Gloucestershire partnership a failure, says QAA

January 10, 2013

The “systemic failure” of a university’s partnership with a private college meant that 40 master’s students did not take their course, the sector’s quality watchdog has found.

The Quality Assurance Agency has published a “concerns” report into the partnership between the University of Gloucestershire and London-based Williams College. The investigation focused mainly on a university-franchised MBA, one of 13 franchise programmes included in the partnership.

Gloucestershire’s franchise model meant the partner was responsible for “teaching, setting and marking assessed work, subject only to university approval and moderation - normally by sample - undertaken by the university and its external examiners”, the QAA says.

But the college “frequently ignored university protocols and procedures”, while Gloucestershire “failed to undertake formal monitoring on a consistent basis”.

The QAA report says: “Together, this constitutes a systemic failure of the Williams College partnership.”

The report refers to a cohort of MBA students due to start in June 2011 who became “the unwitting victims of a prolonged inter-institutional dispute” between Gloucestershire and Williams College.

In August 2011 the university refused admission to the cohort even though they had already begun studying. It then took eight months of “intermittent discussion” before an agreement permitted them to formally begin the course “provided that they fulfilled entry requirements and retook all their MBA work”.

Only two students of the original cohort of 42 accepted the offer, the report says.

Gloucestershire said it has “implemented a new team structure and leadership to ensure that the expected standards are consistently achieved in all our collaborative partnerships”.

The university has also given Williams College notice of its intention to terminate its contract with the for-profit institution.

It is not the first of Gloucestershire’s private validation partnerships to have presented problems. The university agreed an out-of-court settlement with Guildhall College in December after legal action followed the termination of its contract with the institution in March 2012.

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Assistant Recruitment - Human Resources Office

University Of Nottingham Ningbo China

Outreach Officer

Gsm London

Professorship in Geomatics

Norwegian University Of Science & Technology -ntnu

Professor of European History

Newcastle University

Head of Department

University Of Chichester
See all jobs

Most Commented

men in office with feet on desk. Vintage

Three-quarters of respondents are dissatisfied with the people running their institutions

students use laptops

Researchers say students who use computers score half a grade lower than those who write notes

Canal houses, Amsterdam, Netherlands

All three of England’s for-profit universities owned in Netherlands

Mitch Blunt illustration (23 March 2017)

Without more conservative perspectives in the academy, lawmakers will increasingly ignore and potentially defund social science, says Musa al-Gharbi

sitting by statue

Institutions told they have a ‘culture of excluding postgraduates’ in wake of damning study