Withdrawing from Collaborative Provision Partnerships

Termination & Withdrawal

Either partner may initiate the termination of a partnership and/or programme, subject to the termination clauses set out in the contract. This may be triggered by changes in the regulatory operating environment, in the levels of demand for the provision, in its financial viability or due to irreconcilable differences over the management and operation of the partnership. All decisions to terminate or withdraw by the University require prior approval from UEC.

Upon termination of the agreement, the partner(s) will cease to operate the programme(s) except in respect of students already enrolled prior to the date the termination of the agreement comes into effect. Any decision to terminate an agreement must therefore be subject to satisfactory arrangements being made for existing students to complete their programme and be assessed for the award for which they registered. 

Teach out provisions must be conducted in accordance with the University’s Student Protection Plan. The following matters need to be considered and approved by the relevant FEC/University Postgraduate Research Committee and CAP prior to a contract being terminated:

  • The date at which the contract, and therefore the partnership, should end;
  • Confirmation of the final recruitment point;
  • Confirmation of who will communicate the decision to all internal and external stakeholders, including current students and applicants, and amend marketing communications;
  • A commitment to provide all enrolled students with every opportunity to complete their programme of study as approved wherever possible;
  • Agreement by the partner institution to maintain appropriate academic standards for students remaining on the course until the maximum registration date;
  • Teaching out responsibilities and arrangements.

Where a contract is of limited duration with a clear expiry date and where it is intended not to seek renewal of a collaborative arrangement at the time of the expiry of an existing agreement, and this constitutes the end of the University’s relationship with the partner organisation, the Faculty/School is responsible for communicating this to the partner and, using the Partnership Teach out Proposal Form, seek approval from FEC and CAP for the proposed teach-out arrangements. 

Teach-out

Any decision to terminate an agreement must be subject to satisfactory arrangements being made for existing students to complete their programme and be assessed for the award for which they registered. Such teach-out arrangements will be determined by agreement between Keele University and the partner and will require approval from the relevant FEC and CAP using the Partnership Teach Out Proposal Form before being recorded as a formal variation to the main contract.

Teach-Out will be closely monitoring throughout the term of withdrawal via the agreed committee, usually either a Joint Steering Committee or Teach-out Committee. It is important that students are notified and suitable arrangements are in place to manage the teach-out period, with the University keeping in regular contact with staff at the partnership institution.   

Cause for Concern

In the event that there is a serious concern regarding the quality or standards of the provision at a collaborative provision partner, the University has a Cause for Concern Protocol to manage potential risks to quality and academic standards. The protocol operates on a basis of transparency and openness. It is a key principle that the approach has to be phased and proportionate, beginning with an informal enquiry and only progressing to a full review where this is considered to be necessary in the light of evidence gathered.

The protocol may be invoked by the link tutor, an external examiner, a student or another stakeholder where there is reason to believe that the normal governance arrangements may not be able to address the issue with the urgency required or where a confidential or commercially sensitive enquiry may be necessary in the first instance. The Collaborative Provision Officer will work with the relevant School or Faculty to gather the evidence leading to the concern, which may be a highly critical external examiner report, student feedback of a serious nature, evidence of failings in standards not addressed within the course of one calendar year, data showing increasingly poor student retention, or cohort size not sufficient to sustain quality of student experience.

This will be presented to the Executive Dean and the Head of Academic Quality and Student Conduct. Together, they will determine a timescale for the key stages in the cause for concern process, including deadlines for an improvement plan. This is communicated to the partner by the Head of Academic Quality and Student Conduct and flagged at CAP, which will monitor the proposed improvement plan and receive a report from the School.