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Executive summary


1.   This is an update of the 2009 publication 'Policy for addressing unsatisfactory quality in institutions' (HEFCE 2009/31). The update is needed following the introduction of new arrangements for reviewing academic standards and quality in higher education institutions, known as institutional review, which came into effect for higher education institutions in September 2011.

Key points

2.   The principles and relevant procedures of the 2009 policy remain broadly in place. This update takes account of the new method of institutional review introduced by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education – in particular its grading system – which will trigger HEFCE’s policy for dealing with unsatisfactory quality.

3.   This policy update will apply to higher education institutions from 2011-12. For further education colleges (FECs) however, HEFCE 2009/31 remains in force.

4.   This policy will be reviewed more comprehensively in the future to take account of the new higher education (HE) environment, including the new system of review of HE in FECs.

Action required

5.   No action is required in response to this document.

Date: 19 December 2011

Ref: HEFCE 2011/36

To: Heads of universities in Northern Ireland, Heads of HEFCE-funded higher education institutions, Heads of HEFCE-funded further education colleges