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safeguarding standards and improving the quality of UK higher education

QAA reports on last year of Higher Education Review

Date 24/03/2017

A new report from QAA summarises the findings of 93 Higher Education Reviews (HERs) carried out in 2015-16: reviews of 32 universities and 61 further education colleges delivering higher education.

All universities reviewed for standards and quality last year achieved a positive result. However, a third of further education colleges offering higher education received one or more unsatisfactory judgements.

The report finds that:

  • 15 per cent of providers were commended in one or more areas
  • 30 per cent of FE colleges received one or more unsatisfactory judgements, the same proportion as seen in the previous two years of HER
  • universities are making better use of data (such as National Student Survey results) to improve the student experience, but FE colleges' capability in this area is weaker
  • educating students in partnership with others (for example through validation and franchise arrangements) remains an area of relative weakness for all providers
  • programmes leading to HNCs and HNDs awarded by Pearson tend to be less well managed than programmes leading to awards from universities: a quarter of recommendations received by FE colleges relate to Pearson qualifications.

2015-16 was the last year of HER for publicly funded universities and colleges in England and Northern Ireland. QAA continues to review alternative providers seeking designation for public funding or a licence to recruit international students.