Examples of good practice

Please find below examples of good practice highlighted in Internal Quality Audit reports.

School of Life Sciences, May 2019

  • The Panel commended the School for its delivery of its 5 year Strategic Plan, including significant expansion, growth and portfolio development across the audit period.
  • The Panel commended the School's research development and success over the audit period.
  • The School's commitment to ongoing reflection and refinement of its offer, both in terms of programmes and research, was clearly evident to the Panel.
  • The School's collaborative working with the Foundation Year Centre was commended by the Panel. This included the role of the Foundation Year Link Tutor, the School's work to ensure that students feel like part of the School from the outset, and the positive working relationships between School and Centre staff.
  • The Panel commended the School's clear commitment to its students including (a) involvement of Student Voice Representatives, both in listening to their feedback and acting on it, but also proactively involving them in e.g. programme design and development; (b) student facing documentation is of a very high standard; (c) the School clearly gives students at all levels every opportunity to be successful on their chosen programmes.

School of Politics, International Relations and Philosophy (SPIRE), June 2018

  • The Panel commended the collegial ethos that was clearly evident within the School. Academic and professional services staff work together collectively in positive ways for the benefit of the School as a whole. The Panel also noted the extensive contribution of School staff to both the Faculty and University.
  • The School’s clear commitment to its students at all levels of study was commended, in particular the support provided to students and the successes of the School in enabling students to succeed in the face of adversity. The roles of the Senior Personal Tutor and Independent Tutor were considered examples of good practice, along with the group tutorials for personal tutees.
  • The Panel was impressed by the School’s commitment to developing students’ employability skills. In particular, the module “The Practice of Politics” was appreciated by the students. This provides the School with a good basis to expand employability activity to include more students.
  • The research clusters within the School were considered by the Panel to be exemplary. The School’s commitment to research and research output, particularly with limited resources, were commended.
  • The School’s use of continuous assessment, including formative assessment and activities such as portfolios, were commended by the Panel.

School of Medicine, March 2018

  • The Panel commended the culture of education and learning that is clearly present within the School. Staff in all areas are highly reflective and constantly striving to improve, even in areas where they are already very strong.
  • The School’s comprehensive approach to staff development, including the expectation for all staff to engage in staff development opportunities, was commended. This is particularly pertinent given that some staff within the School are not based at Keele.
  • The School’s professional and social commitment, notably the desire to bring the best people into the medical profession and make a difference to society as a whole and not just Keele, was commended by the Panel.
  • The Patient Safety Review Group was considered to be an area of exceptional practice, providing an example to students of the ways in which patient safety is embedded in practice. The Group also demonstrates what can be achieved when you have such good relationships with key stakeholders.
  • The quality of undergraduate student assessment and feedback, including the new approach to assessment being developed by the School, was considered an example of good practice.
  • The Panel commended the School’s holistic approach to curriculum design, including the School’s understanding of core curriculum design and constructive alignment.
  • The School’s innovative practice in the use of the “purple pen” for students to write prescriptions which are then checked by a supervising clinician was recognised as sector-leading.
  • The Panel commended the extensive student support mechanisms in place within the School.

Foundation Year Centre, November 2017

  • The Panel wished to commend the Centre for maintaining the highest professional and academic standards during a very difficult period in terms of student growth and resourcing difficulties. In addition to this, the Panel wished to express its recognition of the huge value that the Foundation Year programmes bring to the University in terms of overall student number, particularly in the Faculty of Natural Sciences.
  • The Panel highlighted the clear commitment of staff to students, particularly in terms of pastoral care, and also the commitment of the staff group to each other and the clear teamwork ethos that is in place.
  • The desire to deliver and the actual delivery of an authentic university experience for students was evident from discussions with both staff and students.
  • The use of attendance monitoring for pastoral care and the effective systems in place for this were considered examples of good practice. The Centre was urged to feed this good practice into the University review process.
  • The “Academic Development” module was considered outstanding by both the students and the external advisors.
  • The Panel commended the Centre on its use of a wide range of innovative assessment types, which are more than fit for purpose for students on the Foundation Year programmes.

School of Computing and Mathematics, November 2017

  • The Panel commended the School for their Athena SWAN bronze award and urged colleagues to build on the good practice that was already in place with regard to equality, especially with regard to senior appointments.
  • The excellent relationships with students as evidenced by student feedback, module reviews and the School’s NSS results were commended.
  • The School was commended on the excellent use of module feedback in terms of the actions taken to respond to this and the fact that this is made available to all students across all programmes, clearly showing the value placed by the School on responding to this feedback.
  • The innovative teaching methods used within the School, in particular the use of technology to enhance learning was commended.
  • The Panel noted the school’s outstanding use of student data to understand trends and deliver improved student outcomes.
  • The School was commended on its clear commitment to outreach and widening participation work, including the ways in which this is linked to the curriculum e.g. opportunities for students to do a school placement.
  • The enthusiasm and commitment of staff, including the clear commitment to disciplinary excellence and engagement with teaching was commended as a key strength of the School.

School of Psychology, September 2017

  • The Panel were impressed by the School’s commitment to outreach activities and the extensive links that had been made in this area.
  • The School’s commitment to developing the employability of all students was commended.
  • The embedding of psychological literacy within the School’s programmes, enabling students to apply their knowledge in a wider context, was considered an example of innovative practice.
  • The Panel commended the use of reflective practice and the focus on the development of the person as a key strength of the Counselling programmes.
  • The Panel commended the use of research informed teaching on the Psychology programmes and the involvement of students of all levels in research.
  • The use of innovative and varied assessment methods, including the use of formative assessments, was noted.
  • The School’s systems for responding to feedback received from the National Student Survey (NSS) through the use of focus groups was highlighted as an example of good practice.
  • The School was commended on the positive relationships that evidently exist between staff and students, and the clear sense of community that has been established.

School of Social Science and Public Policy, July 2017

  • The Panel were impressed by the School-wide practices around the use of technology. Examples of this included the move to electronic marking and the setting of minimum requirements for the KLE. It was evident that there were clear decision-making processes regarding this at School level and that these decisions had been communicated effectively to colleagues
  • Colleagues within the School showed a clear commitment to respond to the changing external environment. Examples of this were the responsiveness of the PGCE programmes to a rapidly changing environment and the negotiation of the Social Work teaching partnership.
  • The Panel commended the School’s effective use of “between level inductions” in Sociology and Social Work. An example of this is a session for Year 2 students on the difference between Year 1 and Year 2. The panel saw this as an example of best practice which should be rolled out more fully across the School.
  • The efforts undertaken by the School to expose students to employability related opportunities such as the use of guest speakers, external visits and the use of practitioners, was considered particularly noteworthy by the Panel.
  • The use of social media as a means of communication and marketing, particularly by the Criminology and Sociology programme teams, was considered an example of best practice.
  • The feedback given to students was praised by the Panel. It was noted that extremely positive comments regarding this area, particularly on “developmental feedback” had been received from external examiners.


School of Pharmacy, May 2017

  • The Panel were impressed by the range of stakeholder engagement in the School’s programmes. Current students, alumni, employers and industry representatives are involved in the programmes in a variety of ways. Stakeholder engagement takes place both within and beyond the health sector.
  • The Panel commended the School on their approach to learning and teaching, specifically their willingness to exploit learning technologies to maintain a position at the forefront of pharmaceutical education. The School’s approach of embedding technology within programmes to enhance learning was considered outstanding.
  • The collegial approach within the School, including the integration of students into the Keele Pharmacy community, was commended by the Panel. The parallel achievements in developing cohort identity while providing excellent individualised support for students were noted. This is reflected in the School’s outstanding scores in the National Student Survey (NSS) and the dramatic rise in the number of students graduating with First Class Honours degrees. The collegial approach is present throughout the student journey, from pre-application to alumni.
  • The support provided to international students by the School was commended. The School’s efforts to support its international students are reflected in the results achieved by the students.
  • The Panel commended the School on its use of targeted feedback that is clearly aimed at increasing and enhancing student performance.
  • The School was commended on its embedding of the Keele Approach to Education into all programmes. The preparation for practice, employability skills and awareness of lifelong learning of students were of particular note.
  • The School’s commitment to providing high quality, meaningful placement opportunities to students, both within and outside the taught curriculum, was commended by the Panel. The take-up of such opportunities outside the taught curriculum was considered to be particularly commendable.
  • The Panel commended the School’s commitment to outreach activities and working with students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Of particular note was the School’s investment in the promotion of science generally to younger school cohorts. 
  • The unique features within many of the School’s programmes were commended by the Panel. Examples included the use of the Health Cinema and other digital applications to support and enhance student learning, the unique BSc Pharmaceutical Science, Technology and Business programme, and the way in which Postgraduate students could take a specific modular programme tailored to their needs.

School of Law, March 2017

  • The Panel were impressed by the clear dedication of staff in the School to providing a positive experience for students and constantly striving to improve. The cohesiveness of the School was very apparent from discussions with staff.
  • The Panel commended the CLOCK initiative as an outstanding example of good practice. It aligns teaching, research, employability skills and graduate attributes in a tremendously positive way. The promotion of “active citizenship” and contribution to the University strategy made by this initiative were also highlighted.
  • The Panel commended the School’s structure around staff support and opportunities for Continuing Professional Development (CPD), including the supportive atmosphere for all staff and the clear commitment shown by the School to staff well-being.
  • The Panel commended the high quality programmes offered by the School and the fact that these complied with the requirements for students wishing to enter the legal profession but also provided students with a balanced curriculum.
  • The Panel noted the high quality of feedback provided to students, which was particularly evident from the reports provided by External Examiners.
  • The Panel commended the School for the effective links it has made with alumni and the use of alumni to support and enhance a variety of teaching and co-curricula activities.
  • The Panel noted the School’s commitment to embedding technology within all aspects of teaching and learning.

School of Health and Rehabilitation, July 2016

  • The Panel praised the high levels of support, both academic and pastoral, that were provided to students by the School. This is reflected in the high levels of student attainment across the cohort, including international students, and the high levels of satisfaction reported in the National Student Survey (NSS).      
  • The Panel were impressed by the clear focus on learning and teaching within the School, including the range and use of formative and summative assessments. The availability and choice of assessments available at Level 7 was of particular note.
  • The Panel commended the School’s structure around staff support and opportunities for Continuing Professional Development (CPD), including the procedures in place for peer review of teaching and the School’s highly effective use of the SPRE process to identify staff development opportunities.
  • The School was commended for their preparation of students to engage in practice in their relevant clinical areas.

Language Learning Unit, September 2015

  • The Panel praised the LLU’s student-focused commitment to excellence and innovation, in particular the excellent use of technology in support of learning and teaching. Both External Advisors’ reports praised the use of blended learning and the extensive and creative use of the KLE for online quizzes, grammar tests and assessment, online submission, electronic feedback, discussion boards, online progress tests, etc. 
  • The use of a compulsory initial diagnostic assessment for all non-native English speaking students to ensure they are given the correct recommendations for further language support.
  • The adoption of a ‘process approach’ to writing development which allows students to submit plans and drafts and improve them based on feedback and reflection.
  • Recognition of the student’s achievement with the introduction of the enhanced degree title from 2015-16. This is both motivating and rewarding for the student and should help prospective employers understand the student’s level of linguistic ability and cultural awareness.

School of Physical and Geographical Sciences, June 2015 (now Geography, Geology and the Environment and Chemical and Physical Sciences)

  • The Panel praised the School's excellent pedagogical research evidenced in the range of external and internal awards and grants for innovation in learning and teaching, which clearly informs practice and which is now brought together in a new Annual Away Day.
  • The Panel was impressed by the School's integration of the Distinctive Keele Curriculum and the Graduate Attributes into the curriculum, particularly at postgraduate taught level. The Panel also commended the School for its partnership with the Student Learning Team.
  • The Panel noted the innovative and consistently high quality of feedback to students.
  • The School was commended for their achievement in gaining a silver Athena SWAN award, despite challenges in the subject staffing structures.
  • The Panel commended the culture of a student-focused approached, including the research-led teaching, but also recommended that the School keep its teaching commitments under review in light of its general research needs.

School of Humanities, September 2014

  • The Panel praised the School's innovative approaches to learning and teaching. In particular, the School is commended for the work being done in some areas to embed research-led teaching into the curriculum and for the clear and purposeful focus on employability.
  • The work that some parts of the School do to develop novel applications of technology, both as an aid to learning and as a means through which students can engage with the School was felt to be particularly good.
  • The Panel was impressed with the examples of jointly taught modules that bisected programme and subject discipline boundaries.
  • Students commented on the warm and positive relationships they enjoyed with the School's staff. The Panel noted the dedication shown by staff in ensuring the academic and pastoral wellbeing of the School's students.
  • It was noted that the School enjoys positive and fruitful relationships with the wider community outside Keele. The work that the School undertakes in terms of community outreach and the linkages it is able to make with local employers was considered a particular area of good practice.

School of Nursing and Midwifery, February 2014

  • The Panel recognised the exemplary and high quality support that the School offers to its students. It was particularly notable that the School strives to tailor support to the specific needs of each student.
  • The development of 'celebration seminars' to give focus to the achievements of BSc Clinical Practice students, who complete the programme well in advance of a graduation ceremony, was felt to be particularly commendable.
  • The excellent, collegial working relationships that the School has with its clinical placement providers and facilitators were welcomed. In particular, the work that the School does to involve clinical mentors in the development of the programme and assessment practices was noted as being very effective.
  • The Panel felt that the School is very good at responding to student issues. It was particularly notable that the School has developed robust systems enabling them to 'close the loop' on matters raised by students.
  • The School is to be warmly congratulated on achieving nationally outstanding rates of student retention and National Student Survey scores.
  • The wide variety and innovation in learning and teaching methods employed across the School's provision was considered to be excellent. In particular, the Panel commended the widespread use of formative assessment across the School's programmes.
  • The School's work to develop and facilitate a strong peer-mentoring system was felt to be very impressive. The Panel noted that many elements of the School's system had been implemented across the rest of the University.

Keele Management School, September 2013

  • The Panel recognised that the School has been at the forefront of the University's internationalisation strategy. The way in which colleagues had engaged with this challenge was felt to be commendable, as it had paved the way for developments in other parts of the University.
  • Throughout the programme review reports of the External Advisers, and in discussions with the Panel, an impressive number of examples of good practice in learning and teaching were identified. The Panel hopes that mechanisms will be established for these to be shared and adopted more systematically across the School. Examples included:
    • innovative teaching and assessment methods, notably the role-playing assessment in the Human Resources Management programmes;
    • the manner in which many subject groups had been able to embed a distinctive and meaningful balance of practice-based and critical/theoretical material throughout their curricula; and
    • the considered use of placements and study visits embedded into the postgraduate programmes in Management.
  • The sustained work undertaken by multiple Academic Conduct Officers to develop and enhance systems, processes and strategies relating to academic integrity. In particular, the Panel commended the work that had been done in addressing issues relating to plagiarism and academic misconduct through early assessments.
  • The work undertaken by the learning technologist to develop a template for KLE modules was found to be particularly distinctive. The Panel hopes that, as a result, a consistent level of engagement with the KLE can be achieved across all programmes and modules.
  • The Panel noted the careful and comprehensive approach that the School had taken to support the remaining cohorts following the decision to withdraw the Actuarial Science programme.