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COVID-19 (Coronavirus) – support and guidance

The UK’s higher education sector has a world-class reputation, founded on high standards and outstanding quality. Academic integrity is a major contributor to this. However, academic misconduct is a growing problem globally and presents a threat to the reputation of higher education worldwide. It takes a wide variety of forms including the use of essay and degree mills, plagiarism, collusion between students, and forged or altered qualification certificates.


QAA has for some years been working closely with providers, sector agencies and UK governments to encourage academic integrity and address the challenge of contract cheating - where students obtain bespoke assignments from a third-party and submit them as their own work.

What do our members say?


This continues to be a priority in the current year, in which we set out to:

  • continue our campaign to combat essay mills and other threats to academic integrity
  • build on the revised guidance on contract cheating published in June 2020 and endorsed by government ministers across the UK to support members in their efforts to detect and deter cheating, and maintain academic integrity
  • continue to liaise with governments, sector bodies and expert academics, and develop communities of practice with members to guide policy development and institutional practice.

In addition, we have evolved our programme to build in additional work to support our members in addressing the emerging issues relating to academic integrity arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. Work in this membership year includes:

  • launch and promotion of the Academic Integrity Charter
  • guidance and supporting resources on online proctoring
  • research into sector-wide approaches to intervention and sanctions, with published guidance and resources
  • webinar series on combating education fraud
  • case study programme to share effective practice and lessons learned.

Find out more about membership work in this area



Related membership work