Skip to main content Accessibility Statement

QAA has managed the scheme for the recognition and quality assurance of Access to HE courses since 1997.


Our business plan includes four strands that provide the framework for our work. These are: effective management of the QAA Recognition Scheme for Access to HE; building relationships; increasing our voice; and developing services.


  • Maintain and manage the QAA Recognition Scheme
  • Licence and review Access Validating Agencies (AVAs)
  • Set requirements about the Access to HE Diploma and its assessment and work with AVAs and providers to improve their practice
  • Collect and publish statistics and other information about Access to HE

  • Continue our commitment in supporting Access to HE provision within prisons and the armed forces
  • Work with students, AVAs, Access to HE providers, higher education providers and employers to offer innovative and comprehensive services
  • Work closely with stakeholders to ensure that the Access to HE Diploma meets local priorities and links to wider national priorities

  • Provide focused and relevant communications to increase the reach of our website and social media
  • Produce a programme of webinars for all stakeholders
  • Maintain our commitment to Access to HE events that engage our stakeholders
  • Undertake research on our social value and deliver a meaningful impact report

  • Develop a range of consultancy and training services
  • Use of EMSI labour market intelligence to support new service offer and enable us to assess and demonstrate likely demand for Access to HE Diplomas
  • Develop a new website
  • Develop a digital career planning tool for adult Access to HE learners

Our QAA team

Our Access to HE work is overseen by the QAA Board, supported by the Access Recognition and Licensing Committee. The Board delegates day to day leadership to the Chief Executive and Executive Committee who work with the Access to HE team to manage the QAA recognition scheme for Access to HE.


Delivery support services are provided by staff with responsibility in the following areas: data and reporting, facilities, human resources, finance and planning, marketing and events, governance, policy and communications and information technology.


Our Governance

QAA’s Board is responsible for policy relating to QAA's Access to HE responsibilities and is advised by the Access Recognition and Licensing Committee (ARLC). The ARLC has responsibility for oversight of QAA's Recognition Scheme, which is the regulatory framework through which Access to HE courses are recognised and regulated.


The ARLC is assisted by two expert groups: the Access Qualification Development Group (AQDG) and the Access Data Development Group (ADDG).


The Access Recognition and Licensing Committee (ARLC) is a committee of the QAA Board, which has overall responsibility for the operation and development of the Recognition Scheme. ARLC membership includes representatives from further and higher education, and former Access to HE graduates. It is chaired by a member of the QAA Board. For current membership details, please see the ARLC register of members' interests


Access Recognition and Licensing Committee: register of members’ interests

Publication Date: 03 Jul 2019

The ARLC is assisted by two expert advisory groups, the Access Qualification Development Group (AQDG) and the Access Data Development Group, which both report to the ARLC.


For more information, please see the full terms of reference of the ARLC.


The Access Qualification Development Group (AQDG) is an expert advisory group which reports to the Access Recognition and Licensing Committee (ARLC). Its membership includes current practitioners and other stakeholders. It is chaired by a member of the ARLC.


For more information, please see the full terms of reference of the AQDG.


The Access Data Development Group (ADDG) reports and makes recommendations to the Access Recognition and Licensing Committee (ARLC) on matters relating to the development of data about Access to HE. Its membership includes data analysts and experts from funding and data collection bodies in further and higher education, AVAs and other interested bodies.


For more information, please see the full terms of reference of the ADDG.


Our Funding

QAA is funded to maintain and manage the Access Recognition Scheme through fees from Access Validating Agencies (AVAs) and a contribution from QAA membership income. We also receive development and research funding from grants and other sources.


We have a number of policies and procedures that govern our activities. We publish these as part our commitment to working in an open and transparent way.