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Learning and Quality

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We invest in education that gives learners a high-quality learning experience and supports them to succeed in their studies. This investment provides opportunities for students to not only participate in life-long learning, but equips them to flourish in employment, further study and to lead more fulfilling lives.

SFC has a statutory responsibility to ensure the quality of fundable provision across Further and Higher Education in Scotland’s colleges and universities. We also support polices that promote the continuing quality assurance and enhancement of Learning and Teaching in Scottish colleges and higher education institutions.

We work to secure quality learning and teaching provision, protecting and enhancing the student learning experience, and ensure quality assurance processes are robust and transparent and support confidence in standards.

The future of learning and teaching – digital/blended learning

The Scottish Funding Council identified the design and delivery of an effective and inclusive digital/blended offering as its Tertiary Enhancement Topic in its guidance on quality for 2022-23. It asked Scotland’s quality agencies to work together on a report which laid the foundations for providing the most effective and inclusive mix of digital and traditional learning.

The report and accompanying summary report are based on external review work undertaken in colleges and universities by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA Scotland), Education Scotland, College Development Network (CDN) and sparqs.

Learner engagement

Colleges and universities should involve and engage learners in their quality activities. The Student Engagement Framework for Scotland sets out the expectations and features of student engagement in Scotland.

Student partnerships in quality Scotland (sparqs) is the SFC-funded national development service for student representatives. sparqs works to support learners, students’ associations and institutions to improve the effectiveness of student engagement in quality. It also provides SFC with advice on student involvement. Further information is available on their website.

Quality enhancement of learning for staff

We believe that staff development has an essential part to play in developing a culture of high quality and continuous improvement in every college and university.

We ask the College Development Network (CDN) to provide various services to support quality enhancement of learning and teaching. We have an annual funding agreement with CDN.

Advance HE supports the professional development of individual staff and universities. It supports communities of practice through subject centres and contributes to national policy.

 

Quality in Scotland's colleges

Overview

SFC has a statutory responsibility to ensure the quality of further and higher education provision in Scotland’s colleges. Since the publication of the Review of Coherent Provision and Sustainability in June 2021, we have worked closely with Education Scotland (ES), QAA Scotland, part of the UK-wide Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA), and the wider college sector to develop a new quality framework for implementation in AY 2024-2025.

SFC Guidance on Quality 2022-23 and 2023-24

SFC continues to meet its statutory duty to secure provision for assuring and enhancing the quality of college funded provision, during the development period, through SFC Guidance to colleges and universities on quality AY 2022-23 and AY 2023-24 which informs Scotland’s colleges and universities of refreshed quality arrangements for AY 2023-24.

College Quality Arrangements 2016 - 21

Under the Quality arrangements for colleges [PDF], introduced in AY 2016-17 [PDF], colleges produced annual Evaluative Reports and Enhancement Plans (EREPs), based on the How Good is our College? framework, which were independently validated by Education Scotland and SFC.

Colleges paused work on EREPs due to the disruption caused by the COVID pandemic but have continued to evaluate their performance and plan enhancements within their own processes.

College Sector Overview Report

SFC contracts Education Scotland to provide external assurance on quality and to support improvement in the college sector.

The College Sector Overview Report was commissioned from Education Scotland by SFC, and the AY 2022-23 report is now available.

 

Quality in Scotland's universities

Overview

SFC has a statutory responsibility to ensure the quality of higher education provision in Scotland. SFC also supports polices to promote the continuing quality enhancement of learning and teaching in Scottish higher education institutions, and the engagement of the university sector in Scotland with the UK Quality Code.

SFC Guidance on Quality 2022-23 and 2023-24

SFC continues to meet its statutory duty to secure provision for assuring and enhancing the quality of university funded provision, during the development period, through SFC Guidance to colleges and universities on quality AY 2022-23 and AY 2023-24 which informs Scotland’s colleges and universities of refreshed quality arrangements for AY 2023-24.

Quality Enhancement Framework

For 20 years the Quality Enhancement Framework (QEF) was Scotland’s distinct enhancement-led approach to quality assurance, with a focus on continuous improvement, partnership working and student engagement. We have developed the key principles and characteristics of the QEF to underpin the co-development of the new tertiary quality framework.

The partners of the QEF were: SFC, QAA Scotland, who managed the key elements of the framework, Universities Scotland, NUS Scotland and (sparqs).

There were five interconnecting components of the QEF:

The five elements of the QEF collectively provided public assurance about the security of academic standards and the quality of learning opportunities at Scottish HEIs.

Discover Uni

Discover Uni is a joint initiative of the UK higher education funding and regulatory bodies to provide an official and independent source of information about undergraduate higher education programmes.

The online resource uses official statistics about UK HE courses taken from national surveys and data collected from universities to better inform student choice.

National Student Survey

The National Student Survey (NSS) is an annual survey of students across the UK.

The survey gathers opinions from students about their time in higher education, asking them to provide feedback on what it has been like to study on their course at their university/college.

NSS is a joint initiative of the four UK HE funding and regulatory bodies.

The results of NSS 2023, and previous years’ surveys, are available on the Office for Students (OfS) website.

SFC Strategic Plan 2022-27

Building a connected, agile, sustainable tertiary education and research system for Scotland.

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