subject-specific training, which has not previously been taught and, therefore, performance not attained or evaluated before entry • the specialist nature of some provision being a barrier to some students, particularly disabled students • in some specialist art institutions, the need for learning disability support being disproportionately high. Student engagement is also an issue for some providers needing to provide evidence of how students from a range of backgrounds have been involved in the design, implementation and evaluation of the plan as there may be no formal networks in place or no Students' Union or equivalent. The OfS is seeking to address these concerns by prompting institutions such as these to consider their approach to drafting an APP, rather than changing the guidelines per se to meet concerns. If providers do not have their own data to supplement their analysis, the OfS expects providers to state where this is the case in their plan. In such instances, providers must include a time-bound strategy for improving their data capability. The OfS also strongly suggests collaborative working where this makes strategic sense. For example, it encourages collaborative targets to be set in partnership with other providers to address national, regional, and local priorities. This might be a target across types of providers (such as specialist providers). An APP means that the governing body and leadership team may need to address key institutional concerns internally and across their networks to develop a robust and resilient Plan. Together, they must provide a compelling theory of change where targets cannot be met in the short-medium term.