University Centre Weston Commended In Higher Education Review

Jeremy Plumley

Students and staff at University Centre Weston (UCW) are celebrating after the institution’s Higher Education provision was praised by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA).

UCW, the new name for Weston College’s Higher Education provision, received a “commended outcome” from the QAA – the top judgement possible – for the quality of student learning opportunities.

Reviewers from the QAA, which is England’s independent higher education assessor, were so impressed with how UCW delivers its university level provision that they made no recommendations for improvements, but did highlight four further areas where it is excelling.

According to the QAA, UCW demonstrates good practice in the use of student and employer involvement in the design, development and validation of its degrees; the effective processes in place to support higher education teaching practices; the professional and proactive approach of the higher education support team; and the close working relationship with its partner universities Bath Spa University and UWE Bristol.

QAA also confirmed that UCW’s academic standards, the quality of information about its learning opportunities, and the enhancement of its student learning opportunities all meet UK expectations.

As a result of such an affirming endorsement, UCW has been awarded the QAA Quality Mark – the signifier to UK and international students of universities and colleges achieving the national requirements for standards and quality.

UCW offers more than 35 foundation and top-up degrees, with its focus on career prospects demonstrated by 93 per cent of its learners being in further studies or employment within six months of graduating.

With 22 per cent of UCW students receiving First Class Honours Degrees, they made a vital contribution to the successful Review outcome.

The QAA inspection team of Professor Geoffrey Elliott from the University of South Wales, independent reviewer Mike Ridout and Diane Cleves, a student reviewer from Middlesbrough College, visited UCW in April 2016.

Dr Paul Phillips OBE, the Principal and Chief Executive of Weston College Group, said: “This is an excellent result and reflective of the dynamic team we have put in place at Weston College. While we were already aware of our high quality education provision, it is reassuring to have University Centre Weston recognised through the external rigorous review process that QAA have used. This is an excellent outcome for our students and staff, as well as our university partners.”

Anthony Murray, the College’s Vice-Principal for Higher Education, added: “This is a resounding success for Weston College, University Centre Weston, and our staff, students and partners, who can have the utmost confidence that we deliver an exceptional learning experience, and one that ranks amongst the very best. This continues our recent run of successes and gives us a strong platform from which we can position University Centre Weston during the next stages of our development.”