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The Quality Assessment Review Steering Group (Note 2) has today published a discussion document which aims to stimulate wide-ranging discussion and debate on the broad purpose, principles and parameters of any future arrangements. 

The aim is to develop innovative approaches that are risk-based, proportionate, affordable, and low burden. Any new arrangements must build on established strengths and good practice, including institutions’ own robust quality assurance systems, and reflect the values and cultures of higher education. They will also need to demonstrate value for taxpayers’ and students’ money. 

The views of universities and colleges, students, employers, and others with an interest in higher education will be crucial, and their views will be listened to and considered carefully. 

The second stage of the review, in summer 2015, will address more detailed options, design and implementation issues.  It will be for each funding body to decide how to proceed once the discussion and consultation are complete.

Notes

  1. In October 2014, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the Department for Employment and Learning Northern Ireland (DEL), and the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) announced that they were to undertake a joint review of quality assessment arrangements. The Scottish Funding Council in partnership with Universities Scotland and NUS Scotland will be separately reviewing the approach to assessment of quality for Scottish universities in a parallel process on a similar timescale. The four UK funding bodies have agreed to share findings and views. 
  2. The Steering group comprises representatives from the UK higher education sector including the National Union of Students. It is chaired by Professor Dame Shirley Pearce CBE.