Response to QAA Educational Oversight Review consultation

QAA opened a consultation in March 2024 seeking views regarding the proposed implementation of a new review method developed to replace the existing methods for review and monitoring of private providers of higher education courses in the UK that do not receive direct annual public funding. 

The proposed new method - the Educational Oversight Review (EOR), with flexible elements to reflect the circumstances of different providers - was designed to unify divergent practices and update language and processes to better reflect contemporary higher education provision in the UK.

The consultation ran from 27 March 2024 to 7 May 2024.

Our response

While we view the proposed unification of the QAA’s review method as a positive step, our response highlighted key concerns, including the need for clarity, flexibility, and consideration of provider diversity in the implementation of EOR. 

We offered a comprehensive set of suggestions aimed at refining the proposed categorisation of providers, structuring of reviews, and monitoring arrangements. Key recommendations include clarifying eligibility criteria for Office for Students (OfS) registration, providing a more tailored approach and clearer guidance regarding Financial Sustainability, Management and Governance (FSMG) requirements, and ensuring flexibility in timelines to accommodate diverse provider contexts. Additionally, we advocated for consistent terminology in review judgments and an extended timeframe for producing approved action plans.

We also raised the following points on behalf of members:

  • Consideration of the potential increased workload for provider staff. 
  • The need for clear guidance on how providers are expected to evidence enhancement and align their practices with a new set of Quality Code principles.
  • Concerns over costs of QAA reviews. 
  • The usefulness of QAA communication with individual providers due for review to explain the moderations to the review system.

Read our full response using the download link below.

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