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safeguarding standards and improving the quality of UK higher education

Educational oversight reviews 

Transition to a common review framework

QAA is introducing a common review framework for all subscribers in England and Northern Ireland, which will also replace Review for Educational Oversight (REO). There will be a gradual transition to HER (Plus) in 2014-2015. This PDF has more details (20 KB).


Educational oversight by a designated body is a requirement for Highly Trusted Sponsor (HTS) status. The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) has been recognised as a designated body for higher education providers by the UK Border Agency (UKBA). 

Educational oversight reviews reflect the core principles of QAA review processes. In line with QAA's mission, reviews are intended in part to contribute to the enhancement of UK higher education and to reinforce its reputation worldwide.

Listen to a discussion and learn more about educational oversight reviews.

Educational oversight review methods

You will undergo the educational oversight review methods listed below.

Annual return and monitoring visit

Educational oversight involves a full QAA review in the year following the application, and an annual return and interim monitoring visits between reviews in subsequent years. The annual return and the monitoring visit are an integral part of the overall review process. All providers should submit an annual return to QAA. 

For further details please see the frequently asked questions about the annual return and monitoring process and our guidance note for each review method.


Specific guidance for students whose provider is undergoing an educational oversight review by QAA is available in the student area of our website.

Publishing information about reviews

We ask that providers use the approved wording given in the Guidance for providers on publishing information about educational oversight reviews to describe their relationship with QAA, and to publicise information relating to their educational oversight review by QAA.

From 1 August 2013, eligible providers can display a QAA educational oversight review graphic either in addition to the approved wording or instead of it. Find out more about the QAA educational oversight review graphic.

Key reference points

The key reference points used in our review methods can be found in our section on Assuring standards and quality. From December 2011 the UK Quality Code for Higher Education has replaced the Academic Infrastructure as the core guidance published by QAA.

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