Hartpury College

Periodic curriculum review

This section of the framework covers the internal periodic review of curriculum on a regular cycle.

Key Reference Points

QAA Quality Code (especially the Frameworks for Higher Education Qualifications and Chapter B8: Programme monitoring and review) and appropriate institutional strategic documents, e.g. Higher Education Strategic Plan.


Members of staff and particularly Heads of Department, members of provision team, review panels, and relevant members of committees.

Periodic curriculum review sections

  1. Scope and Principles
  2. Key roles and responsibilities
  3. Preparation for periodic curriculum review
  4. Periodic curriculum review scrutiny
  5. Outcomes of the periodic curriculum review
  6. Annex
  7. Section documents and templates

1. Scope and principles

This section of the Hartpury Quality Enhancement Framework (HQEF) outlines the purpose of Periodic Curriculum Review, the process of review and the reporting of outcomes.

All taught provision actively recruiting students must be reviewed and reapproved at least every six years. Periodic Curriculum Review is a peer-based process which focuses on critical reflection on qualitative and quantitative information to evaluate the academic health of the taught curriculum. The outcome is the production of a forward-looking action plan in support of the continued enhancement and development of the curriculum.

Periodic Curriculum Review takes place at programme level and each review may encompass a group of related programmes. In exceptional circumstances specific reviews may be delayed by one academic year on the authority of the Chair of Associate Faculty Board. They may also be brought forward at the request of the Higher Education Executive or Associate Faculty Board. This might occur, for example, as a result of the annual monitoring round where a subject is highlighted as an area of concern or in response to relevant industry or sector developments.

2. Key roles and responsibilities

Key individuals

a) The Associate Dean: Teaching, Learning and Scholarship will have oversight of Periodic Curriculum Reviews. They will liaise with all those involved in the process to provide advice and guidance; act as a panel member.

b) The Curriculum Records Manager has operational oversight and management of Periodic Curriculum Review and is a primary source of advice on the review. They will liaise with the Associate Dean: Teaching, Learning and Scholarship and the Head of Department (or nominees) regarding the coordination, preparation and undertaking of review activity, and provide guidance on curriculum approval matters relating to the review activity.

c) The Provision Team will be constituted according to the scope and requirements of the review but is likely to include the Programme Leader(s), Head of Department, Module Leader(s) and appropriate Support Staff involved in the provision. The team will be led by a team leader and engage with critical self-reflection and analysis of both quantitative and qualitative data in order to assess programme evolution and change over the period since the last review, and plan for future enhancement and developments. This will include the production of a Periodic Curriculum Evaluation Document (PCED).

d) A peer Review Panel will be formed to scrutinise the PCED and supporting documentation. A Chair will be appointed to co-ordinate the review panel’s activities and feedback. At the end of the scrutiny the Review Panel will make a recommendation to the Curriculum Approval Committee.


a) Associate Faculty Board has responsibility for setting and reviewing mechanisms to assure the quality and standards of provision and delegates the oversight of review activity to Curriculum Approval Committee.

b) Curriculum Approval Committee receives notification of Periodic Curriculum Review activity and the outcome of each review. It will highlight good practice or issues requiring enhancement, including any themes that may emerge, to further committees as appropriate. It will also be asked to consider for approval any updated documentation following appropriate recommendations for amendment to curriculum provision.

c) The Curriculum Scrutiny Panel acts as a deliberative, peer review prior to the Periodic Curriculum Review event.

d) The Departmental Committee has responsibility for monitoring the actions arising from the Periodic Curriculum Review. Actions should be embedded within the Annual Departmental Evaluation Report.

3. Preparation for periodic curriculum review

The foundation of Periodic Curriculum Review is critical reflection upon key indicators of quality assurance and enhancement. The emphasis of the process is upon evaluation and enhancement of student achievement of the appropriate academic standards and enhancement of the learning opportunities offered to students.

A department must submit a Periodic Curriculum Review Notification Form to Higher Education Executive in the year prior to scheduled review. One form should be completed for each intended Periodic Curriculum Review. The notification form provides sufficient information to Higher Education Executive to ensure the calendar of review activity for the forthcoming year can be scrutinised. Confirmation to progress with preparation for the Periodic Curriculum Review is then given to the department.

3.1 The provision team

  • The Periodic Curriculum Review Provision Team works collaboratively to:
  • Evaluate existing qualitative and quantitative data relating to the provision to be reviewed.
  • Write the Periodic Curriculum Evaluation Document and draw together supporting documents.
  • Respond to the Periodic Curriculum Review Panel’s findings and recommendations and develop the resulting forward looking action plan.
  • Implement the strategic changes identified in the action plan.

The team comprises:

  • A review provision team leader to co-ordinate the team and oversee completion of its tasks.
  • A senior member of the Higher Education Executive to support the consideration of the wider external environment and institution’s strategic direction.
  • A representative from the Higher Education Academic Services team to contribute to the production of the scrutiny documentation.
  • The Head of Department for the provision.
  • Representatives from the academic and support staff who contribute to the delivery of the programme(s).
  • Relevant external subject, industry or wider experts, whose role would be to contribute reflection on specific aspects of the provision (for instance technology enhanced learning, sustainability, internationalisation, employability or work based learning).

3.2 Periodic curriculum evaluation document

The Periodic Curriculum Evaluation Document reflects on the following areas:

  • How the provision has altered since the last validation/review.
  • Evaluation of the provision’s performance at the last validation/review and currently.
  • Identification of desirable goals for the provision following this review.
  • Summary and proposed action plan.

The Review Panel will consider the Periodic Curriculum Evaluation Document and supporting evidence base to develop lines of enquiry to allow them to make the required judgements on the curriculum. The Review Panel consider the following points:

  • The coherence of the strategy for future direction of the provision and its alignment with the institution’s strategies and external good practice, including the rationale for the involvement and any future expansion of collaborative partners and management of this provision.

Hartpury will be outstanding:

  • The appropriate threshold standards are maintained (with particular reference to External Examiner reports and monitoring documentation).
  • The educational aims and learning outcomes, design and curriculum of each programme remain accurate, appropriate, particularly with regard to changes made since approval or the last academic review, when compared against internal and external good practice, including PSRB requirements (as appropriate) and the QAA Quality Code.
  • Staff research and scholarly activity including interactions with industry have informed the continuous development of the programmes.

Hartpury will continue to grow:

  • The appropriateness, development and management of learning resources and staffing to support the programmes.
  • Hartpury will develop students to be the best they can become:
  • Industry, employer and PSRB (if appropriate) feedback has informed their continuous development.
  • Student performance and satisfaction indicators and feedback have informed the continuous development of the programmes.

The Periodic Curriculum Evaluation Document and the supporting evidence base should demonstrate a clear evaluation of these points, including:

  • Evidence of good practice and innovation.
  • The strengths of the provision under review and any opportunities for enhancement.
  • Any areas of the provision in need of change or improvement, together with the steps being taken to address these.

Sources of evidence may include: previous curriculum review or approval outcome, programme specifications, module specifications, External Examiner reports, records from committees and meetings, meeting with students and alumni, annual monitoring reports, published information about the programme (and modules), staff academic profiles, reports to PSRBs/awarding bodies (as appropriate), feedback from students, employers, industry and other stakeholders. Prior to circulation of the Periodic Curriculum Evaluation Document it must be reviewed by Curriculum Scrutiny Panel for accuracy and completeness. The Curriculum Scrutiny Panel will confirm when the Periodic Curriculum Evaluation Document is suitable for progression.

3.3 The review panel

The Review Panel’s role is to scrutinise the evaluation document and supporting evidence and to comment on the proposals and make recommendations on the continuing approval of the curriculum. It will investigate lines of enquiry to allow the required judgements to be made.

Internal review panel members have a particular role to play with regard to their evaluation of the subject area’s implementation of the institution’s policies and strategies. External review panel members have an important role to play in ensuring the academic soundness, relevance to the current industry and objectivity of the review process.

  • Periodic Curriculum Review is a peer assessed process and the Panel is therefore composed of:

    A Chair who will be a senior member of the Higher Education Executive, external to the department being reviewed.
  • At least one internal panel member with experience of programme development and outside the department being reviewed.
  • A student representative or graduate from the provision being reviewed.
  • An external subject expert from another institution to comment on all programmes in the provision. More than one expert may be required depending on the provision.
  • Industry expert(s) and/or employer(s), distinct from those consulted by the Panel as part of the evaluation document preparation.
  • A representative from an awarding body (as appropriate).
  • A representative from a PSRB (as appropriate).
  • The membership of the Periodic Curriculum Review Panel will be approved by HE Executive.

Members must contribute to the scrutiny of the documentation and the decisions of the Panel. Members of the provision team should contact potential external panel members prior to submitting the nomination form to ascertain whether they would be willing to undertake the role, although they should not confirm any invitation at this point. For willing nominees the Periodic Curriculum Review External Panel Member Nomination Form (which is co-authored by the provision team and the nominee) should be completed and provided to the Curriculum Records Manager, who will facilitate consideration by HE Executive. Following approval the Curriculum Records Manager will formally approach the nominee to seek confirmation of their right to work and confirm their appointment.

4. The periodic curriculum review scrutiny

The Provision Team will present the Periodic Curriculum Review Evaluation Document for scrutiny to the Review Panel. The Review Panel will then make an informed judgement as to whether they require a scrutiny event to inform their judgement. Unless there is convincing evidence of a thorough mid-cycle evaluation that involves substantial student and other stakeholder consultation (e.g. a PSRB event) then a scrutiny event would normally occur.

The scrutiny event is an opportunity for the Review Panel to gather evidence to ensure that they can make the judgements required and identify good practice and areas for improvement around the lines of enquiry previously outlined. As such the agenda for the scrutiny event will be guided by the requirements of the Review Panel. However two elements will be included:

  • A presentation by the Provision Team of a response to the lines of enquiry identified by the Panel. This process should be seen as primarily a developmental rather than a judgmental process, with the Review Panel engaging in constructive dialogue with the Review Team in order to produce a forward looking action plan.
  • A meeting with a representative group of current students, normally covering each programme being reviewed. If students are unable to attend, other mechanisms, such as video conferencing, must be found in order to give these students the opportunity to feed back on their experience.

Depending on the type of provision under review, it may be necessary for the Review Panel to have meetings with alumni, employers, and other stakeholders as they judge appropriate. They may view facilities and evaluate their appropriateness. Alternatively, video conferencing and other technology may be used to allow the Review Panel virtual access to facilities, students and staff.

5. Outcomes of the Periodic Curriculum Review

5.1 Recommendations and judgements

At the end of the scrutiny, the Review Panel will be asked to consider whether academic standards continue to be met; the quality of learning opportunities remain appropriate; and the programme is aligned with the QAA Quality Code and make a recommendation within a Periodic Curriculum Review Outcomes and Enhancement Plan document. This document will be approved by the full Review Panel.

The Review Panel makes a recommendation to the Curriculum Approval Committee on re-approval of the provision for a further six years as follows:

  • Approval
  • Approval with conditions of recommendation(s)
  • Non-approval

The Review Panel will also consider the appropriateness of the Provision Team’s initial action plan for future development of the programme(s) and will endorse or make recommendations in relation to this in their report.

If serious concerns are raised by the Review Panel, Associate Faculty Board will be informed and recruitment to one or more programmes may be suspended. In this case, a follow up Review will be arranged. This will be used to identify that clear progress has been made with the agreed action plan and that the academic standards and quality of the provision are appropriate.

The Periodic Curriculum Review Outcomes and Enhancement Plan will be received by the Curriculum Approval Committee for endorsement of the recommendation for reapproval or otherwise with recommended changes to programmes and modules. The Curriculum Approval Committee will discuss the plan and in particular identify any institution-wide actions to be taken (and refer them to the appropriate committee). It will then send the Periodic Curriculum Review Outcomes and Enhancement Plan to the relevant Departmental Committee Meeting that is responsible for embedding the enhancement actions within their Department Enhancement Plan.

6. Annex

Log of operational changes made to HQEF Periodic Curriculum Review Section
Version Section Change

Version Section Change

7. Section documents