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safeguarding standards and improving the quality of UK higher education

Consultation on Higher Education Quality Enhancement Review

Start date
Closing date

Higher Education Quality Enhancement Review Handbook

Consultation document (DOC, 44KB)

About this consultation

This consultation invites comments on the draft handbook for QAA's new method for higher education providers in Wales, Higher Education Quality Enhancement Review.

Why we are consulting

In April 2017, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) published its expectations for external quality assurance in its publication External Quality Assurance Review (PDF, 300KB). It set out the specification for external quality assurance reviews that providers regulated by HEFCW must commission under the Quality Assessment Framework for Wales (QAF).

The Higher Education Quality Enhancement Review (QER) meets this specification and will be available to higher education providers from 2017-18. It will enable providers to gain external assurance about the quality and standards of their provision, and thus plays a role in the Quality Assessment Framework (QAF) for Wales. In addition, in order to have their Fee and Access Plans approved by the HEFCW, providers are required to secure a review at intervals from a body registered on the European Quality Assurance Register (EQAR).

QER provides an assessment of higher education providers against the European Standards and Guidelines (2015) (ESG). It enables providers to have a review from QAA, an organisation on the EQAR that understands the context of higher education in Wales and maintains appropriate Welsh language capacity and commitment.

In May 2017, Universities Wales announced that it had commissioned QAA to be the independent external quality review body on behalf of all universities in Wales. Regulated colleges in Wales will also be able to use this method; we believe the review method's flexibility to tailor and contextualise the review means it is able to meet the needs of colleges.

HEFCW will implement the QAF with a developmental year in 2017-18. Accordingly, details of the review method may change in light of revisions to the QAF requirements for external quality assurance after the developmental year, and in light of evaluations of the reviews in 2017-18.

In line with a risk-based approach, HEFCW will determine whether any significant changes to a provider should require an earlier full or partial review. Further information is available on HEFCW's website.

Who should respond?

While the review method will apply specifically to higher education providers in Wales regulated by HEFCW, we welcome contributions from anyone with an interest in any or all of the areas covered.

In particular we welcome responses from staff with responsibilities for quality assurance; students, student representatives and staff from student representative bodies; sector and representative bodies; representatives from the other UK nations; professional, statutory or regulatory bodies; and employer groups.

The consultation questions are listed in a document and response template, which is separate from the draft handbook itself.