Quality Assurance & Enhancement

External Reference Points & External Engagement to Assure & Enhance Quality

External Reference Points

The UCO draws on external guidance from the wider academic community when benchmarking and developing its quality assurance activities. It has a strong record of seeking, valuing and acting upon critical appraisal from the QAA and its professional statutory regulatory body, the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC). Furthermore, the UCO externally references a range of sources when developing its portfolio of courses.

For establishing the threshold standards for academic awards, course units and individual study tasks, and the manner in which assessments are conducted academic staff must make use of appropriate external reference points.  For example all courses are mapped against the Frameworks for Higher Education Qualifications of UK Degree-Awarding Bodies (FHEQ).   

External Reference points include:

External Engagement

The UCO is a member of a range of external professional bodies and associations and works with external individuals enabling it to keep abreast of current thinking, research and developments in the Higher Education sector and osteopathic field including:

  • Professional and Statutory Regulatory Bodies (PSRB) & Quality Assurance Agency (QAA): The Osteopaths Act (1993) requires that osteopath applicants seeking registration with the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) must possess a Recognised Qualification (RQ). The GOsC contracts the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) to review whether the governance and management of the course providers and the standards and quality of the programmes meet the requirements laid down by the GOsC. The Osteopathic Practice Standards and QAA Quality Code for Higher Education are used as key reference points in the rigorous review process.
  • External Examiners: Extensive use is made of input from External Examiners who have wide knowledge of standards in the sector as a whole.
  • External Roles of Staff: Staff also hold a number of external roles, including committee membership at the University of Bedfordshire; the School draws on these links to keep its portfolio of courses up to date and to maintain academic standards.
  • GuildHE: The School is an active member of GuildHE, which represents smaller institutions within the higher education sector. It is an inclusive body, an advocate for institutional diversity across higher education and a champion for the high-quality and distinctive educational provision its members offer. GuildHE provides a forum for members and their institutions to share best practice and to disseminate and discuss guidance. The School participates in its consultative and information exchange exercises and is an active member of its governance network.
  • Council of Osteopathic Educational Institutions: It is also a member of the Council of Osteopathic Educational Institutions (COEI), which is a forum for all providers of osteopathic education to meet to discuss matters and share good practice. These meetings coincide with meeting with the General Osteopathic Council, where good practice and information about legislative changes are discussed.
  • Osteopathic International Alliance: The School is a partner member of the Osteopathic International Alliance (OIA), an international body which represents some 85,000 members. It enables osteopathic institutions to share information and develop practice with regard to standards of education, legislation and registration of practitioners worldwide. The OIA is currently creating a scoping document on the worldwide osteopathic profession which will inform the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) future strategic planning. The School’s Principal currently sits on the Board of Directors of the OIA.
  • Memoranda of Understanding: The School has Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with a number of health care education providers around the world. These MoUs encourage staff and student exchange and the sharing of good practice. The School currently has these relationships with schools in the USA, France, Italy, UK, Australia and Norway.

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