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QAA opens consultation on Access to Higher Education Recognition Scheme

Date: May 29 - 2024

QAA has opened a major consultation on proposed changes to the Recognition Scheme for the Access to Higher Education Diploma. The proposals represent significant changes to how QAA intends to regulate the qualification from the 2025-26 academic year.

QAA is the regulator for the Access to Higher Education (Access) Diploma and has held this role since its establishment in 1997.

The Access to Higher Education Diploma is a Level 3 qualification primarily focused on adult learners who wish to enter higher education but do not have the necessary qualifications in the subject area they wish to follow. It is designed to give learners skills and knowledge in particular subject areas, enabling them to follow a higher education qualification at Level 4 and above. In 2023, the Department for Education confirmed that the QAA-recognised Access to Higher Education Diploma would continue to be a qualification where learners can benefit from access to funding for their studies.

QAA licenses Access Validating Agencies (AVAs) to develop, validate and award these qualifications, and to work with providers that deliver Access to Higher Education Diplomas.

QAA places regulatory requirements on AVAs through its Licensing Criteria and related monitoring arrangements. It also sets out particular requirements through a Diploma Specification and associated Grading Scheme, and, for some subject areas, sets requirements for the content of Diplomas through Subject Descriptors. These are the regulatory elements which constitute the Recognition Scheme.

This consultation proposes significant changes to the Recognition Scheme, with a particular focus on the Licensing Criteria and monitoring and compliance arrangements.

The consultation will remain open for 12 weeks and welcomes the participation of all stakeholders including AVAs and Access to HE students, graduates, professionals and providers, as well as other FE and HE providers, professionals and policymakers, and representatives of sector bodies.

You can read the consultation documents below. Responses should be submitted using our online survey by 22 August 2024. We have provided a MS Word version to help you prepare your answers.

Access to Higher Education Diploma, Review of Regulation and Licensing - consultation on changes to the Recognition Scheme

Publication date: 29 May 2024

Access to Higher Education Diploma Recognition Scheme consultation - online survey questions

Publication date: 29 May 2024