External reference points

Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA)'s job is to uphold quality and standards in UK universities and colleges. They guide and check the quality of teaching, learning and assessment in UK higher education, because they want every student to have the best possible learning experience.

The Office for Students (OfS) is the regulator for the higher education sector in England. It maintains a register of registered higher education providers and its primary aim is to ensure that English higher education is delivering positive outcomes for students – past, present and future.

The Higher Education Academy (HEA) are a national and independent organisation who champion excellent learning and teaching in higher education.

The UK Quality Code for Higher Education (the 'Quality Code') replaced the set of national reference points known as the Academic Infrastructure, with a complete version published in October 2013.

The Quality Code is used to assure the standards and quality of higher education in the United Kingdom. It is developed and maintained by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) through consultation with the higher education sector and is used by individual higher education providers to ensure students have the high-quality educational experience they are entitled to expect. It consists of a series of separate Chapters grouped in three parts.

The Quality Code structure:

  • Part A: Setting and maintaining academic standards
  • Part B: Assuring and enhancing academic quality
    • B1.  Programme design, development and approval
    • B2.  Recruitment, selection and admission to higher education
    • B3.  Learning and teaching
    • B4.  Enabling student development and achievement
    • B5.  Student engagement
    • B6.  Assessment of students and the recognition of prior learning
    • B7.  External examining
    • B8.  Programme monitoring and review
    • B9.  Academic appeals and student complaints
    • B10.  Managing higher education provision with others
    • B11.  Research degrees
  • Part C: Information about higher education provision

At Keele, the Quality and Academic Standards Sub-Committee oversees the University's engagement with the UK Quality Code for Higher Education, on behalf of the Senate.

Part A1: the following table is for mapping FHEQ levels against the previous Keele level descriptors

Keele Level

Sometimes at Keele  also referred to as

FHEQ Level

To be referred to as

Foundation Year

Level 0

FHEQ Level 3

 Level 3

Level  I

Level 1 or First Year

FHEQ Level 4

 Level 4

Level II

Level 2 or Second Year

FHEQ Level 5

 Level 5

Level III

Level 3 or Final Year

FHEQ Level 6

 Level 6

M Level

Masters Level

FHEQ Level 7

 Level 7

The University expects all programmes to reflect their relevant subject benchmark statements (where appropriate), this is verified at programme approval and revalidation.

Programme specifications exist for all programmes.