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Tertiary Quality Project

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Our ambition is to make Scotland an outstanding place to learn and educate – now and for the future. Our purpose is to sustain a world-leading system of tertiary education that enables students and staff to flourish, and which changes lives for the better.

The Scottish Government agreed to the SFC Review of Coherent Provision and Sustainability recommendation to explore the development of a single tertiary quality framework for Scotland’s colleges and universities. Following the first phase of the work, undertaken in AY 2021-22, we committed to developing a common approach to assuring and enhancing quality in the tertiary sector, with the right flexibilities to support sector needs. This work has culminated in the development of Scotland’s Tertiary Quality Enhancement Framework (TQEF).

What is the vision that Scotland’s Tertiary Quality Enhancement Framework will underpin?

Our vision is for a more coherent and streamlined tertiary education system from the student perspective that delivers the best learning experience for students.

What is Scotland’s Tertiary Quality Enhancement Framework (TQEF)?

The TQEF is the proposed new quality assurance and enhancement framework for Scotland’s colleges and universities. It will comprise a shared set of principles, delivery pillars, and outputs that can be applied to the different contexts of our colleges and universities to give assurance on academic standards and the quality of the student experience, and ensure accountability for public investment in learning and teaching.

The TQEF is an evolution of Scotland’s enhancement-led approach to quality assurance and draws on the strengths of the college and university sectors’ existing arrangements. It will seek to answer the question ‘Is the provision delivered by Scotland’s colleges and universities of high quality and is it improving?’

Why a Tertiary Quality Enhancement Framework, and why now?

Scotland’s Tertiary Quality Enhancement Framework will:

  • Protect academic standards and enhance the student learning experience.
  • Ensure our quality arrangements continue to be fit for purpose to support innovation in learning and new more flexible models of delivery.
  • Help create seamless pathways for learners and support more students to achieve positive outcomes.
  • Support more effective collaboration across colleges and universities, removing barriers to the sharing of innovation and learning, thereby promoting tertiary collaboration, where institutions wish to do so.
  • Foster a shared learning community leading to a common language and culture around learning and teaching across the tertiary system.

Wider educational reforms, particularly following the Muir and Withers reviews , mean now is the optimal time to progress this educational reform across the system to secure enhanced alignment and coherence.

Karen Gray, the newly appointed Assistant Director, Access, Learning & Outcomes, reflects on her involvement in the project and the benefits that having a new tertiary quality enhancement framework will bring to students and institutions.

Scotland’s Tertiary Quality Enhancement Framework (TQEF)

What are the principles and how were they developed?

The principles will be the foundation on which quality assurance and enhancement will be based and are designed to put students at the heart of the TQEF in Scotland. They were initially developed during AY 2021-22 as SFC started engaging with our sectors and stakeholders to explore options for how the tertiary approach to quality assurance and enhancement could be developed. These initial discussions were used as a basis for creating the principles, which were further refined and developed during the co-creation workshops in AY 2022-23.

Frequently Asked Questions

We know that many people will have questions about Scotland’s Tertiary Quality Enhancement Framework, how it has been developed and what the plans for the future are. To address some of these, we have created a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for reference.

The Project

How SFC is organising the project

For more information

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SFC Strategic Plan 2022-27

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

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