St George’s, University of London
Academic Quality Assurance Committee
Minutes of the meeting held on 10th November 2005
Mrs Kath Start (Chair) Dr Sandra Gibson
Mr Richard Bamford Ms Marina Logan Bruce
Ms Christine Bithell Mrs Mary Luckiram
Dr Adrian Brown Dr Penny Murphy
Dr Val Collington Mr Dave Stewart
In attendance: Derek Baldwinson and Caroline Dacey
Apologies: Professor Paul Andrews, Professor Mike Clemens, Margaret Harris, Professor
Pat Hughes and Professor Peter McCrorie
1.1. The minutes of the meeting of 28 June 2005 were approved.
2. Matters arising
2.1. Enhancing the support of external examining (arising from 2.2)
2.1.1. 16 completed questionnaires had been received in response to the survey aimed at finding
out which staff had recent external examining experience, and whether other staff within
SGUL feel prevented from external examining by a lack of familiarity with the function. 11
responses were from staff with recent experience. 5 staff indicated that they had no
experience; of the 5, 3 indicated that might wish to act as an external in the future.
2.1.2. It was agreed that the response rate had been disappointing, particularly in relation to
responses from experienced external examiners. It is important in the context of external
reviews by the QAA and others for SGUL to demonstrate its standards compare favourable
with those at other institutions. Feedback from SGUL staff employed as externals at other
institutions provides one means by which those comparisons can be made.
2.1.3. It was agreed that divisional teaching coordinators (and Heads of School in FHSS) would
be asked to collect and supply information about the external examining experience of staff
in the divisional or school.
3. Quality Manual (arising from 2.4)
3.1. The 6th edition of the Quality Manual had now been distributed widely within SGUL.
4. Membership and terms of reference
4.1. The Committee noted its terms of reference. With regard to membership, it was noted that
Professor Sean Hilton, the Vice Principal for Learning and Teaching is not currently an AQAC
member. When Professor Hilton had taken on the role in November 2004, he had declined an
invitation to join the Committee while he focused on the establishment of an important new role.
It was agreed that Professor Hilton would again be invited to join the Committee.
4.2. It was also agreed that the students currently represented on the Research Degrees Committee
would be invited to join AQAC. It was also agreed that errors in the membership list should be
5. Student issues for discussion
5.1. Richard Bamford reported that the year reps on the final year of the pre-registration nursing
programmes had asked if they could be more involved in SGUL committees. In response it was
noted that, because pre-registration programmes led to awards of Kingston University, pre-
registration nursing students are represented on KU course committees and, through their
sabbatical officers, on main KU committees such as Academic Board.
5.2. It was agreed that Kath Start would ask Maggie Spurway to meet with the final year reps to
discuss the ways in which the pre-registration nursing students are currently represented.
6. QAA Issues
6.1. Institutional Audit report
6.1.1. The final version of the QAA Institutional Audit report was received and noted. It was
further noted that SGUL would be asked to produce a report in a year’s time in which the
actions that had been taken in response to the report are summarised.
6.1.2. The report’s recommendation in relation to the increased circulation of review reports
(paragraph 189 i, P 38) might be difficult to address. The recommendation reflected the
view of the audit team that benefits would accrue if SGUL could disseminate more widely
the good practice identified during periodic reviews. Web-based publication of reports
would make them more widely available although staff may not actually read the reports.
Also the fact that the Validation and Review Committee is a standing committee with a
fixed and senior membership might inhibit the sharing of good practice. The involvement of
a larger pool of staff in review processes might provide a more effective framework for
sharing good practice.
6.2. QAA review of quality and standards of postgraduate research degree programmes
6.2.1. The operational description of the method to be used by QAA in its review of
postgraduate research degree programmes was received. It was noted that the review was a
one-off desk-based exercise aimed at assuring baseline standards in research degree
6.2.2. Institutions are required to submit an evaluative questionnaire to QAA by 10 February
2006. A draft questionnaire had been prepared by Caroline Dacey and Professor Andrews
on behalf of the Research Degrees Committee; the draft was now available for consultation.
The deadline for submission is such that the final version could not be signed off by full
meetings of Senate and AQAC. The chairs of these committees would be asked to take
chair’s action to approve the questionnaire before it is submitted to QAA.
6.2.3. It was noted that the statistical data on which the review is to be based is supplied by
HESA. The data relates to the period 1995-1997. The data is out-of-date and predates many
of the initiatives put in place by the Research Degrees Committee to improve retention and
completion rates. This has been a cause of concern for SGUL and other institutions.
6.2.4. AQAC members who wished to comment on the draft questionnaire should contact
6.3. Review of the Quality Assurance Framework
6.3.1. It was noted that HEFCE, Universities UK and SCOP are undertaking a review of the
Quality Assurance Framework (QAF) that QAA has been commissioned to implement. The
QAF includes institutional audits. Phase 1 of the review is now complete. The overall
finding of the review group is that the QAF is cost-effective and working well. A number of
improvements have been recommended. These include the replacement of Discipline Audit
Trails by a more flexible theme or subject based audit trail methodology; the continued
promotion of student participation in audits; and continued partnership between QAA and
other bodies with statutory or regulatory responsibilities for quality assurance.
7. Three year Quality Strategy 2006-09
7.1. A paper proposing that a small working group is established to prepare a draft Quality
(Enhancement) Strategy 2006-2009 for eventual approval by AQAC and Senate was received and
approved. It is expected that a draft strategy might be available for consultation in the spring term
and a final version available for formal approval in June 2006.
7.2. It was agreed that monitoring committee chairs would be asked to nominate two representatives
to join the working group. Professor Sean Hilton would be invited to chair.
8. National Student Survey outcomes
8.1. A table reporting the outcomes of the National Student Survey (NSS) was received. It was noted
that the survey, which relates to final year medicine students only, was carried out by IPSOS UK,
an independent market research agency, on behalf of HEFCE. It is understood that programmes
directly funded by the Department of Health were not covered by the survey. This was the first
such survey; the survey would be conducted annually in future years.
8.2. Richard Bamford indicated that students had been pleased with the results of the survey.
Approval ratings in most categories are very high and the overall rating of 4.2 for medicine is
above average for UK Medical Schools. The problem areas that had been identified – the
promptness and usefulness of feedback on assessment – are known problem areas and the
Students’ Union is working with the Cycle Groups and chief examiners to achieve improvements.
8.3. It was noted that Registry is to introduce a Student Satisfaction Survey. Registry is in discussion
with the Studnets’ Union regarding the design of the survey. It is intended that a pilot survey
involving first year GEP students will be carried out in 2006-2007.
8.4. It was agreed that the findings of the NSS had not been publicised very widely within the
institution and many staff would be unaware of the very positive outcome. It was agreed that
Academic Registrar would be asked to disseminate the outcomes to all staff in the institution.
Action: Hugh Jones
9. QAA Code of Practice on External Examining
9.1. A discussion paper that compared current practice at SGUL with the expectations of the revised
QAA code of practice on external examining was received. The paper suggested steps that SGUL
might take in order to further align its procedures with the expectations of the code. In response
to the paper, it was agreed that:
• The visiting examiners report form would be modified to allow visiting examiners to
comment on good practice,
• ‘Good practice identified by visiting examiners’ should be a standing agenda item for each
Board of Examiners meeting,
• Visiting examiners should be given a deadline in which to submit a report. This would usually
be eight weeks from the date of the meeting of the Board of Examiners,
• The Quality Manual should be amended so that its is clear that Boards of Examiners reach
collective decisions without the visiting examiner or any other Board member having
• Visiting examiners should not routinely be asked to sign pass lists other then to signify their
attendance at the Board,
• As a courtesy, visiting examiner reports should be acknowledged by or on behalf of the
• If a visiting examiner raised issues in his or her report that required a response, it would
continue to be the responsibility of the chief examiner/course director to prepare that
response. The Quality Manual need not specify the form that the response should take. A
number of methods are currently used: oral feedback to the next Board of Examiners meeting;
a single report addressing all issues raised by the team of visiting examiners and sent to all
examiners; a section in the annual programme monitoring report form. The chief
examiner/course director should have the discretion to adopt the method appropriate to the
9.2. The central arrangements for preparing visiting examiners for their role were discussed. At
present, a visiting examiner receives a range of documents from Registry on appointment. The
chief examiner or course director handles preparation at the programme level. It was agreed that
it would be timely to review the information supplied centrally so that a visiting examiner might
receive an Information Pack that is fit for purpose.
9.3. The advantage of developing a formal induction programme for visiting examiners was
discussed. It was agreed that visiting examiners were recruited on the basis of their expertise in
assessment and so their need for formal induction was limited. Visiting examiners might also find
it difficult to attend a training or induction session. Induction should therefore be voluntary and
9.4. A number of training sessions at the course level have been offered; a training programme in
relation to the new-style MB BS Final Assessment is being offered in February 2006. The best
features of course-based training and induction sessions might inform the development of the
10. Annual check on the viability of programmes
10.1. A draft procedure allow for the viability of programmes to be checked on an annual basis was
received and approved subject to the following amendments:
• The Validation and Review Committee should have the authority to recommend that a
programme is closed,
• The monitoring committee could either carry out the annual viability check when the schedule
for periodic reviews is being confirmed or when the annual programme monitoring report is
11. Periodic reviews
11.1. The schedule for periodic reviews was received. It was agreed that the review of the BSc (Hons)
Physiotherapy should be deferred until 2007/08 to allow the programme to be reviewed alongside
the BSc (Hons) Diagnostic and Therapeutic Radiography and to facilitate inter-professional
11.2. It was noted that a joint revalidation of the FdSc Health and Medical Sciences (Paramedic
Pathway) with the HPC is scheduled for 19 May 2006. Revalidation is required because the HPC
has reissued its professional standards for registered paramedics.
12. Report from the Validation and Review Committee
12.1. A report from the Validation and Review Committee summarising validation and review activity
in 2004-2005 was received and approved.
13. Health Professions Council
13.1. Correspondence with the HPC regarding the status of UoL/SGUL programmes leading to HPC
accreditation was received and approved.
14. Pg Cert Health Care Education
14.1. It was noted that the Pg Cert Health Care Education had been accredited by the Higher Education
Academy for the period 2005-2006 to 2007-2008. The accreditation is to registered practitioner
15. Minutes of monitoring committees
15.1. It was agreed that in future minutes of monitoring committee meetings would not be included in
AQAC agenda papers. Minutes would be posted on the Committees website so that AQAC
members could access them there and, if they wished, raise any issues emerging from the
monitoring committee minutes at subsequent AQAC meetings. Monitoring committee chairs
would also be invited to raise issues that had been discussed at recent monitoring committee
meetings if they wished.
16. Dates of future meetings
23 February 2006 at 2pm
1st June 2006 at 2pm
R:\General Committees\Academic Quality Assurance Committee\2005-06\feb 06\aqac minutes 10 Nov 05.doc
St George’s, University of London
Academic Quality Assurance Committee
Enhancing the support for external examining
The Higher Education Academy has recently carried out a programme of research and
development work aimed at improving the support given to external examiners and the function of
external examining. The Academy published its final report - Enhancing Support for External
examining – in September 2004.
The HEA report makes recommendations about actions that each university can take to expand
the pool of knowledgeable, experienced and competent people willing to act as external examiners
and to mediate the obstacles that prevent participation. Specifically the reports indicates that
each university should, amongst other things, review, evaluate and increase further the
opportunities they provide for developing the professional expertise of all their teaching staff in the
practice and principles of assessment because an increase in these opportunities will ultimately
underpin the expansion of capacity and capability of external examining.
AQAC’s response to the HEA research
AQAC agreed that development work should be preceded by a survey aimed at finding out which of
our staff have recent external examining experience and whether those staff would be willing to
contribute to a training programme for potential externals. The Committee also agreed that it
would be valuable to know whether we do have staff who are willing to act as externals but feel
prevented from doing so by a lack of familiarity with the practice and principles of assessment, or
with the external examining function.
A very brief questionnaire aimed at gathering the data envisaged by the Committee was devised
(appendix A). Staff were invited to complete to complete the questionnaire by an email on 22
September 2005 with a deadline for responses of 21 October. In view of the poor initial response
to the survey (16 responses were received), the questionnaire was re-publicised by divisional
managers and heads of school in January/February 2006. As a result, the number of responses
rose to 66.
A table of the responses is attached at appendix B. Responses are summarised by faculty below.
Faculty Responses UG Wants to be Wants training to be external
FHSS 33 25 4 5
FMBE 36 16 15 15
Narrative comments made by respondents
In completing the questionnaire, respondents made a number of narrative comments in relation to
factors which might prevent staff from acting as external examiners. A number of more general
comments about assessment needs and priorities were made. These are:
• Rates of remuneration do not reflect the time commitment and levels of professional
• Assessment cycles are common across institutions; SGUL staff may have internal roles
that clash with those of the institution contracting them as an external;
• SGUL can facilitate the role by releasing staff to take up training opportunities, to self-
develop and to fulfill the external examining role.
Assessment needs and priorities
Experienced externals and staff aspiring to take on the role in the future identified a number of
specific needs and priorities in relation to assessment generally and the external examiner
function. These are as follows.
• On line assessment (2);
• Expert forums developed for moderately well informed staff;
• New methods of assessment and their validity;
• International developments in assessment including international medical assessment
• Perspectives from educationalists and assessment experts,
• The specifics of the external examining role (3)
• Standard setting and blueprinting (2)
• ITC as an assessment tool
• University wide view on marking, moderation and assessment issues and how they
correlate with nursing
• Assessment of work-based activity
The Committee is invited to consider uses of the data collected as by means of the quationnaire
Secretary, Academic Quality Assurance Committee
Enhancing Support for External Examining
Job Title: ……………………………………………………….
1. Have you ever been an external examiner at another institution?
Yes ο …go to question 2
No ο …go to question 4
2a) Please give a brief summary of your external examining experience since 1995 on
Course Years of Institution Number of Period of
course students per appointment
2b) If you have experience of examining research degrees (i.e. MPhil or PhD) since 1995,
please specify the number of examinations you have conducted:
3. Would you be prepared to contribute to an internal workshop for members of
George’s staff wishing to be better prepared to act as external examiners at other
Please go to question 6.
4. Would you be interested in acting as an external examiner?
Yes ο …go to question 5
5. Would you benefit from additional training to take on this role?
6. Do you have development/training needs relating to assessment?
Thank you for completing this short questionnaire which should be returned to
Derek Baldwinson, Assistant academic Secretary (c/o Registry)
Enhancing the support for external examining - table of survey responses
Willing to be
Wants to be
Andrews BMS Y Y Y N
Bazira BMS N N Y Y N
Bennett BMS N Y N
Brown BMS N Y N Y Y N
Cartwright BMS N N Y Y Y
Cock BMS Y N Y Y Y N
Howe BMS N Y N
Johnstone BMS Y Y Y N
Kroll BMS N N N
Levick BMS Y Y N N
Murphy BMS N N Y Y Y
Nassiri BMS Y Y Y N
Winterbourne BMS N N N N N
Arulkumaran CDS Y Y Y Y Y Y
Bax CDS N N Y Y N
Carter CDS Y Y N N
Hayes CDS N N Y Y N
Hodgson CDS Y Y Y Y N
Michael CDS N N Y Y N
Pomeroy CDS N N N
Turk CDS N Y N Y N N
Walters CDS Y Y Y Y
Williams CDS Y Y N N N N
Baeg CHS/ED N N Y Y N
Child CVS N N N N Y N
Rajamanickam FHSS N N N N N
Jeffries FMBE N N n/a N n/a n/a
Bowman ME Y Y Y N
Finlayson ME Y N N
Hay ME Y Y Y N
McCrorie ME Y Y Y N
McGrath ME N N Y Y N
Neild ME N N Y Y N
Porter ME Y N N Y N N
Round ME N N N N N
Schoeman ME N N Y Y Y
Sedgewick ME Y N Y Y
Collington Midwifery Y N Y N
Aitken Nursing Y N Y Y
Armstrong Nursing Y N N N
Atkinson Nursing Y N Y N
Blair Nursing N N Y Y Y
Chu Nursing N N Y Y Y
Eberhardie Nursing Y N Y N
Ferguson Nursing Y N Y N
Gale Nursing Y N N N N
Hurst Nursing Y N N n/a
Ioannides Nursing Y N Y N
Mirza Nursing N N Y Y N
Mohammed Nursing Y N Y N
Podsiadly Nursing Y N N N
Pudner Nursing Y N Y Y
Tolley Nursing Y N N Y
Tong Nursing N N N N
Watt Nursing Y N Y Y N
Webb Nursing Y N N
Bithell Physiotherap Y N Y Y
Gee Radiography Y N N Y N
Jackson Radiography Y N Y Y
Lock Radiography Y N Y N
Morgan Radiography Y N Y N
Rogers Radiography Y N Y N
Byford SW Y N N
Lindsay SW Y N Y N
Martin SW Y N N N
Tompsett SW Y N Y N
Totals Y 41 16 26 19 20 13
Totals N 25 50 13 8 6 50
Y indicates that person will examine for the first time in 05-06
ST GEORGE'S, UNIVERSITY OF LONDON
ACADEMIC QUALITY ASSURANCE COMMITTEE
Three Year Quality Enhancement Strategy 2006-2009
1. At its meeting of 10 November 2005, AQAC agreed that a small working group
comprising representatives of the two faculties, students and the administration is
set up to prepare a Quality Enhancement Strategy for the period 2006-2009. It was
envisaged that the Strategy would contain the Institution’s detailed response to
issues arising from the QAA Institutional Audit of St George’s.
2. It was agreed that Professor Sean Hilton, as Vice Principal (Learning and Teaching),
should be invited to chair the group.
3. St George’s has constituted a Committees Review Group (CRG) to make
recommendations to Council and Senate about ways in which the committee
structure of the Institution can be strengthened. It is expected that the CRG will
recommend that a Learning, Teaching and Assessment (LTA) Committee, evolving
from the existing Educational Strategy Advisory Group (ESAG), be established.
4. Professor Hilton’s view is that the LTA Committee should, in partnership with AQAC,
have a role in reissuing the Quality Enhancement Strategy. For this reason, Professor
• that the drafting of the Quality Enhancement Strategy be put off until 2006-2007
when the new TLA committee will be formally constituted,
• work on preparing the response to the QAA Institutional Audit report should
• the Audit report should be scrutinised to separate comments and
recommendations that relate to quality assurance (and are the responsibility of
AQAC) from those that relate to enhancement (and are the responsibility of LTA),
• responsibility for responding to the enhancement related comments and
recommendations should be assigned to ESAG until the LTA committee is
established. ESAG will function as a shadow LTA Committee.
5. Attached to this paper is a table that lists all of the comments and recommendations
identified in the Audit report. The table indicates which committee or individual
should take the lead in preparing the response to the comment or recommendation
and (in certain cases) proposes a response.
6. AQAC is invited:
• to consider Professor Hilton’s recommendations in Paragraph 4,
• to endorse the separation of responsibilities set out in the attached table,
• to agree a process by which action planning elements of the table can be
7. St George’s will be asked to report to QAA on actions taken in response to the audit
report by 30 November 2006.
Institution Audit by QAA – draft action plan
Issue location Status in report Committee/person to Indicative response
1. Some aspects of procedures and their reporting, Para 30, p9 (& cross Comment CRG
especially for validation, make it difficult for AQAC reference to paras 39
to carry out its monitoring role fully and 48)
2. Lack of formal agreement to meet residual Para 32, p9 (& cross Comment AQAC DB to draft agreement
continuing needs of students in a partnership reference to para 133) for AQAC approval
being phased out
3. Standard validation procedures do not require Para 32, p9 (& cross Comment ValCom Add Sub Dean for Ed
input from technical services staff if a programme reference to para Tech to ValCom
has technical requirements 40/41)
4. Enhancement opportunities missed because of Para 34, p10 (& cross Comment ValCom/Shadow LTAC Publish reports more
the narrow circulation of validation and review reference to paras 39 widely; expand ValCom
reports and 48, 160, 189) membership
5. Outcomes not always discussed in relation to Para 38, p10 Comment ValCom Improved briefing for
FHEQ and benchmarks at validation ValCom (chair)/use
minutes to record
6. Annual report from VC ‘sketchy’ Para 38, p10 Comment ValCom/AQAC/Shadow Make better use of val
LTAC and review reports
7. Where conditions set at validation, not always a Para 39, p11 Comment ValCom Improved tracking of
time limit and time to fulfillment can be protracted conditions by
8. Limited circulation of reports, lack of explicit Para 39, p11 Comment ValCom/AQAC Improved briefing for
references to the academic infrastructure do not ValCom; more detailed
provide SGUL with full assurance that new report writing
programmes align with infrastructure
9. No variation in standard annual monitoring Para 44, p12 Comment AQAC Adapt guidance notes
arrangements for DL and on-line programmes that accompany APMR
10. No cycle for submission of monitoring reports Para 44, p12 Comment AQAC/Monitoring Ensure that cycle is
11. Limited circulation of review reports, set time limit Para 48, p13 Comment AQAC/ValCom See 4 and 5
12. No formal induction or preparation procedure for Para 51 and 54, p 14 Comment AQAC/Shadow LTAC AQAC to develop
externals information pack;
SLTAC to consider
13. Review and re-energise the Student Charter Para 63, p 16 Comment Academic Registrar Review and reissue
14. Clarify students’ roles in periodic review Para 64, p 16 Comment ValCom Develop guidance note
15. Programme handbooks to include consistent Para 65, p16 Comment AQAC/Course AQAC to develop a
information about student involvement in course Committees standard paragraph
matters (especially course committees)
16. Shift to partnership from paternalism in relations Para 68, p17 Comment Shadow LTAC Review arrangements
with students for involving students
17. Evidence from students and in the DAT that Para 73, p 18 Comment BSc Course Committee
students do not receive information on outcomes
arising from their comments
18. Not all modules evaluated effectively (evidence Para 74-75, p 18 (cross Comment BSc Course Committee
from DAT) ref to para 138)
19. Statistical analysis in annual programme Para 80, p 19 Comment AQAC/Course AQAC to adapt guidance
monitoring reports commonly focused on Committees notes that accompany
enrolment APMR form
20. SGUL doesn’t take an institutional overview of Para 80-81, p 19 Comment VP (TL)/Planning office Planning office to
aggregated progression and award data or improve availability of
compare student performance across and beyond data for comparative
SGUL purposes/VP to
21. Encouragement to extend peer review to all staff Para 87, p 20 Comment Shadow LTAC
22. Student dissatisfaction with study space and Para 103, p 22 (cross ref Comment ACLC
opening hours 144)
23. No formal mechanism for assessing whether a Para 106, p 23 Comment ExCom/ValCom More detailed
new programme will be adequately resourced consideration of
resource issues when
considered at validation
24. Academic (i.e. personal tutor) support variable; Para 109/110, p23-24 Comment Shadow LTAC/5 year Review
extend personal tutorial support into clinical years MBBS Course mechanisms/develop
Committee best practice
25. Lack of guidance and support , and H&S training Para 111, p 24 (cross ref Comment Heads/Divisional
for Intercalated students doing lab based projects para 142) managers for divisions
26. Programme handbooks not always clear about Para 112, p 24 Comment See 28
how feedback on assessment is provided
27. Lack of written feedback to students on assessed Para 114, p24 (cross ref Comment BSc Course
work for the Intercalated Degree; no transparency to para 141) Committee/Board of
in derivation of marks for ICA and exams; students Examiners
don’t receive first semester exam marks
28. All students should receive feedback on assessed Para 115, p24 (cross ref Comment Shadow LTAC
29. Introduce PDP for all students in 2005 Para 116, p 24 Comment Shadow LTAC
30. Develop performance monitoring data for WP Para 120, p 25 Comment Shadow LTAC
31. As postgraduate activities expand, strengthen Para 128, p 26 Comment Shadow LTAC
English language support
32. Look at innovative ways in which a small Para 127, p 26 Comment Student Support and
institution can provide support or students with Welfare Committee
33. No evidence that student performance data is Para 137, p28 Comment See 20
used at either the programme or institutional level
to monitor quality and standards (DAT)
34. Not all intercalated BSc modules are evaluated, Para 138, p28 Comment BSc Course Committee
concern that a new module had not been
35. Annual monitoring report for intercalated BSc Para 138, p28 Comment BSc Course Committee
doesn’t highlight good practice or have an action
36. Not all conditions resulting from review of Para 139, p28 Comment BSc Course Committee
intercalated BSc had been met
37. Examination of assessment papers revealed that Para 141, p 29 Comment BSc Course Committee
some were not considered to be appropriately
challenging or aligned to the learning outcomes
38. Intercalated BSc should follow SGUL guidelines on Para 142 p29 (cross ref Comment BSc Course Committee
module guides 149)
39. Issues raised by Intercalated BSc students in Para 143, p 29 Comment BSc Course Committee
module evaluation questionnaires not always
40. Suggest that Intercalated BSc team introduce a Para 143, p30 Comment BSc Course Committee
more transparent and open approach to gaining
feedback especially at the module level
41. Operational information such as minutes of key Para 151 p 31 Comment Planning office Develop and maintain
committees is often out of date committees website
42. consider whether the standard procedures and Para 189, p40 Advisable action ValCom/AQAC Chair/secretaries
arrangements for validation are adequate for point review arrangements on
making judgements on nonstandard programmes a case by case basis;
such as those delivered wholly by distance co-opt specialist
learning and those demanding a high level of members; invite
technical support (see paragraphs 32, 41, 50 and specialist departments
159) to comment on course
43. ensure that agreements are in place for all Para 189, p40 Advisable action ValCom Implement Quality
collaborative provision arrangements prior to point Manual on
recruitment of students (see paragraphs 32, 133 collaboration
44. consider how the wider institution can be assured Para 189, p40 Advisable action ValCom/AQAC See 5
through the validation and review reports of the point
Validation Committee (ValC) that it is discharging
its duties with regard to confirming alignment of
programmes with the Academic Infrastructure (see
paragraphs 39 and 165)
45. set time limits for conditions arising during the Para 189, p40 Advisable action ValCom/AQAC See 7
validation and periodic review of programmes (see point
paragraphs 39, 48, 139 and 165)
46. consider ways of ensuring that the institution’s Para 189, p40 Advisable action AQAC/Monitoring Implement Quality
intention, that all modules are evaluated by point Committees/Course Manual procedure
students, is fulfilled (see paragraphs 74, 75, 138 Committees
47. consider ways of ensuring that the institution’s Para 189, p40 Advisable action Shadow LTAC
requirement, that students on all programmes point
must receive feedback on assessed work, is
fulfilled (see paragraphs 114, 115, 141, 145 and
48. find appropriate ways of increasing the circulation Para 190, p40 Desirable action ValCom/ Shadow LTAC See 4
of the full version of review reports produced by point
the ValC in order to capture the enhancement
potential of periodic review (see paragraphs 35,
48, 161, 165, 167 and 184)
49. consider ways in which the institution can assure Para 190, p40 Desirable action AQAC/ Shadow LTAC See 12
itself that all visiting (external) examiners are point
receiving suitable briefing and induction upon
appointment (see paragraphs 54 and 168)
50. reflect on ways of enhancing the use of Para 190, p41 Desirable action VP (TL)/Planning office See 20
progression and achievement data to allow cross- point
institutional and inter institutional comparisons of
student performance (see paragraphs 81 and 169
51. ensure that the guidelines given in the Quality Para 190, p41 Desirable action AQAC/Monitoring Implement Quality
Manual on information to be provided to students point Committees/Course Manual
through module handbooks are: applied Committees
consistently across programmes; sufficient to
meet student needs; and subject to regular
monitoring (see paragraphs 142, 145, 146, 150
R:\audit (qaa) 05\Institution Audit by QAA - action plan.doc
TAUGHT POSTGRADUATE COURSES COMMITTEE
SUMMARY OF ANNUAL MONITORING REPORTS FOR 2004/5
Annual reports were received from most courses with active student enrolments in the year:
MSc Health Sciences
MSc Public Health
PGDip/MSc Addictive Behaviour
PGDip Forensic Mental Health
PGDip Respiratory Medicine
PGCert/Dip Breast Diagnosis
These reports were received and discussed at TPCC meetings held on 2 November 2005 and
8 February 2006.
No reports were received from:
MSc Forensic Mental Health
PGDip Addictive Behaviour (Distance Learning)
PGCert Health Care Education
These will be considered at the summer meeting of TPCC. The timing of this report cycle is
difficult as most courses have Board of Examiner meetings late in the year
(November/December/January) and do not have results to feed into a report approved by a
course committee in time for autumn/spring TPCC meetings.
There were a limited number of common items but issues raised in the reports are drawn
together in the sections below.
Commentary on recruitment, enrolment and induction
A number of courses are suspended or running out so applications were down on previous
years. For those courses still running applications for 2004/5 were at or above normal levels.
Recruitment for the only HEFCE-funded course (MSc Health Sciences) course was up on the
previous year with 26 students enrolled, although this was still below the target of 30. This is a
result of increased pressures on NHS staff from which the course primarily recruits. PGDip
Forensic Mental Health had above average recruitment in the year. Some courses were
closed to recruitment (MSc Public Health, MSc/PGDip Addictive Behaviour, PGDip/Cert
Respiratory Medicine, PGDip/Cert Breast Diagnosis) so numbers were inevitably low
consisting only of students from previous intakes who have not yet completed.
Course management and resources
There were few changes of staff during the year. PGDip Forensic Mental Health appointed a
new administrator during the year after the resignation of the previous post-holder. Some
changes of module leader were reported (MSc Health Sciences, PGDip Forensic Mental
Health). Professors Ellison, Wainwright and Whincup joined the Board of Examiners for the
MSc in Health Sciences.
A course review of the MSc/PGDip in Forensic Mental Health was held during the year and
this recommended allocation of additional HEFCE student numbers to underpin this course.
Feedback from students
There was evidence that this was collected regularly on all courses, although participation
from distance learning students in committee meetings is not always easy. Most courses
opted for end of module evaluations. Some more imaginative methods were also used,
including end of course oral evaluations, and mid-term evaluations. Most reports indicate that
students are in general satisfied with their programmes of study and find course staff
Assessment and re-assessment (including a summary of actions taken in response to
visiting examiner reports).
All courses had schemes of assessment in operation and Boards of Examiners which
included at least one visiting examiner. Visiting examiner reports were largely positive
although some small changes were suggested in some areas.
The MSc Health Sciences examination was badly disrupted by the London bombings on 7
July. A decision was taken to run a re-sit in October for the first time and all students were
given the opportunity to re-sit if they felt their marks had been affected by the disruption. Four
students ultimately failed the first year assessments and will be re-taking elements in 2005/6.
There continues to be a small number of failures in the dissertation element (1 in MSc Health
Sciences (first attempt) and 1 in MSc Public Health (second attempt)). This indicates that
there is a continuing challenge involved in getting students to understand the quantity and
quality of work required for these projects. Several diplomas were awarded to those unable to
complete MSc dissertations within the permitted registration period.
There were two instances of plagiarism on the PGDip in Respiratory Medicine. In one case
the offence was deemed sufficiently serious for the student’s registration to be terminated.
Course information relating to plagiarism was substantially revised as a result of these two
cases. There were also two cases of suspected plagiarism in the MSc Health Sciences but no
disciplinary action was taken in either case and the students concerned were able to re-
A number of distinctions were offered including one in the Diploma in Breast Diagnosis, 4 in
MSc Health Sciences and 6 in MSc Addictive Behaviour. A number of prizes were also
awarded to recognise excellent achievement. It is unfortunate that with the new graduation
arrangements students will have to wait until June 2006 to receive these. The timing of the
graduation during a weekday is also unfortunate given that all postgraduate students are
currently part-time and in full-time work and may find it difficult to attend.
Evidence was provided that all courses complied with the quality manual. Peer observation of
teaching was operated in a number of programmes. There were no comments about
postgraduate programmes specifically in the QAA institutional audit which occurred during the
A number of action plans were concerned with winding up courses and plans for protecting
the interests of remaining students during this process. PGCert/Dip in Breast Diagnosis has
now finished. Some students transferred to the KU Breast Evaluation course and others
completed with certificates or diplomas. Only one student remains on the MSc Public Health.
Students on the PGDip in Respiratory Medicine have been given until 2007 to complete.
Some students are transferring to a new MSc course offered by NRTC which is the
collaborating partner for the course.
Discussion at TPCC during the year was concerned about the continued build-up of
“backlogs” of students who have been unable to complete a dissertation within the period of
the taught course. New procedures for gaining ethical and other forms of approval for
research projects within the NHS were identified as a major factor in this build-up. Numbers of
deferred students on Certificate and Diploma courses were also noted as an issue for
There were few instances of good practice highlighted. These were restricted to use of a
dissertation handbook (MSc Health Sciences, MSc Addictive Behaviour) and inviting past
students back to talk about dissertation experiences (MSc Health Sciences).
ST GEORGE’S UNIVERSITY OF LONDON
ANNUAL MONITORING COMMITTEE REPORT TO AQAC
Programme reports considered by Faculty Quality Committee for the academic
• Dip/BSc (Hons) Healthcare Practice
• BSc (Hons) Diagnostic Radiography
• BSc (Hons) Therapeutic Radiography
• BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy
• FdSc Health and Medical Sciences (Paramedic Pathway)
On all programmes efforts are made to ensure that curricula remain current and well
attuned to student and workforce needs. Ongoing curriculum reviews involve clinical
colleagues and service managers, students and service users and carers. Employers’
feedback indicates that graduates and diplomates are appropriately prepared for their
roles in the health service.
BSc(Hons) Healthcare Practice is undertaking a formal review of all pathways (a
condition of validation in 2002)and mental health, child health and midwifery and
women’s health pathways have been reviewed and approved during the year. A self-
evaluation process was adopted in partnership with the SHA, clinical practice, service
users and students. In each case a revised module directory outlining module changes and
new developments was submitted for approval to Validation Committee and Senate via
Faculty Quality Committee. The assessment loading was revisited to ensure parity of
student effort across pathways. For other pathways, further modules were modified in
line with changing practice and market demand and Faculty Quality Committee has
monitored these changes, and advised module teaching teams before formal approval by
BSc(Hons) Physiotherapy delivered the revalidated curriculum across all 3 years, and
BSc(Hons) Diagnostic Radiography and BSc(Hons) Therapeutic Radiography delivered
their new curricula across Years 1 and 2. Steps have been taken to ensure that there will
be a joint HPC reapprovals process in 2007/08 to more closely align the three
programmes for shared learning wherever possible and appropriate.
FdSc Health and Medical Sciences (Paramedic Pathway) was in its first year of
operation. The pathway was developed in partnership with the London Ambulance
Service to provide an academic and vocational qualification route for paramedics, in line
with the QAA Paramedic Benchmark statement and delivered by flexible blended
learning methods. Students have been enthusiastic about the online elements of the
programme. In response to student feedback two changes have been made to programme
delivery: the face to face teaching of Preparatory Skills will now be delivered over a
more condensed period of time, making all the material available online for reference
when working on other modules; and the structure and architecture of the online
materials have been simplified for the 2005 intake. As the programme must be approved
by the Health Professions Council (HPC) but was first validated before the HPC was in a
position to give approvals, it is proposed to re-validate the programme, incorporating
changes in paramedic education at a national level, and feedback from students and the
Visiting Examiner, at a validation event attended by the HPC in May 2006.
Course Committees are responsible for the management and monitoring of all
programmes. In some part-time programmes it is difficult to ensure student
representation, but in others students play a full part. All Course Committees receive
reports from Visiting Examiners, feedback from Student/Staff Consultative Committees
and from the formal and informal evaluations of all modules. Course Committees
comment upon and approve Annual Programme Monitoring Reports before they are
submitted to FQC.
Visiting Examiners’ Reports
Visiting Examiners’ comments were generally very complementary and supportive.
Amongst many aspects of programmes commended were:
• High standards and consistency of marking across a wide range of assessment
• Theoretical underpinning of modules is closely integrated with development of
practical skills (Physiotherapy)
• Students are consistently offered a high level of feedback ( Healthcare Practice)
• The examination methods are balanced and appropriate including practice
elements where relevant ( Healthcare Practice)
• The assessment strategy for the course is rigorous and appropriate ( Healthcare
• The programme is well balanced (Paramedic Pathway)
• Blended learning is a bold and innovative move for paramedic education
• The degree programme is sound, producing competent knowledgeable
practitioners. The curriculum is contemporary and being continuously updated
• Teaching and learning methods are varied and appropriate (Therapeutic
• Innovative and varied assessments not only testing knowledge but facilitating
development of important skills such as producing posters, designing Powerpoint
presentations and preparing papers for conferences (Diagnostic Radiography)
• Good development of thought skills is apparent (Diagnostic Radiography)
All Course Committees considered Visiting Examiners’ reports in detail and made Action
Plans that were sent to Examiners, in some cases for the first time. Where appropriate,
action was taken and reported back to Course Committee and the examiner concerned.
Action Plans and Visiting Examiners’ reports were appended to Annual Programme
Monitoring Reports to FQC for overall transparency and monitoring purposes.
Teaching and Learning
Students on all programmes experience a very wide range of teaching, learning and
assessment methods in theory and practice, including clinical practice. The further
development of the Blackboard learning management system has enabled a greater
element of blended learning within formally traditionally delivered programmes and has
been an effective platform for the delivery of the Foundation Degree. Access to
Blackboard remains a problem for some students such as those who register in February.
Innovations in learning and teaching methods include:
• Structured online peer discussions enabling students to reflect on workplace
experience in light of theoretical discussion (Paramedic pathway)
• Poster presentations for final year students (Healthcare Practice, Physiotherapy)
• Peer-assisted learning including support for junior students in preparation for
clinical placements and through the medium of Blackboard discussion
• Inclusion of online formative and summative assessment (Radiography)
Peer review of teaching continues to be a supportive means of staff development in
learning and teaching practice.
All programmes have embraced the Widening Participation agenda with enthusiasm.
Students have taken part in the SGUL Student Ambassadors scheme and participative
open days have been held. All programmes have experienced an increase in the numbers
of students with dyslexia and other special learning needs which have been met from
within existing staff resources with consequent excessive demands on staff time. There
are inequities for Faculty students who are registered at St George’s as provision of
specialist assistance for those with dyslexia or English language tuition is much less
adequate than for those registered (and based) on Kingston University campuses.
Library and learning resources have been positively evaluated by students and staff and
accommodation was on the whole adequate to meet curriculum requirements. Although
students with special needs such as dyslexia or written English for academic writing were
catered for by a new post , this was created from within the School of Nursing budget.
Resources for other St George’s students do not yet reach adequacy.
Specialist facilities for Radiography and Physiotherapy teaching are of high quality, but
further equipment and resources for teaching and experimental research projects are
needed at Penrhyn Road for Radiography. Space for interprofessional learning and
teaching remains difficult. Lecture theatres that are large enough to accommodate a group
drawn from several programmes are in very short supply on all campuses, and sufficient
small rooms, all available at the same time, for group discussion are also difficult.
Classroom space on Grosvenor Wing and rooming in general has improved this year with
a wider range of rooms provided for teaching. Variability in the provision of audiovisual
equipment in unfamiliar rooms has been difficult at times.
STUDENT ENTRY AND PROGRESSION DATA
Considerable efforts were made to recruit to target for Radiography degrees and
applications and recruitment were again increased for Diagnostic Radiography in 2004
and in 2005 for Therapeutic Radiography also. Applications for Physiotherapy increased
by 13% in 2005, following a 15% rise in 2004. Both Radiography and Physiotherapy
invest a great deal of time in interviews with academic and clinical staff teams. The level
of BME representation in Physiotherapy remains a concern efforts are being made to
encourage more Black and Minority Ethnic students to apply.
Employer sponsorship is required for recruitment to FdSc Paramedic Pathway and
Diploma/BSc Healthcare Practice. Uptake of the FdSc was in line with London
Ambulance Service capacity needs. Selection of candidates to this degree is by
application form and joint interview. There was a slight increase in recruitment to
Diploma/BSc Healthcare Practice due to the increase in numbers on the Emergency Care
Practitioner pathway-specific award, Mentorship and Care of Older People pathway.
Students accessed Levels 2 and 3 in equal numbers. The higher number of Level 3
students on the General Pathway was due to the uptake of the Mentorship module.
Uptake of places commissioned by the South West London Strategic Health Authority
Workforce Development group was again closely monitored by the CPD Sub-Group.
Induction of students into the two institutions (KU and SGUL) is protracted over 12 days
for Radiography students who are based at Penrhyn Road but join the CFP at SGUL for
Term1. There is a need for more co-ordination of induction weeks between the two
institutions and harmonization of the start of term/semester dates would be helpful.
Student progression and achievement
Student progression and achievement was again satisfactory across all programmes and
the classification of honours degrees was as expected. Retention rates were again
improved in Radiography. While the overall pass rate for Healthcare Practice modules is
satisfactory compared with other similar programmes, the number of fails at the first
attempt is high. In order to meet the continued challenge, increased by the numbers of
NHS staff who are recruited from non-English speaking countries, pre-entry study skills
courses are provided and a new Learning Support Facilitator post has been created to
address this problem. There is an unacceptable degree of failure due to non-submission of
assessments on some pathways and this is being carefully monitored. Completion to
award rates were pleasing with increased numbers of students awarded degrees and
All action plans from previous years have been fully addressed and changes where
appropriate approved by the Faculty Quality Committee and the Validation Committee.
Following Major reviews in 2002 (Physiotherapy and Radiography) and 2004 (Nursing
and Midwifery) Action Plans were developed and remain under review.
AREAS OF GOOD PRACTICE
• Continuing involvement of service users and carers in curriculum development
• An imaginative range of assessment methods
• Identifying mentors before students begin a module
• Reorganization / development of pathways and modules to meet trust priorities
and service needs
• Development of a Clinical Liaison Meeting to provide feedback between Clinical
and Academic settings
• Further development of the role of Disability Coordinator
• Development of a Clinical Portfolio to enable students to identify their own
learning needs in clinical education.
• Development of an innovative blended learning model for healthcare education
• First post competencies are followed up annually
• Interview days supported by clinical colleagues and students enhance recruitment
Specific recommendations to AQAC on matters that should be followed up at
SGUL level include:
• Provision of adequate support for students with special needs eg dyslexia and EFL
• Co-ordination of induction weeks and academic year commencement between
SGUL and KU;
• Support for Interprofessional Education through provision of sufficient
appropriately sized rooms for teaching.
Chair, Faculty Quality Committee
16th February 2006
ST GEORGE'S, UNIVERSITY OF LONDON
ACADEMIC QUALITY ASSURANCE COMMITTEE
QAA draft guidelines on preparing programme specifications
Staff who had prepared a Programme Specification in the past were invited to comment, if they
wished, on the QAA draft guidelines.
A summary of individual comments follows:
Is there any available data regarding the current use of programme specifications (PS) by
prospective students and by employers? Are these groups attempting to use programme
specifications and, if so, is there available feedback on their usefulness?
Have prospective students and employers been involved in the consultation process so far? Is the
Programme Plus (PP) more likely to meet their needs than the programme specification?
There is an uncertainty as to whether the Programme Plus is simply a navigational or
presentational device to existing documents (such as the Programme Specification) or whether
there is an expectation that the content will be new and user-friendly. If the intention is that the
Programme Plus simply maps onto the programme specification (paragraph 13), it would not
address the issue that the PS is not tailored to the student/employer audience.
If the PP is a new document, the PS would no longer seem to have a place in the Academic
Infrastructure. In any case, for those institutions that do not use the PS for validation and review
purposes, it has little practical value.
The idea of providing cross-references and links to other documents will be complex to set up and
maintain. It would be simpler just to produce a single self-contained document from scratch if PP
is to be part of the Academic Infrastructure.
The proposal seems very sensible if it doesn't mean that we have to produce yet another
document, but rather that we tailor our programme specs document more carefully to what is
The question format seems superficial. Some (postgraduate) audiences might consider it
Some of the questions - financial support, employers' views – seem to reflect an emphasis on
undergraduate provision. Similarly questions on what graduates might do at the end of the
programme are largely irrelevant for post-experience courses where students are already in work.
Could some of the Enhanced Content questions be omitted if they are not directly relevant to a
With regard to student responsibilities, what level of detail is expected here?
A standard answer to the 'why study at this institution' should be prepared by relevant central
departments i.e. Registry, Development, Planning in consultation with senior academics. A
standard answer might be supplemented by Course Directors.