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Welcome to the Tertiary Quality Project

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 2021-22, we have committed to developing a common approach to assuring and enhancing quality in the tertiary sector, with the right flexibilities to support sector needs.

Learning and Quality

Why a common approach, and why now?

A common approach to quality assurance and enhancement 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.
  • 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 Review, mean now is the optimal time to progress this educational reform across the system to secure enhanced alignment and coherence.

Nichola Kett, Head of Quality Assurance and Enhancement at the University of Edinburgh, reflects on the commonalities between colleges and universities, that she helped to map, during her secondment to the Tertiary Quality Project.

What will the common approach look like?

Recognising that quality assurance in the college and university sectors has evolved differently, our proposed common approach can be expressed by a series of pillars, that have core shared aspects and some areas of potential difference (taking into consideration the individual context of each sector). It is an enhancement-led cyclical approach that will be based on the key principles, that continue to be developed and refined, through engagement with the sectors and other key stakeholders.

TQF common approach and key principles

The Project

Find out more about how SFC is organising the project to take this work forward.

Building evidence and mapping arrangements - Phase 1 (November 2021-June 2022)

Policy review and reflection - Phase 2 (July-October 2022)

Co-creation - Phase 3 (October 2022-present)

How to get involved in our work

If you would like to be involved, please contact us at