Academic Quality in a Data Driven Environment and Working with the Quality Code

Friday 8th Mar 2019


As we fast approach the first anniversary of the launch of the Office for Students, the new regulatory landscape continues to be both familiar and unknown, but the role of Quality Management remains critical for the assurance of standards and continuous improvement of the learning experience for students. As Quality Managers and Leaders, we must be confident in their effectiveness and sustainability and this symposia offers and opportunity to consider their evolving role in the new ‘Outcomes Focused’ quality management environment.

Currently, there are two key strands of activity which dominate.  Firstly, the UK Quality Code was launched in November 2018 and now that all of the end of year celebrations have finished it is time to think seriously about how institutions work with the  ‘Expectations, Common and Core’  practices and advice and guidance. And secondly, as key metrics are used to assess the outcomes and success of students and in turn Higher Education providers, new working partnerships and models are being established between Quality and Information, Planning and Data teams.

These changes continue to radically alter the quality world of Higher Education and to help set the scene and spark discussions, we will be joined by Andrea Roberston-Begg of The University of Derby, Sarah Plumeridge, University of Brighton and Maureen McLaughlin, Head of Universities & Standards, from the Quality Assurance Agency for HE.

As ever, this QSN event offers the opportunity for us to get together in a constructive and supportive environment and we look forward greatly to welcoming new and returning delegates to our 2019 Spring Symposium at Leeds Beckett University.

Event Breakdown



10:00 Registration and refreshments
10:20 Welcome from QSN and Leeds Beckett University
10:30 – 11:15 Session 1:  ‘Academic Quality [and Continuous Improvement] during Uncertain Times’

Presenter: Andrea Robertson-Begg, University Quality Enhancement Manager, University of Derby

In the Higher Education Sector, we are operating in a very different world compared to the regulatory environment that provided the backdrop for the Browne Review in 2010. We have witnessed increasing marketization of Higher Education, the introduction of student’s loans in 2012, the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF), development of Higher and Degree Apprenticeships, the introduction of a New Regulatory Framework by the Office for Students (OfS) and the launch of the revised QAA Quality Code.

Increasing the responsibility of governing bodies for the standards and quality of their academic portfolios, widening access to H.E. and ultimately to significantly reduce costs. The Sector is now mandated to demonstrate to government, the tax payer, students and employers the value and role it has in educating, training and nurturing the talent for tomorrow’s Britain.

These changes pose specific challenges (and opportunities) for Universities and other HE providers, who over the years, have developed tried and tested governance and deliberative structures, quality management processes, and procedures. These are now in the spot light, like never before, where their effectiveness and sustainability are being questioned.

In 2016 the University of Derby moved from annual to continual monitoring as a mechanism for assuring the standards and quality of its academic provision. In 2017 we introduced digitization of this quality management process. This provided us with tools to collate and make use of big data, and provide a platform designed to flex to changing demands during these uncertain times.

11:15 – 12:00 Session 2:  Quality and Metrics: a revised approach

Presenter: Sarah Plumeridge, Head of Quality and Standards, University of Brighton

As metrics and benchmarks have emerged as a principal measure of teaching quality in the Higher Education landscape over the past three or four years, the world of quality management has been adjusting its focus. In this session, the University of Brighton will share the changes we have made to our annual monitoring process in order to be better prepared for internal and external demands. Working across organisational boundaries has been key to this.

Over the last 3 years, teams from Quality and Standards, Evaluation and Policy, Business Intelligence and Information Services at the University have worked together extensively to develop and deliver refreshed and refocused annual monitoring dashboards and reporting tools.  These changes have been aimed at focusing on core data, using a risk based approach for reporting, continuing to use qualitative evidence, and reducing the demands of the annual monitoring process. In addition, we have tried to better understand and align the relationship between evidence and action planning used in annual monitoring, the planning cycle, corporate performance indicators and of course TEF.

The story has not ended yet…but we’ll provide an overview of our experience to date including successes and challenges.

12:00 – 12:45 Lunch
12:45 – 14:15 Session 3: Working with the Quality Code

Presenters: Maureen McLaughlin, Head of Universities & Standards, Quality Assurance Agency for HE

  • Working with the UK Standing Committee for Quality Assessment and the wider Higher Education (HE) sector to develop and produce the new 2018 Quality Code
  • Highlighting core practises for universities to adopt; explaining how common practises can help HE providers enhance their quality provision
  • Outlining changes in the new Quality Code, emphasising student engagement, recruitment and widening access, programme design and development, and utilising external expertise
  • Exploring how new Degree Apprenticeships will impact on quality and standards assessment
  • Encouraging greater communication between HE providers and PSRBs

QSN members will have an opportunity to share views on and ask questions about working with the new Quality Code

14:15 – 14:30 Refreshments
14:30 – 15:15 Session 3: Working with the Quality Code continued…….
15:15 Feedback and final questions
No later than 15:30 Close and refreshments

Event Details

This event belongs to the following categories:
Event Begins:
Friday 8th Mar 2019

Event Ends:
Friday 8th Mar 2019

Event Venue

Cloth Hall Court, Leeds Beckett University
Cloth Hall Court,
Quebec Street,
0113 812 8555
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Cloth Hall Court, Leeds Beckett University

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