Quality Assessment Framework for Wales
The Quality Assessment Framework for Wales, which assures HEFCW of the quality of education at HE providers, was published in March 2018.
This is underpinned by a set of baseline regulatory requirements, which align with those in England and Northern Ireland. Work across England, Wales and Northern Ireland in relation to degree standards inform these requirements.
Cross-cutting issues across the UK include the:
- need to preserve the sense of a UK-wide quality system
- compliance with international quality expectations
- essential role of students as partners in quality.
The Quality Assessment Framework will achieve UK ‘read-across’ through the following shared mechanisms:
- Shared degree standards, through the UK-wide Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ)
- A strengthened external examining system
- A shared approach to the quality-related elements of the Baseline Regulatory Requirements
- The Register of Higher Education Providers, with discussions underway between HEFCE, HEFCW and the Department for the Economy (Northern Ireland) to move towards a more UK-wide approach
- The ability of Welsh institutions to participate in the Teaching Excellence Framework, if they wish.
The framework includes:
- regulated institutions providing annual assurance to HEFCW in relation to quality
- external assurance for institutions on the quality of provision against the baseline requirements. The QAA has also been asked to review overseas provision.
- External Quality Assurance Review – Frequently Asked Questions.
- Annual review of data, student views and other information. Institutional risk reviews
- Triennial assurance visits by HEFCW to regulated institutions, which will include a focus on quality. These will inform Council institutional visits, other HEFCW visits and our assurance processes.
These elements of the framework will also inform the annual fee and access planning process.
The interlinking of the elements is provided below:
We will address concerns relating to quality and standards through our procedures for handling complaints against institutions.
Institutions in Wales who are not currently regulated but wish to apply for a Fee and Access Plan to become automatically designated for student support purposes will need to undergo a gateway review.