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safeguarding standards and improving the quality of UK higher education

Higher education watchdog reviews Loughborough University 

Publication date:

A review of Loughborough University by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) has found that most areas examined meet UK expectations, but the quality of student learning opportunities for collaborative provision (higher education offered in collaboration with overseas providers) requires improvement to meet UK expectations.

QAA protects the public interest in higher education by reviewing academic standards, the quality of learning opportunities, and the public information provided by universities and colleges delivering higher education.

Reviewers identified a number of examples of good practice at the University, including:
• activities of the Careers and Employability Centre
• the constructive and coordinated approach across departments and the Counselling and Disability Service to manage learning opportunities for students with disabilities
• highly effective training and development for postgraduate research students
• the comprehensive provision of, and support for, placement learning opportunities.

They also made recommendations for improvement, including:
• ensuring that formal signed agreements for all collaborative partnerships are in place
• responding fully to external examiner recommendations regarding collaborative provision
• ensuring that the information published by collaborative partners that refers to the University is accurate.

Anthony McClaran, QAA's Chief Executive, said: 'There were many good areas identified at Loughborough University as the institution met UK expectations in academic standards, the quality of student learning opportunities, and the enhancement of student learning opportunities.

'There were some issues with collaborative provision where the University works with overseas providers but we will now look at action plans with Loughborough to rectify this situation for the future.'

The University's collaborative provision is relatively small in scale (Loughborough has partnerships with six providers in the UK and three overseas).

Professor Morag Bell, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Teaching at Loughborough University, said: 'We welcome the report's conclusion of confidence in the academic standards of our awards and in the quality and enhancement of the learning opportunities available to our students.
'We are particularly pleased that the QAA Review Team identified many features of good practice, including the distinctive nature of the placement learning opportunities provided for Loughborough University students.

'The University is committed to ensuring that the quality of its provision is of the highest possible standard and actions are in place to ensure that the small number of recommendations made in the report is being addressed.'

The QAA review took place in May-June 2012 and was conducted by a team of five reviewers: Ms Susan Blake from City University, Professor Mark Davies of Sunderland University, Dr Alan Howard from Reading University, Ms Charlotte Richer (student reviewer), and Dr Richard Harrison (review secretary).

Related categories:
Review of higher education
Notes to editor:

Notes to editor

1. For more information, please contact Joanna Wynn, Media Relations Officer, at or 01452 557074.

2. The review carried out at Loughborough University was an Institutional Review for England and Northern Ireland (IRENI). More information on IRENI is available at

3. The report on Loughborough University is published on 7 February 2013. It is available at:

4. QAA safeguards the public interest in the quality and standards of UK higher education. We check how UK universities and colleges maintain their academic standards and quality. We review and report on how they meet their responsibilities, identify good practice and make recommendations for improvement. We publish guidelines to help UK universities and colleges develop effective systems to ensure students have the best learning experience. Further information is available at:

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