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safeguarding standards and improving the quality of UK higher education

UK Standing Committee for Quality Assessment publishes new Quality Code Expectations and practices

Date 27/03/2018

Announcement by the UK Standing Committee for Quality Assessment (UKSCQA)

Today, UKSCQA has published new Expectations and practices for the UK Quality Code for Higher Education.

The revised Expectations and practices of the Code respond to an extensive consultation across the UK higher education sector, which was coordinated by QAA on behalf of all members of UKSCQA. The resulting Expectations and practices will form the basis of a fully revised UK Quality Code, which is scheduled for publication in November 2018.

The revisions refocus the Code on core principles in quality assurance, improve its accessibility, and guarantee its fitness for purpose in an evolving regulatory landscape. They ensure that the Code continues to fulfil its role as the cornerstone of quality in UK higher education, irrespective of changing contexts.

Feedback throughout the consultation came from all nations, ensuring a UK-wide approach is maintained. Responses submitted by student groups and all types of higher education provider were also important in improving the Code's accessibility to the full diversity of the sector and its stakeholders, including students.

UKSCQA welcomed the engagement of the sector throughout this first phase of consultation. The next stage of the Code review will continue throughout spring 2018, as it develops the underpinning advice and guidance of the Code. UKSCQA looks forward to working with students and providers in this final stage of the review.

Professor Andrew Wathey, Chair of UKSCQA, said:

'In an increasingly diverse higher education sector, it is essential that the UK Quality Code remains the definitive reference point for managing quality and standards in UK higher education, while being sufficiently flexible to adapt to varying regulatory needs.

'The proposals have greatly benefitted from the thoughtful reflections of respondents from all parts of the sector, and from all nations of the UK. UKSCQA have worked closely with our members and sector group representatives Universities UK, GuildHE, the Association of Colleges, and the NUS, to finalise a Quality Code that is accessible to students, future facing, co-regulatory, and truly UK-wide.'

Douglas Blackstock, QAA Chief Executive, said:

'The Quality Code acts as the glue for the UK's higher education system. This latest evolution ensures all types of providers will remain at the leading edge of practice internationally. Working in partnership, we've developed a streamlined and flexible Code that's fit for the future. As well as the four new Expectations, it sets out core practices that ensure quality and standards are well managed and common practices that mature providers can use to enrich and enhance their students' experiences.

'But the work doesn't stop here. QAA will be working closely with the sector between now and November to develop a full set of advice and guidance that will help assure universities, colleges and other institutions that they deliver programmes at the standard their students should expect.'

The revised Quality Code Expectations and practices can be found here.