Academic Quality Procedures Handbook

4. External Review

There are several processes operated by bodies ‘external’ to Loughborough which scrutinise the University’s quality management, teaching quality and standards, and the level of reliance that can be placed on the accuracy, integrity, completeness and frankness of the information we publishes about our programmes and procedures.  There are also external frameworks within which we operate which also provide assurance about the quality and standards of our awards.

Office for Students

The Office for Students (OfS) is the regulator of the higher education sector and operates a regulatory framework for higher education in England, as required under section 75 of the Higher Education and Research Act 2017 (HERA). The University is listed on the OfS Register of Providers and is required to meet ongoing conditions of registration in order to continue on the Register.  

The OfS regulates individual providers in order to ensure delivery of its four primary regulatory objectives, namely that all students, from all backgrounds, and with the ability and desire to undertake higher education:

1. Are supported to access, succeed in, and progress from, higher education.

2. Receive a high quality academic experience, and their interests are protected while they study or in the event of provider, campus or course closure.

3. Are able to progress into employment or further study, and their qualifications hold their value over time.

4. Receive value for money.

Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF)

The Government has introduced the TEF as a way of:

  1. Better informing students’ choices about what and where to study
  2. Raising esteem for teaching
  3. Recognising and rewarding excellent teaching
  4. Better meeting the needs of employers, business, industry and the professions.

The Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) provides valuable assurance of the quality and standards of our provision, and enables benchmarking of many aspects of our provision across the sector

Ofsted

The following programmes are subject to Ofsted Review:

Initial Teacher Education (ITE): PGCE Physical Education and PGCE Mathematics: subject to the methodology set out in the Initial Teacher Education Inspection Handbook, September 2015.

Art & Design Foundation Studies and level 7 Apprenticeship provision: subject to the methodology set out on the Further Education and Skills Inspection Handbook, August 2016.

The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA)

The QAA has been appointed by the Secretary of State for Education as the Designated Quality Body to work with the OfS to maintain quality and standards in the sector. The QAA is responsible for setting and monitoring the standards of UK higher education including the development of the UK Quality Code for Higher Education. 

QAA Quality Code for HE

UK Quality Code was developed with the higher education sector, and is maintained and published on their behalf, by QAA. It sets out the expectations that all providers of UK higher education are required to meet. The Quality Code gives all higher education providers a shared starting point for setting, describing and assuring the academic standards of their higher education awards and programmes and the quality of the learning opportunities they provide. ​​

The AQPH is consonant with the QAA Quality Code for Higher Education. Schools should be able to rely on the fact that by complying with the AQPH they will be adhering to the QAA Code.

National Qualification and Credit Frameworks

The sector has developed National Qualification and Credit Frameworks to ensure consistency in the design and application of its awards. During programme approval and review the University confirms that all awards are fully compatible with the national Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (the FHEQ) and the Higher Education Credit Framework for England, as well as the qualifications framework adopted at the Bergen Summit of the Bologna Process for the creation of a European Higher Education Area (EHEA). The QAA has independently certified that the FHEQ is compatible with the Framework for Qualifications of the European Higher Education Area (FQ-EHEA).

External surveys

Externally operated surveys, notably the National Student Survey, Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey, and THE Student Experience Survey, provide valuable student feedback on their programmes and the wider student experience.  The outcomes are regularly monitored and evaluated within our internal governance processes.

Accreditation by Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Bodies

The University has a strong history of accreditation for its taught provision, with many programmes at both undergraduate and postgraduate level accredited by a professional, statutory or regulatory body.  Accreditation reports and School responses are formally received and considered in Annual Programme Review and Quadrennial Review. Accreditation and recognition procedures provide a major element of peer assessment and review, thereby ensuring that external considerations are taken regularly into account in programme content and design.