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Education Quality and Policy Office

 

On this page you will find further information about requirements the University must meet which are set by external bodies.  This includes accreditation standards and thresholds, and national requirements set by the Office for Students. 

In 2017, the Higher Education and Research Act established the Office for Students (OfS) as the higher education regulator in England. The OfS’s regulatory framework requires higher education providers to register with the OfS, and in order to register providers have to meet a number of conditions. Cambridge University registered with the OfS in July 2018. The OfS monitors whether the University meets conditions of registration on an ongoing basis by using lead data indicators, by evaluating changes or events reported by the University, and by considering student and whistle blower complaints. It will also use the results of random sampling of the quality of higher education – reviews by the Quality Assurance Agency.

 


OfS conditions of registration

The OfS has a number of conditions of registration that all courses of higher education are required to demonstrably align with for regulatory purposes. Those that most relate to education quality are:

  • B1: The provider must deliver well designed courses that provide a high quality academic experience for all students and enable a student’s achievement to be reliably assessed. (See note below about meeting the Expectations of the UK Quality Code)
  • B2: The provider must support all students, from admission through to completion, with the support that they need to succeed in and benefit from higher education.
  • B3: The provider must deliver successful outcomes for all of its students, which are recognised and valued by employers, and/or enable further study.
  • B4: The provider must ensure that qualifications awarded to students hold their value at the point of qualification and over time, in line with sector recognised standards.
  • B5: The provider must deliver courses that meet the academic standards as they are described in the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications at Level 4 or higher.
  • B6: The provider must participate in the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework.
  • C1: The provider must demonstrate that in developing and implementing its policies, procedures and terms and conditions, it has given due regard to relevant guidance about how to comply with consumer protection law.
  • E2.3: The provider must have in place adequate and effective management and governance arrangements to: Provide and fully deliver the higher education courses advertised.

Departments and faculties should ensure that they demonstrably comply with these conditions in the design, development, approval and delivery of programmes. Contact your EQPO liaison officer if you have any questions about (aligning with) the conditions of registration.

Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Bodies (PSRBs)

Faculties and departments may have links with the professional and/or statutory body for their subject area, for example: the General Medical Council (GMC) or Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE).  These bodies accredit and/or regulate these programmes for professional certification. 

Reports produced after visits from PSRBs provide useful feedback about teaching, learning and assessment and faculties and departments should act upon them n the manner specified by the PSRB. Faculties and departments should ensure that they have effective mechanisms for responding to reviews and keeping abreast of any new requirements of the PSRB introduced between visits.

Please send reports and responses to Jane Clare (jane.clare@admin.cam.ac.uk) at the Education Quality and Policy Office as soon as they are available.

The Education Quality and Policy Officers are happy to provide support to faculties and departments at any stage of the accreditation process; please contact us if you would like to discuss this further.


Quality Assurance Agency (QAA)

The QAA provides key reference points for design, teaching and review of programmes, consisting of:

The OfS regulatory framework specifies that when judging whether condition B1 is met, it will base its judgement on the extent to which higher education meets the expectations of the QAA UK Quality Code for Higher Education.

The OfS will continue to monitor whether the University meets conditions of registration by using lead data indicators, by evaluating changes or events reported by the University, and by considering student and whistle blower complaints. It will also use the results of random sampling of the quality of higher education – reviews by the Quality Assurance Agency.

When considering the University's management of quality and standards the QAA will draw upon these reference points to consider the extent to which the University uses and aligns with them in the setting and maintenance of academic standards, and in development, delivery and evaluating the education it delivers.  Review teams may seek evidence of compliance, and evidence that the University has considered the purpose of the reference points, has reflected on its own practices in the relevant areas, and has taken, or is taking, any necessary steps to ensure that appropriate changes are being introduced.

With respect to Subject Benchmark Statements and the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications, the University needs to bear in mind that the awards offered must be at the appropriate level. The General Board's Educational and Student Policy Section will check that this is the case for all new course proposals or revisions.  General Board reviews will also take the Quality Code and Framework for Higher Education Qualifications into account when reviewing faculties and departments.

QAA Institutional Review 2013

The most recent review of the University took place in March 2013. Copies of the report can be downloaded from the QAA's website.   Faculties and departments can also download the University's Action Plan responding to that review.