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Tertiary Education and Research (Wales) Act 2022

Chapter 2 – Quality Assurance and Improving Quality
General quality assurance functions
Section 50: Quality assurance frameworks

153.Subsection (1) gives a power to the Commission to produce and publish a quality assurance framework or frameworks. A quality assurance framework is a document setting out information and guidance on policy and practice relating to the criteria and arrangements for assessing or inspecting the quality of tertiary education and training. It may outline the roles and responsibilities of Estyn and the designated quality assessment body in conducting quality assurance, as well as the roles and responsibilities of tertiary education providers and others regarding the quality of tertiary education, and consideration of the views of students about the quality of tertiary education they receive.

154.Frameworks may also set out guidance and information regarding the professional development of the tertiary education workforce and provide information and guidance on any other relevant matters related to quality assurance.

155.The Commission is required to consult with registered tertiary education providers, Estyn and any other stakeholders as the Commission sees fit before publishing, revising or withdrawing a quality assurance framework document (subsection (4)).

156.Estyn, the designated quality assurance body and the Commission will be required to take account of the quality assurance framework in their work (subsections (5) and (6)).

Section 51: Duty to monitor and promote improvement in the quality of regulated tertiary education

157.This section imposes a duty on the Commission to monitor and promote improvement in the quality of education and training across registered and funded tertiary education providers.

Section 52: Advice and assistance in respect of quality of tertiary education

158.This section gives the Commission the power to issue advice and guidance to any funded or registered provider to support quality improvement of the education, course or training provided. In particular, the Commission may provide advice and guidance to tertiary education providers to improve the quality of the education provided, or to prevent the quality of the education, course or training from becoming inadequate. This would be the case where the quality of the education, course or training does not meet the reasonable needs of the learners.

Section 53: Reviews relevant to quality of tertiary education

159.This section gives the Commission the power to carry out a review of any matter relevant to the quality of tertiary education and training. The Commission may arrange for these reviews to be carried out on its behalf.

Assessment of quality in higher education
Section 54: Assessment of quality of higher education

160.Subsection (1) requires the Commission to assess, or make arrangements to assess, the quality of higher education provided by each registered tertiary education provider and by those providers offering higher education provision on behalf of providers registered with the Commission. The duty applies to the assessment of higher education relating to the provider’s category of registration (subsection (2)). In addition, subsection (3) gives the Commission the power to assess, or make arrangements to assess, the quality of higher education provided by any tertiary education provider.

161.The Commission must publish the reports of these assessments (subsection (4)).

162.The Welsh Ministers may by regulations require assessments to be carried out at specified intervals and to publish the reports of these assessments within a specified period (subsection (5)). The Welsh Ministers must consult with the Commission before making such regulations (subsection (6)).

163.In this Part of the Act, references to an external provider relate to those providers who are responsible for providing all or part of a course of higher education on behalf of registered providers, but who are not registered providers in their own right (subsection (7)). The Welsh Minister may make regulations about who should be treated as an external provider (subsection (8)).

Section 55: Action plans following assessments under section 54

164.Following a quality assessment and published report, the registered provider providing the higher education, or the registered provider on behalf of which the higher education is provided, must—

  • prepare a written statement of its planned actions to respond to the report and the timescales to address these planned actions, and

  • send the action plan statement to the Commission and to the designated body (if the designated body carried out the assessment) (subsection (2)).

165.The provider must also publish the action plan statement (subsection (3)).

166.Compliance with the requirements in this section to write and publish the action plan statement is to be treated as an ongoing registration condition for registered providers for the purpose of the enforcement powers of the Commission in section 39 (directions) and section 41 (de-registration).

Section 56: Exercise of higher education assessment functions by a designated body and Schedule 3 - Assessing higher education: designated body

167.Schedule 3, introduced by subsection (1), sets out further detail as regards:

  • the designation of a body to conduct the assessment functions under section 54 on behalf of the Commission,

  • oversight of the body by the Commission, and

  • provision for the body to charge fees.

168.The Commission will not normally be expected to conduct the assessment functions if it has designated a body to conduct these assessments on its behalf but will retain the power to do so (subsection (3)).

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