Quality Assurance Review

QAA style Higher Education Review undertaken by the University of Kent

In May 2018, following a comprehensive review of all our higher Education level provision, NSCD undertook its Periodic Programme Review, chaired by the University of Kent was a conjoined exercise with the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama.

The Review Panels agreed that all aspects of the Schools provision and learning opportunities met UK standards and expectations. The Panel particularly identified as areas of good practice:

Section A: Taught Programme Design and Delivery

  1. The Panel commended the inclusive culture at Northern School, which it considered to be reflected within the curriculum, and informed by research practice within the School.
  2. The breadth of the curriculum was praised by the Panel, noting especially the way in which the BA (Hons) Contemporary Dance programme offered students the chance to focus on career routes other than being a professional dancer (i.e. teaching and producing).
  3. The Panel highlighted the personalised curriculum, which supports students to develop strengths both as artists and enable them opportunity to be outward and forward looking, in regard to their social responsibility i.e. through collaborative arts work.
  4. The Moodle VLE which has recently been introduced to the School was commended by the Panel.
  5. The use of after show talks, as a method of students reflecting on and receiving direct feedback on their performance, was commended for enabling peer to peer engagement on performances.
  6. The use of research cafés, where staff can come together to discuss research activity, was noted as an example of good practice by the Panel.

Section B & C: Student Support, Guidance and Learning Opportunities

Conclusions on innovation and good practice in this area:

  1. The Panel commended the induction processes and support for student representatives, which it considered to be exemplary.
  2. The Panel recognised the way in which staff workload balance was being effectively managed within the School.
  3. The Panel commended the opportunities made available within the programme, such as placement activity.

Section D: Maintenance and Enhancement of Quality and Standards

Conclusions on innovation and good practice in this area:

  1. Conclusions on whether the School is properly undertaking its responsibilities as set out in the Codes of Practice for Research and Taught Programmes of Study
  2. The Panel concluded that NSCD was undertaking its responsibilities as set out in the Code of Practice for Quality Assurance and Credit Framework.
  3. It was noted that the School had in place strong oversight of placements, including ensuring students receive support, contractual arrangements are in place and learning outcomes are met, the breadth of placements, and the process for approving placement activity was reflected in the formal programme paperwork.
  4. The Panel confirmed that NSCD clearly differentiate between academic misconduct and non-academic misconduct, and that only academic issues affect a student’s continuous assessment marks. In relation to this, it was confirmed that the School provides students with support regarding any attendance issues identified over the course of the programme, to ensure that students are able to meet 90% attendance requirements.
  5. Evaluation of the methods used by the School to enhance its provision and disseminate good practice within the School
  6. The Panel noted the stringent moderation practice in place within the School, which it was considered not only met, but exceeded the requirements of the Credit Framework. It was noted that creative work is assessed on a Panel basis, and that records of moderation are kept and could be made available if necessary to students.
  7. The Panel found that the School had in place suitable arrangements for ensuring that any visiting lecturers are aware of the requirements of assessment and that they are supported fully in undertaking their roles.
  8. The Panel enquired into how NSCD found the relationship with their cognate School at the University of Kent. It was reported that good face- to-face support had been received from the School of Arts, and that NSCD found the Quality Assurance Office to be a supportive point of contact.

Section E: Evaluation of the effectiveness of the School’s approach to responding to student feedback

Conclusions on innovation and good practice in this area:

  1. The Panel noted good practice with regard to the thorough moderation practices in place within the School.
  2. The Panel commended the involvement of the student body in both the development of programmes, and their management, noting specifically the multiple channels available for communication of student feedback.


To view a copy of the full PPR Report (June 2018) click here

To view NSCD’s response to the report click here

In response to the Review, the School has developed a comprehensive plan of action to ensure that good practice is maintained and opportunities to continue to enhance the student experience at NSCD are pursued.