Skip to main content Accessibility Statement

QAA recommends reform to the English quality system to deliver on future policy priorities

Date: September 18 - 2023

QAA has launched our new policy series, The Future of Quality in England, with a policy briefing setting out a vision for what an English quality system fit for the future should look like.  

The paper argues that a robust and responsive quality system is crucial for delivering on the policy priorities of the next decade, including the introduction of the Lifelong Loan Entitlement, the expansion of degree apprenticeships, addressing the dominance of generative artificial intelligence and an increasingly challenging funding landscape. 

To deliver on this, we are recommending that policymakers:

  • Realign the English quality system with internationally agreed good practice. This includes independence of quality assessment, a periodic touchpoint with all providers, student engagement and transparency of regulatory analysis while recognising the distinct characteristics of the English sector.
  • Formally recognise enhancement (continuous improvement) as part of the quality system to encourage providers to evolve and respond to emerging opportunities and challenges in the policy landscape.
  • Streamline regulatory requirements from the multiple bodies with oversight of higher education to minimise burden and enable the regulatory landscape to be tailored to the ambitions of, and for, the sector.

Implementing these recommendations will make it easier for providers to continue delivering for students and support graduates to positively contribute to the modern world, while instilling trust at home and internationally in the quality of provision, something that has been put at risk by current arrangements. 

This policy paper will be followed by a series of policy ‘deep dives’ into specific topics throughout the Autumn, including degree apprenticeships, instilling international trust, what England can learn from the nations, and lifelong learning.

QAA’s Chief Executive, Vicki Stott, said: ‘Making the English quality system more independent, transparent, agile and strategic would provide the key to unlocking policy progress across higher education sector. Drawing upon our 26 years of experience at the forefront of ensuring quality and standards across the UK and internationally, we have published this paper to detail what an English quality system ready to meet the evolving demands of students, employers, policymakers and others should look like. We look forward to continuing this policy series and setting out a positive vision of how the English quality system can support the higher education provision we need.'