The validation event

Consideration of the proposal will be undertaken through
the analysis and discussion of the submission document
produced by the programme team. The documentation
submitted will be accompanied by the reports of any prevalidation
visits and evidence of monitoring and evaluation,
where appropriate.
The panel will seek assurances that there is a sufficient and
committed resource base to secure an appropriate delivery
of the provision, coupled with opportunities for staff
development. The panel will consider whether the provision
fits with the requirements of the associated Subject
Benchmark Statement(s), and will refer to the Framework for
Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ) in making decisions
about standards. The panel will also consider whether the
team have given due consideration to the needs of students
with learning differences. If there are identified shortfalls in
provision these may be addressed in conditions of approval.
During the validation process consideration is given to four
main themes:
• The rationale for the new programme and information
about the likely demand and student entry profiles
• The programme curriculum, its design, content
assessment and delivery, and its relationship to the
student experience on the award
• The appropriateness of the standards set for students
and the match with the title of the award
• The suitability of human, physical and other learning
resources to support the programme.
The core guidelines and additional considerations below and
overleaf detail the issues on which the panel will focus, in
order to assess the resource base and learning environment
in place for the delivery of the proposed provision.
Core guidelines against which judgements
are made
The following considerations for programme design are
adapted from the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) Code
of Practice. Development teams should be clear about how
these issues are being addressed in their proposal.
Validation panels should use these as discussion prompts
when evaluating new programmes, but avoid a mechanistic
‘tick-box’ approach. If any of the following considerations
have not been taken into account during the design
process this would indicate a significant gap in the
development of the programme.
1. Are the characteristics of the programme clearly
2. Is the proposal in line with the faculty’s learning and
teaching strategy?
3. Will the programme provide a good learning experience
for the likely student intake?
4. Will the curriculum prepare students for the
opportunities potentially available on completion of a
5. Is the programme designed to ensure that the overall
experience of a student has logic and an intellectual
integrity that are related to clearly defined purposes?
6. Is the intellectual challenge and value of the programme
defined at the correct level, and with reference to the
Framework for Higher Education Qualifications?
7. Has the programme team taken account, as
appropriate, of external reference points, including any
relevant Subject Benchmark Statement(s), Framework
for Higher Education Qualifications and the
requirements of Professional Statutory and Regulatory
Bodies and employers?
8. Does the curriculum impose an increasing level of
demand on the learner during the course of the
9. Is the programme balanced, for example in relation to
academic and practical elements, personal
development and academic outcomes, breadth and
depth in the curriculum?
10. Does the award title reflect the intended learning
outcomes of the programme?
11. Is it clear how the intended learning outcomes of the
programme will be promoted, demonstrated and
12. What has the team done to design and implement
e-learning into the programme?
13. Are the identified resources necessary to support the
programme and are they in place or committed?
14. Is the programme designed so that students are treated
equally, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, disability,
sexual orientation or religion?
15. Do programme learning outcomes feature career
management skills development?
16. Do placement learning outcomes contribute to the
overall coherence and integrity of the programmes,
where applicable?
Section 4: The validation eventOutcome of the validation
At the end of the validation, the panel must decide whether
it wishes to approve the proposal. The panel’s
recommendation will fall into one of the following
• Indefinite approval, without or without conditions and/or
required technical corrections, and/or recommendations
• Approval for a fixed period, with or without conditions
and/or required technical corrections, and/or
• Not approved – an invitation given to resubmit
• Not approved – recommendation that the proposal be
Indefinite approval, which is the standard length of approval,
is granted subject to the normal processes of ongoing
review and University protocols for the approval of
modifications to programmes.
A programme approved for a fixed period will require, at the
termination of this period, specified approval for its
continued operation and a revalidation event would normally
be necessary for this purpose. Fixed-term approval is
normally only identified where the programme or subject
area is new, or where there are concerns over the
sustainability of the market. For further guidance on this,
please refer to the statement on page 3.
For non-devolved validations, programmes are validated
indefinitely, subject to successful review at the next
collaborative review of the partner and programmes.
These issues must be addressed to the satisfaction of the
panel, normally before delivery of the programme can
commence or, in the case of a revalidation, to allow the
programme to continue in operation after a specified date.
When setting conditions, the panel must specify clearly
what is to be done, by whom and by when, and what the
arrangements will be for ensuring that the given conditions
have been satisfied. In certain instances, it may be
appropriate to set deadlines for some conditions that fall
after the planned start of delivery. An example of this would
be for the programme team to submit the learning materials
for year two of a distance learning programme in the latter
stages of the first year of delivery.
Required technical corrections (RTCs)
Items that are not serious enough to inhibit the
commencement of the programme, but that do need to be
addressed prior to it starting, such as changes required to
programme handbooks and technical corrections to
templates. If the panel chooses to identify the RTCs in
a separate list, provided by the servicing officer, this
list should be appended to the validation report.
These should be addressed by the programme team and
the programme management board(s) as part of
subsequent subject review and development. The
programme team is required to submit a formal
response to the recommendations to the panel as a
follow-up to the validation.
In addition to citing conditions and recommendations of
approval, the panel may also wish to identify key
observations arising from the validation process, to
include exemplary features and examples of good practice.
Issues not discussed during the day will not be included as
conditions unless the panel discusses them with the
programme team before the report back.
Validated numbers
For non-devolved validations, the panel must clearly state
maximum and minimum student numbers per
cohort/intake. These figures will relate to the panel's
conclusion about the resources available and/or required to
underpin such a figure. These figures are validated numbers
only, and do not imply any commitment of University
funding. This is outside the remit of the panel. In every
instance, the maximum validated number will always be
greater than the funded number.
Where appropriate, the panel must also identify an
implementation date and details of the impact of the
introduction of the validated provision on existing students,
for example, where the validated programme will replace
existing provision.
At the final feedback session, the chair should feed this all
back to the programme team.

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