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.

HEFCE Annual Provider Review

The HEFCE operating model for quality assessment, piloted from 2016/17 and fully implemented from 2017/18.  The operating model consists of an ‘Annual Provider Review’, which is a desk-based review collected through the existing HEFCE annual accountability process, alongside an expanded version of HEFCE’s existing five-yearly ‘Assurance Review’ visit. The Annual Provider Review consists of 1) a statement of assurance from the governing body (and 2) a review of data by HEFCE.  

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) links the funding of teaching to quality, not simply quantity.

The TEF is subject to a phased introduction. In Year Two (affecting students from autumn 2018), TEF judgements are made against a set of criteria covering Teaching Quality, Learning Environment and Student Outcomes & Learning Gain. The assessments are carried out by a review panel including academics, employers and students, and they use a combination of core metrics (including the National Student Survey results; retention rates of students; proportion in employment or further study), as well as additional evidence submitted by the provider to reach a judgement.


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: subject to the methodology set out on the Further Education and Skills Inspection Handbook, August 2016.

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, Student Barometer 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.