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QAA re-review concludes The Glasgow School of Art has effective arrangements for managing academic standards

Date: August 26 - 2022

A QAA re-review of The Glasgow School of Art (GSA) has found that the School has 'effective arrangements for managing academic standards, and the student learning experience'. This is a positive judgement, confirming there can be public confidence in the School's awards and in the quality of the learning experience it provides for its students.

The re-review was conducted after the initial Enhancement-led Institutional Review (ELIR), carried out in October 2020, found that GSA did not meet sector expectations in relations to the arrangements it had in place for securing the academic standards of the awards it offers and for enhancing the quality of the student experience and the outcomes of two investigations undertaken through the QAA Scotland Scottish Concerns Scheme. QAA, GSA and the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) agreed arrangements to monitor the implementation of GSA’s action plan for addressing the recommendations.

It was undertaken by a team of four reviewers, three of whom were drawn from the original ELIR team with this continuity viewed as being important to allow a decision to be made on the GSA’s progress with the recommendations of the original review. One of the re-review team was also a member of the peer team which investigated the Concerns.

The re-review took place onsite through an update visit in May 2022, followed by a re-review visit in June 2022.

'The 2020 ELIR report and recommendations raised challenging issues many of which we had already identified and begun to work on', says Professor Penny Macbeth, Director of The Glasgow School of Art.

'Since the publication of that report we have continued to address these issues systematically and with rigour, working collaboratively with staff and students across the GSA. The ‘effective’ judgement in the 2022 re-review reflects the outcomes of that work and the step-change that has happened.

'With our new Strategic Plan and our commitment to continuous improvement we will continue to build on areas of strength and work to address those areas where further change and enhancement is needed to ensure that we deliver a consistently excellent experience for all of our students.'

The re-review team commended GSA in the following areas:

  • Culture - In taking forward its response to ELIR and the development of its new strategic plan, the GSA and its new senior leadership team has, through engagement with its entire community, established a culture of openness, transparency and trust which prioritises learning and teaching and the wider student experience across the institution.
  • Enabling structures - In response to ELIR, a strong and effective senior leadership team has been established which, supported by changes to institutional committee structures, has created a cross-institutional leadership structure within which staff are encouraged and empowered to influence and take ownership of institutional priorities.

The re-review team also makes a number of recommendations, asking GSA to:

  • develop, implement and communicate an effective data strategy to facilitate the integration of data from diverse sources, and inform institutional decision-making and the development of policy and practice
  • develop and implement by the end of the academic year 2022-23 its planned Communication Strategy in order to ensure that effective and accessible communication channels, which are responsive to student content and engagement, are established and embedded across the school
  • ensure that prospective students are provided with clear information before entry which confirms the notional minimum levels of studio and workshop availability and access to resources that can be expected on each programme of study and continue to evaluate this information to ensure student expectations are appropriately managed
  • reflect on current arrangements and where appropriate further develop the induction and ongoing support available for lead representatives to ensure that these students are effectively equipped to carry out their roles particularly in relation to working with class representatives and participating as committee members at all levels.

QAA will continue to meet with GSA representatives on a quarterly basis to monitor the School’s progress in meeting all outstanding recommendations from the original review and Concerns Scheme investigations.

You can read the re-review report on the QAA website.