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Directorate of Governance and Legal Services

Programme Review

Programme Review is a core University process that assesses the quality and performance of programmes of study against internal and external expectations and requirements. These include the requirements of our regulator, the Office for Students (OfS). Where necessary, it makes recommendations for enhancements or other interventions. It also allows the sharing of good practice within and between the Faculties.

Programme Review is changing, with effect from spring 2024. We are moving to a risk-based approach of continuous monitoring and enhancement. This will reduce burden where we are assured a programme is running well, but also allows for agile and targeted interventions where there is a cause for concern or an opportunity for enhancement.

The revised OfS Conditions of Registration on quality, reliable standards and positive outcomes for all students (the “B Conditions”) set out specific requirements for programme design and delivery. We must not only meet those requirements but be able to readily evidence that we are doing so. Programme Review will also support the implementation and monitoring of internal initiatives such as the Queen Mary Education Approach (ACE), Principles of Programme Design and the forthcoming Assessment Strategy.

What is the new process?

The new process is agile and risk-based and will rely on schools and institutes continuously engaging with relevant procedures, activities and data sets, considering those through a specific quality assurance lens, with reference to the internal and external expectations, and providing satisfactory assurances to the Faculty (and in turn to the University) that those expectations are being met.

In summary, the process will operate as follows:

  1. schools/institutes engage with the usual range of educational activities and datasets linked to programme management, explicitly considering them through a quality assurance lens.
  2. at two census points each year the school/institute completes a concise pro forma report confirming completion of these review activities, highlighting areas of risk or of good practice, and identifying actions to address areas of risk. This will be submitted to the Faculty.
  3. following discussions with the schools/institutes, the Faculty gives formal assurance to the Education Quality and Standards Board (EQSB) that it is confident in each of its programmes, and identifying any concerns, planned actions, and examples of good practice.

Potential outcomes of Programme Review, determined by the Faculty and the EQSB, will be:

  • No areas of concern: the provision will be reviewed again at the next census point.
  • Scope for enhancement: targeted recommendations will be made to enhance the provision. This could include signposting to resources and support to enhance alignment with one or more University, Faculty and/or school/institute strategies, in line with the needs of the discipline. The Queen Mary Academy will play a particular role in supporting alignment with the Principles of Programme Design, graduate attributes, and the Assessment Strategy.
  • Potential concern identified: targeted, proportionate interventions to explore and address the concern or risk will take place in dialogue between the school/institute, Faculty, and other teams as appropriate. Action plans to address the potential concern will be developed, and cross-team support provided. Progress will be monitored by the Faculty and reported to the EQSB.

Programme Review is also intended to identify and share good and innovative practices. A digest of examples of good practices will be compiled at Faculty and University level and shared widely. Examples may come from any programme, irrespective of the overall review outcome.

What do schools and institutes need to do?

Schools/institutes should expect to complete review activities in the Spring 2024 and Autumn 2024 periods. In this first round of review activity the exact focus of the review and the ways in which schools/institutes will complete it will vary slightly to best fit the local context (while achieving the same outcomes).

Within the school/institute, the Education Committee is responsible for managing programme review.

Education Committees should actively engage with the usual range of education activities, processes, and datasets, critically reflecting on how each programme aligns with internal and external regulations and expectations. The ways in which each school/institute monitors and records this may vary provided that they provide adequate assurance that those expectations have been met or exceeded through a pro forma report to the Faculty. Examples of relevant activities and datasets include:

  1. programme and module structures and of developments made/planned;
  2. admissions data and student numbers;
  3. student outcomes (progression, award, classification, continuation) and other exam board outputs;
  4. external examiner feedback;
  5. data and action plans on:
    • academic misconduct and integrity;
    • appeals, complaints, and disciplinary cases;
    • cases where a suspension of regulations has been required.
  6. student voice data, including SSLC minutes and the results of external and internal surveys;
  7. (re)accreditation by any Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Bodies (PSRBs);
  8. alignment with the relevant QAA Subject Benchmark Statements

All of these datasets and activities should be considered in terms of how they align with internal and external regulations and policies, notably including the OfS B Conditions of Registration (including B3, on student outcomes, which is metrics-based), the Queen Mary Education Approach (ACE Approach), the Principles of Programme Design and the forthcoming Assessment Strategy.

The University may also commission thematic reviews at times within the Programme Review process, asking schools/institutes to reflect on a particular process or activity to assess or inform policies and practices.

Review and consideration must take place at the level of each programme of study, rather than of the school/institute’s provision overall. It should include longitudinal consideration of the performance of different programmes and of different student groups on those programmes.

Programme Review is an ongoing process, and different activities and datasets should be considered at different points in the year, as they take place or become available. It is not expected that these should all be reviewed at once.

The Business Intelligence Tool (Power BI) remains a key tool in managing Programme Review, and should be used as a primary data source, especially where data relate to student numbers and outcomes. Please continue to use the existing APR (Annual Programme Review) app in PowerBI. If you need access or have questions about the data, please contact the Strategic Planning Office:   

What support is available?

At University-level, Programme Review is coordinated by the Academic Quality and Standards Team in Governance and Legal Services (DGLS). They can be contacted at

At Faculty-level, the Education teams, including the Deans for Education and Faculty Education Managers (or equivalent roles) will be key contacts.

The Queen Mary Academy will be closely involved in Programme Review, and offers a wide range of support, especially where a need for intervention or scope for improvement is identified. This can include support embedding the Principles of Programme Design, addressing assessment practice and help embedding graduate attributes. The Academy can be contacted at

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