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Quality Assurance - Higher Education

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At South Thames College Group (STCG) we are keen to maintain and improve upon a culture of excellence and quality in all our practices to ensure our students' experience is set at the highest standard.  Our standards and quality code are set out below.

Quality Assurance - Higher Education

STCG is committed to a culture of quality assurance and uses the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) UK Quality Code for Higher Education to support the quality of all the higher education policies, practices and processes of the College Group. In addition, the College Group encourages a strong focus on quality improvement and sharing good practice.

QAA Higher Education Review Reports of the College Group

The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) has confirmed the quality and standards of the higher education provision at all the colleges of the Group: Kingston College, Carshalton College and South Thames College. QAA reviewers visited these colleges and judged the academic standards, the quality and enhancement of the student learning opportunities and the quality of information about learning opportunities as ‘meets UK expectations’.


  • QAA reports - Kingston College, Carshalton College and south Thames College
  • The College action plans produced in response to the Key Findings and the Review Reports are available to download at the foot of this page.  

Definition of the Quality Code

The College Group recognises the new Quality Code published by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) as the reference point for Higher Education Providers.

The Quality Code sets out the Expectations for Standards and Quality that all providers of UK higher education are required to meet.


The revised Code is based on three elements that together provide a reference point for effective quality assurance:

  1. Expectations which clearly and succinctly express the outcomes providers should achieve in setting and maintaining the standards of their awards, and for managing the quality of their provision
  2. Practices representing effective ways of working that underpin the delivery of the expectations, and will deliver positive outcomes for students. These include:
    1. Core practices that must be demonstrated by all UK higher education providers as part of assuring their standards and quality
    2. Common practices that will be applied by providers in line with their missions, their regulatory context and the needs of their students. These are practices common to the underpinning of quality in all UK providers but are not regulatory requirements for providers in England
  3. Advice and guidance which will help established and new providers alike to develop and maintain effective quality assurance practices.

High Quality

In accordance with the QAA’s definition, high quality is seen as quality which can consistently lead to credible and recognised positive outcomes for students. High quality is the minimum level of quality that is expected of all providers of UK HE.

What is the UK Quality Code for Higher Education?

Framework for Higher Education Qualifications

The College Group is familiar with, uses, and ensures a common understanding of both of the following frameworks:


  • The Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (FHEQ), published by the QAA.


The 'Framework for Higher Education Qualifications’ is a published formal structure that identifies a hierarchy of national qualification levels and describes the general achievement expected of holders of the main qualification types at each level, thus assisting higher education providers in maintaining academic standards.


  • The Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) for the Pearson Higher National Provision

Regulated Qualifications Framework. The Regulated Qualifications Framework(RQF) is the regulatory qualifications framework for England. Qualificationsaccepted for use by Ofqual are placed on the Register of Regulated Qualifications, with information on their level and size to indicate their position on the RQF

Subject Benchmark Statements -

A Subject Benchmark Statement is a published statement that sets out what knowledge, understanding, abilities and skills are expected of those graduating in each of the main subject areas (mostly applying to bachelor's degrees), and explains what gives that particular discipline its coherence and identity.

Programme Specifications

Programme Specifications are published statements about the intended learning outcomes of a programmes of study, containing information about teaching and learning methods, support and assessment methods, and how individual units relate to levels of achievement.

External Examiner Reports

External Examiner Reports and what the College does with these

All higher education programmes have external examiners appointed by our awarding bodies. These awarding bodies and the higher education provision of the College Group are expected to follow the Expectations and Core Practices of the UK Quality Code for External Expertise.  

External Examiners and processing the reports


Reports from external examiners are used extensively to monitor academic standards and to improve and enhance the quality of learning. Our responsibilities and actions, together with those of the awarding bodies are outlined in the following sections. Through working with the awarding bodies and the external examiners, the Group assures that the  

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