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Update on our Education QA pilot - realising the benefits

29 Mar 2021

We have completed the first cycle of our pilot which shows the new approach to quality assurance is working.

A big thank you to the early adopters who were involved in the first of three cycles which will run through to tne end of August.  

What has worked well so far?

Our intiial findings have already shown the benefits of moving to a risk-based, flexible model of quality assurance.  It is clear that our visitors are able to explore issues with education providers through our staged approach to approvals.  Where we would normally set conditions, our new approval process has provided scope of visitors to resolve issues as part of their final decisions on programme approval. 

Although our sample size is still small, this means the programmes we assessed for approval have been able to:

  • achieve approval without conditions being applied, and
  • complete the approval process in around four months.

Also, our visitors have been able to:

  • conduct a full review of evidence submitted, and
  • dcoument their findings based the issues they explored and the reasons they had for each area of our standards being met.

This is really promising in terms of initial outcomes, particularly regarding the length ot time taken to complete the process and that our visitors were no longer simply reporting by exception, and instead providing a rounded view regarding the quality of proposals being reviewed. 

Where can we improve?

We have also identified a wealth of incremental improvements from the first pilot cycle which we will address through our next cycle between March and May. These include:

  • Improvements to guidance for providers and visitors
  • Clearer definition of key milestones through issues led assessment
  • Ensuring providers understand why we may ask for more information through monitoring, and how good performance is incentivised throughout.
  • Continuing to develop our online services to support provider and visitor needs.

Next steps

Pilot cycle 2 commenced in March and runs through to the end of May.  At this point we will reflect again on the outcomes received and the feedback received from providers regarding the process.  We will provide a further update in June following our evaluation of cycle 2.

Find out more about our work to change the quality assurance approach to education
Page updated on: 30/03/2021