How we monitor approved education institutions

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Please note that we have appointed The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) as our new education quality assurance service provider. Their contract is scheduled to start on 1 September 2024. We are in the process of planning transition arrangements between our outgoing provider, Mott MacDonald, and the QAA and will update these webpages in due course. Read more here

As part of our quality assurance (QA) process, we monitor approved education institutions (AEIs) and their practice learning partners to make sure that they continue to meet our standards.

New programme monitoring

All newly approved education providers and pre-registration programmes must go through an initial period of new programme monitoring.

Annual self-reporting

AEIs must submit an annual self-report to show how they, along with their practice learning partners, continue to meet our standards and requirements.

They also need to let us know how they’re addressing and managing ongoing issues and concerns.

For more information about this, please see our webinar where we share key themes and feedback from this year’s Annual Self-Reporting analysis. It includes how we’re responding to the information and provides an update on this year’s upcoming report submission, including thematic questions we’ll be asking.

Data driven

We take a data-driven approach to quality assurance, as detailed in our new QA framework, which means we focus on aspects of nursing, nursing associate and midwifery education and training differently in the areas where greater risk lies. 

We have a process for identifying information about risks that we receive from other sources, such as members of the public, nurses and midwives, students and other professional and system regulators.

We also work closely with other professional and system regulators to identify risks early, rather than waiting for a serious risk or event to occur.

Exceptional reports

AEIs and their practice learning partners must respond swiftly to manage and control risks appropriately as soon as they emerge.

They must report any risks to us by making an exceptional report.

We’ll take action when these risks are not being effectively managed and controlled locally.

Listening events

Where we identify concerns that our standards are not, or may not be met, our QA Board may decide we need to carry out a listening event. A listening event involves independent visitors meeting with students, practice learning representatives or a combination of both, to hear students' experiences of their programme and placements, and where practice learning representatives are involved, to hear about partnership working to support student progression. Each listening event is tailored to the specific concerns identified.

Monitoring visits 

Where we identify concerns that our standards are, or may not be met, our QA Board may decide we need to carry out a monitoring visit. This involves independent visitors undertaking a visit and documentary review. As part of the visit we meet with students, practice learning partners, people who use services and members of the academic team. Each monitoring visit is tailored to the specific concerns identified.

Enhanced scrutiny

As part of our new data-driven approach to quality assurance, we may place education providers and programmes under enhanced scrutiny, if we’ve identified potential concerns.

Extraordinary reviews

In some cases, we might need to carry out an extraordinary review of an AEI and/or practice learning partner.

This could be after an incident that presents a risk to public protection, the student learning environment or when an AEI is seen to be either unaware of an incident or not to have effectively managed its risks.

Monitoring reports

Where we undertake a listening event, monitoring visit or extraordinary review the visitors produce a report outlining their findings. The education institution has a month to supply any observations on the report.

Our QA Board then meets to consider the report from the visit, any observations made by the education institution and any other relevant information, before deciding on whether our standards of education are being met and next steps.

We have published below the reports from our recent events, and where requested to do so, the education institutions’ response:

Previous monitoring reviews

We held monitoring reviews under our pre-2018 QA framework to check that AEIs and their programmes continued to meet our standards.

View the results of pre-2017/18 monitoring reviews.