The College of West Anglia

QAA – UK Quality Assured

Higher Education Review: The College of West Anglia

The Quality Assurance Agency is the independent body responsible for assuring the quality of higher education in the United Kingdom and the HE Review provides a definitive judgement which is determined against the relevant criteria of the UK Quality Code for Higher Education.

In May 2015 the UK Quality Assurance Agency published the outcomes of their detailed review of Higher Education at the College of West Anglia.

QAA HE Review: Judgement

The QAA Judgement on the standard and quality of higher education provision at the College of West Anglia is that:

  • The maintenance of the threshold academic standards of awards offered on behalf of degree-awarding bodies and/or other awarding organisations meets UK expectations.
  • The quality of student learning opportunities at the provider meets UK expectations.
  • The quality of the information produced by the provider about its provision meets UK expectations.
  • The enhancement of student learning opportunities at the provider meets UK expectations.

This public review of higher education provision is intended to inform potential students and stakeholders about the academic standards and the quality of the student learning experience and the relevant student support mechanisms at the College of West Anglia.

Good practice

Good PracticeThe QAA HE Review team identified the following features of good practice at the College of West Anglia:

  • The systematic engagement with professional, statutory and regulatory bodies (PSRBs) in land-based programmes which contributes positively to the design of student learning opportunities and employability.
  • The central higher education support team, which is highly effective in meeting the needs of a diverse higher education student population.
  • The development of a student-led cross-College higher education student representative group, which contributes to the enhancement of their educational experience.
  • The strategic engagement with employers, which enhances learning opportunities for students.

Affirmation of actions taken

The QAA affirmed the following actions which the College of West Anglia has implemented to secure academic standards and improve the educational provision offered to students:

  • The steps being taken to develop a tailored training and development programme for higher education staff.
  • The steps being taken to further develop the role of student representatives to enable them to engage as partners in quality assurance.
  • The development of a new process to oversee effective management of information for higher education students.

Theme: Student Employability

As part of the HE Review the QAA evaluated the college’s approach to develop student employability and found that:
“The college has good strategic engagement with employers and is able to use its links with these and other local groups such as the Chambers of Commerce and the Local Enterprise Partnerships to enhance the development of employability skills for its higher education students. This is partly through the development of specialised vocational curricula, such as in the land-based and technology subject areas, and through the involvement of employers in work-based learning and work placement activities. Staff at course level maintain good links with local employers and this further enhances student learning through the use of guest speakers and opportunities to attend external events and participate in internal activities involving employer representatives.”

Further explanation of the Higher Education Review process and procedures is detailed in the QAA review

Recommendations

As a part of the continuous improvement process which underpins the Higher Education Review the QAA made the following recommendations to the College of West Anglia:

By June 2015:

  • formalise Assessment Board processes for Pearson provision.

By July 2015:

  • develop a policy to ensure that staff teaching on higher education programmes are appropriately qualified.
  • review and fully implement procedures for institutional oversight of Pearson external examiner reports to ensure effective and timely responses to issues raised.

By September 2015:

  • ensure all Pearson requirements for the management of quality are clearly identified, disseminated and implemented, including the development of contextualised definitive records for Pearson programmes.
  • make Pearson external examiner reports available to students.
  • put in place more formal controls to ensure all annual monitoring reports are robustly reviewed at course level.
  • review and fully implement the procedures for annual monitoring to ensure institutional oversight of Pearson programmes.

The full report from May 2015 is available here.

HE Review Action Plan – August 2015

This is to confirm that the college has reviewed the outcomes of the QAA Higher Education Review in full and has published an Action Plan detailing approaches and actions which will be pursued to ensure that the quality of higher education at the College of West Anglia remains at a consistently high level.

David Pomfret
Principal & Chief Executive
The College of West Anglia
Monday 17th August 2015

This HE Review Action is updated at regular intervals – the full text is available here