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safeguarding standards and improving the quality of UK higher education

Educational oversight reviews

​​​​Educational oversight by a designated body is a requirement for Highly Trusted Sponsor (HTS) status. QAA has been recognised as a designated body for higher education providers by the Home Office.

Information for new applications

Educational oversight methods

There are currently three different educational oversight review methods carried out by QAA.​

Higher Education Review (Alternative Providers)

​Higher Education Review (Alternative Providers is QAA's principal review method for alternative providers. The Handbook gives guidance to providers preparing for, and taking part in, this type of review.

For reviews taking place before 1 September 2016 - Higher Education Review (Alternative Providers) Handbook (April 2015)

For reviews taking place after 1 September 2016 - Higher Education Review (Alternative Providers) Handbook (July 2016)

This review method was formerly known as Higher Education Review (Plus). For more information, see the Higher Education Review (Plus): A handbook for providers​​.

Higher Education Review (Embedded Colleges)

Higher Education Review (Embedded Colleges) is for providers that operate networks of colleges embedded on or near the campuses of two or more UK higher education institutions. The Handbook gives guidance to providers preparing for, and taking part in, this type of review.

For reviews taking place before 1 January 2017 - Higher Education Review (Embedded Colleges) Handbook, April 2015 

For reviews taking place after 1 January 2017 - Higher Education Review (Embedded Colleges) Handbook, July 2016

This review method was formerly known as Embedded College Review for Educational Oversight (ECREO). For more information, see the Embedded College Review for Educational Oversight (ECREO): Handbook.

Educational Oversight - Exceptional Arrangements is the review method for embedded colleges that do not operate as part of a network. For more information see the Educational Oversight - Exceptional Arrangements Handbook 2016.

Higher Education Review (Foreign Providers)

Higher Education Review (Foreign Providers) is for overseas higher education providers operating in the UK. The Handbook gives guidance to providers preparing for, and taking part in, this type of review.​​​​

For reviews taking place before 1 September 2016 - Higher Education Review (Foreign Providers) Handbook July 2015

For reviews taking place after 1 September 2016 - Higher Education Review (Foreign Providers) Handbook July 2016

This review method ​was formerly known as Recognition Scheme for Education Oversight (RSEO). For more information, see the Recognition Scheme for Educational Oversight (RSEO): Handbook​. Note: providers that offer short-term study abroad programmes only will continue to be reviewed using RSEO.​


​​To view providers scheduled for educational oversight review, please refer to the programme of reviews.

Annual Return and Monitoring

Educational oversight involves a full QAA review in the year following the application, and an annual return and interim monitoring visits between reviews in subsequent years. The annual return and the monitoring visits are an integral part of the overall review process. All providers should submit an annual return to QAA. Further guidance is available within the Useful resources below and on our frequently asked questions.

Useful resources

Overview reports

Publishing information about reviews

We ask that providers use the approved wording given in the Guidance for providers on publishing information about educational oversight reviews to describe their relationship with QAA, and to publicise information about their educational oversight review by QAA.

From 1 October 2014, eligible providers can display a QAA Review Graphic either in addition to the approved wording or instead of it. Find out more about the QAA Review Graphic​. ​

Educational Oversight Liaison Forum

The Educational Oversight Liaison Forum enables providers who have applied for educational oversight, their representative organisations, and QAA to discuss matters of common interest, share good practice and exchange information.

Membership of the Forum consists of representatives from large, medium and small colleges, a study abroad provider, a foreign provider, an embedded college, Federation of Awarding Bodies, Ofqual, Study UK, UKCISA and QAA staff. Membership is subject to review annually. Please contact the appropriate representative when communicating with the Forum.​​​

Minutes from the most recent Forum (PDF, 43.6 KB)

List of members (PDF, 99.9 KB)

Terms of reference (PDF, 28.7 KB)​

Feedback Conference resources

Annual Monitoring and additional guidance

Annual Monitoring

Annual monitoring for educational oversight (PDF, 242KB)

Monitoring process annual return form (DOC, 27KB)

Annual monitoring for embedd​ed colleges

Annual monitoring for embedded colleges: Monitoring process annual return form (DOC, 52KB)

Annual monitoring for foreign providers and short-term study abroad providers (PDF, 242KB)

Annual monitoring for foreign providers and short-term study abroad providers: Monitoring process annual return form (DOC, 35KB)

Review for Educational Oversight: Annual monitoring and the Quality Code briefing event (PDF, 1.66MB)

UK Quality Code for Higher Education presentation, annual monitoring event February 2013 (PDF, 2.37MB)

Preparing for a review​

Responsibilities checklist for providers without degree awarding powers (DOC, 40KB)​

Responsibilities checklist Pearson 2016 (DOC, 17KB)

Responsibilities checklist Pearson (DOC, 40KB)

Responsibilities checklist for providers undergoing a Higher Education Review (Embedded Colleges) (DOC, 65KB)

Responsibilities checklist for providers undergoing Higher Education Review (Foreign Providers) (DOC, 38KB)

Higher Education Review (Alternative Providers): supplementary guidance on writing the self-evaluation document (PDF,​ 188KB)

Higher Education Review (Alternative Providers): guidance on producing an action plan (DOC, 52KB)

Unsatisfactory judgements​

Higher Education Review (Alternative Providers): Partial Review Process (PDF, 48KB)

Training tools​

RSEO briefing presentation (PDF, 150KB)

HER (AP) briefing presentation (PDF, 1.34MB)

Update for facilitators

​​Review for Educational Oversight: QAA update for facilitators - February 2014

Review for Educational Oversight: QAA update for facilitators - December 2014

Key reference points

The key reference points used in our review methods can be found in our section on Assuring standards and quality. From December 2011 the ​UK Quality Code for Higher Education has replaced the Academic Infrastructure as the core guidance published by QAA.​​​​

 

Further information

For further details please see the frequently asked questions section about the educational oversight process and our guidance note for each review method.​