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COVID-19: Support and guidance for HE providers available this week

Date: March 23 - 2020

Over the last week, many higher education institutions have moved quickly to adjust their delivery models in support of the UK-wide efforts to control the spread of COVID-19.

Among the many adjustments HE providers are making, changes to learning, teaching and assessment, and progression are the issues that most immediately concern QAA.

We are committed to doing what we can to support providers in finding solutions to the questions around graduation and progression. More broadly, we are looking at how providers can secure standards and quality in learning, teaching and assessment under the current challenging conditions.

This week, we will be producing the initial draft guidance we promised you. We anticipate that this guidance will develop over time. We have consulted with regulatory bodies in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in drafting this guidance and will continue to be in close consultation with them as we develop it. We have also taken the decision that it is in the student interest that the guidance will be openly published on our website, available to everybody (not just QAA members who fund this work).

We are working with OfS, HEFCW, SFC, DfENI and the Home Office to communicate with providers about ongoing and scheduled review processes.

We will also be introducing a discussion forum on Tuesday, via Yammer. This will be moderated by us, and we will record the discussions; but it is primarily intended to facilitate discussion between you - communities of practitioners - to share your thoughts, ideas, experiences and practices. This forum, too, will be available through the public QAA website and not behind the membership paywall.

For our members, we will be opening up more Quality Clinic slots. Our quality team will be available on the phone or via Microsoft Teams to give advice and answer members' questions. You will be able to book slots in the usual way. Our Membership Engagement Managers will be calling and emailing over the next couple of weeks, to see if there is anything in particular we can do to support your institution through these unusual circumstances.

Operationally, QAA is now working remotely. This should not impact on the services we offer. All our office phones have been diverted to mobile numbers, and we are making effective use of Skype, Teams and Zoom to conduct meetings. The only difference you might notice is if you have sent us physical post, in which case it might be advisable to scan the documents and email them to your usual contact. We have effective business continuity plans to cope with sickness absence, and our staff are working hard to ensure that you are supported and our services remain available to you.