Quality Assurance Agency Higher Education Review

The University of Northampton’s Strategic Plan for 2015-20 (Transforming Lives + Inspiring Change) has at its core the delivering of a student experience of the highest value.

The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) for Higher Education is an independent body which is entrusted by the Government to monitor and provide advice on standards and quality within UK Higher Education.

A prime mechanism by which QAA carries out its role in relation to the above is Higher Education Review (HER). The overall aim of QAA HER is to inform students and the wider public whether or not a provider of Higher Education meets the expectations set down in the QAA UK Quality Code.

The University of Northampton underwent its most recent HER between 19 and 22 October 2015. The University was visited by an HER Panel consisting of four QAA reviewers from other UK Higher Education Institutions (including a student reviewer) and an HER Review Manager provided by the QAA. During the course of the visit the Review Team met with a range of academic and professional services staff as well as students from across the University’s provision. Prior to the visit the University submitted a Self-Evaluation Document (SED), a Student Written Submission (SWS) and supporting evidence.

The QAA Review Team judged that the University of Northampton met all UK expectations in relation to academic standards, the quality and enhancement of its student learning opportunities and the quality of information about its learning opportunities.

The Review outcomes identified the following areas of good practice:

  • The programme design workshops, which include comprehensive engagement with a wide range of stakeholders and support innovation in curriculum design (Expectation B1).
  • The wide range of, and integrated approach to, development and support for academic staff, including those at delivery organisations (Expectations B3 and B10).
  • The extensive range of extra and co-curricular initiatives to enhance students’ employability and social entrepreneurship skills (Expectation B4 and Enhancement).

The Review affirmed the following action that the University is already undertaking to enhance the learning opportunities of its postgraduate research students:

  • The steps being taken to provide training for all postgraduate research students engaged in teaching activities (Expectations B3 and B11).

The Review made the following two recommendations for improvement:

  • Ensure Learning Outcomes for intermediate awards are positively defined (Expectation B1).
  • Establish University-level oversight of, and address, progression rates at delivery organisations (Expectation B10).

An Action Plan in response to the findings of the HER has been produced and was approved by the Senate meeting of 16 March 2016. The Students’ Union President confirmed approval of the HER Action Plan by the Students’ Union Education Committee on 22 March 2016.

You can download the QAA HER of the University of Northampton (October 2015) Report and the University of Northampton HER Action Plan.


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