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QAA publishes addendum to Quality Enhancement Review Handbook for 2021-22

Date: April 29 - 2021

QAA has published an addendum to accompany the Quality Enhancement Review (QER) Handbook following the announcement from the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) on 15 February 2021, detailing the changes to external quality assurance review requirements in response to the COVID-19 pandemic (Circular W21/05HE). The scope of the QER will focus on quality assurance only and providers undergoing reviews in 2021-22 will have the opportunity to engage with QAA separately on quality enhancement.

The review will focus on HEFCW’s statutory responsibilities - to be assured of the quality of education provided by, or on behalf of, regulated providers. Therefore, for 2021-22 only, there will be no reported outcomes or recommendations regarding quality enhancement of the student learning experience, and of learning and teaching. Quality enhancement continues to be a key component of HEFCW’s Quality Assessment Framework and, while enhancement will continue to form part of QAA’s regular engagement with providers scheduled for QER in 2021-22, this activity will not result in published outcomes or judgements. QAA will work with these providers to maintain their engagement in, and contribution to, quality enhancement activities in Wales.

The addendum applies to all QERs scheduled for 2021-22 and explains the adaptations to the method delivery. Some of the changes include opportunities for a shorter visit, smaller review teams (where possible) and streamlined meetings.

Alastair Delaney, QAA’s Director for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, said: ‘QAA has worked with HEFCW and the sector to further understand the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The addendum sets out how providers will be encouraged to focus their review preparation effectively and how QAA will support them to minimise review burden. Additionally, we have been developing our enhancement activities for our Welsh members that will provide opportunities to engage in quality enhancement activity outside of the review. These opportunities are open to all QAA Members in Wales, regardless of if they have undertaken a QER or are subject to this review.’

The addendum should be read in conjunction with the QER Handbook. QAA maintains regular communication with providers who are due for review in 2021-22 and will hold a provider briefing on Thursday 27 May, 14.00-15.30, via Zoom and is open to Review Facilitators, Lead Student Representatives and any other staff and students involved in the review preparation.