Ashford College
20 November 2017

Independent Report Confirms “Student Academic Experience is of High Quality” at West Kent & Ashford College

QAA story - Graphics cloisters to use

West Kent & Ashford College has received a unique accolade this year from the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) for the quality of teaching on its Higher Education programmes.

The College was visited by a team of QAA reviewers in May 2017 and was the only provider, amongst those reviewed in 2016/17 to have no overall identified areas for development and no specified improvements.

In its report published this month, the QAA identified the following areas of good practice at the College:

  • A clear strategic view of its approach to student involvement, which takes deliberate steps to engage all students individually and collectively as partners in the enhancement of their education experience. Students have contributed fully to positive change through surveys, focus groups and representation, and are effectively empowered.
  • Well-developed links with external stakeholders. The College's Business Advisory Council has strong links with the local communities, employers and local government agencies. These links ensure that the curriculum meets local skills and labour demand. There are multiple opportunities for students to participate in external activities including visits, exhibitions, work placements and real-life projects.
  • Well-developed arrangements are in place to ensure that staff are competent in research, scholarship or pedagogy. Staff are appropriately qualified, have Higher Education Academy membership, maintain a continuing professional development portfolio and participate in systematic peer observation and staff development.

Summarising the quality of the student academic experience, the QAA’s report observed that the College “clearly demonstrates a commitment to improving the student experience through consideration of data at all levels” and concluded, “Overall, governance and quality management of the student academic experience are effective.”

Dr. Jim Mawby, Vice Principal of Curriculum, said: “We are delighted with this report, which recognises our strength in developing and delivering high quality programmes as well as our focus on student involvement in shaping them. It also underlines our strong community and business links, which enhance career opportunities for our students and graduates.”

The QAA report is the second positive endorsement of West Kent & Ashford College’s Higher Education programmes by a national quality assessment body this year. In June, the college was given a ‘Silver’ awardin the first set of Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) ratings, published by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). The silver award is given to institutions that consistently exceed "rigorous national quality requirements for UK higher education."

The QAA report is available at:

Our degrees are awarded by some of the top universities in the country:

  • University of Kent – 4th for satisfaction in the 2016 National Student Survey, 23rd in the Guardian Complete University Guide 2017 and recipient of a TEF Gold Award
  • University of Greenwich – Winner of 4 Queen’s Anniversary prizes for Higher and Further Education and recipient of a TEF Silver Award
  • Canterbury Christ Church University – Rated one of the top 50 universities for student experience (Times Higher Education UK Student Experience Survey) and recipient of a TEF Silver Award

We believe in a personal experience, which means all students benefit from smaller class-sizes and one-to-one contact time with their tutor. Our expert lecturers and strong links with industry mean we deliver high standards. In 2016, 98% of students at West Kent College achieved their qualification and 89% progressed into work or further study. 

About the QAA

The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) is the independent body that works with higher education institutions to define, safeguard, and improve academic standards and the quality of UK higher education. 

For more information, contact: Philip Orrell, Hadlow Group PR and Media Manager, Tel: 01732 372794,