Quality assessment, assurance and enhancement
Under the Higher Education (Wales) Act 2015 we have to assess, or make arrangements to assess, the quality of education provided in Wales by or on behalf of each regulated institution. We do this through our quality assessment processes. We also work with Advance HE to support the higher education community in enhancing the quality of learning and teaching.
Our quality assessment responsibilities under the Higher Education (Wales) Act 2015, (‘the Act’) are addressed by our Quality Assessment Committee. The Act requires us to assess, or make arrangements to assess, the quality of education provided in Wales by or on behalf of each regulated institution. Quality Assessment arrangements apply to all provision, including bilingual and Welsh Medium provision.
As part of the Quality Assessment Framework for Wales, regulated institutions in Wales are required to undergo external quality assurance reviews from an organisation listed on the European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education. Quality Enhancement Review has been developed by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education with HEFCW to meet this requirement. Further information is on the QAA website. The purpose of the review is to meet the public interest in knowing that Welsh HE provision is of appropriate academic standard and quality, against the baseline regulatory requirements. We have received confirmation from the Home Office that Quality Enhancement Review in Wales meets the Home Office requirements for educational oversight.
Under the Act, we have powers in relation to provision that is, or is likely to become, inadequate. The Act defines this as being 'not adequate to meet the reasonable needs of those receiving the education or undertaking the course'. We currently consider the reasonable needs to have been met if a provider obtains judgements of ‘Meets requirements in the judgement categories in QER review. In every case, a regulated institution receiving a ‘meets requirement with conditions’ or ‘does not meet’ outcome will be deemed to have quality which is, or is likely to become, inadequate. It will be subject to the procedures detailed in this document, before becoming subject to the inadequate quality interventions outlined in the Transitional Statement of Intervention. Our inadequate quality processes prior to intervention are available on our website.
We work with other organisations such as the Office of the Independent Adjudicator, the Charities Commission, Home Office and Awarding Bodies (where applicable) in order to fulfil our duties under the Act.
Our Memorandum of Understanding with Estyn and QAA provides a framework for working relationships between us, to ensure efficient and effective cooperation in relation to the review of higher education in Wales. It commits to avoiding duplication of effort, identifying activities of mutual interest where collaboration would benefit learners in higher education, and sharing expertise in support of continuous improvement of the quality of education.