Private college cleared by QAA after investigation

A private college has been cleared by the UK’s quality watchdog after it investigated claims over student recruitment and attendance

September 12, 2014

The London School of Science and Technology was investigated by the Quality Assurance Agency under its “concerns” scheme after allegations were brought by a former member of staff.

The college was also cleared by the QAA of allegations that “resources were moved during a QAA review from one business within the LSST group to another to give a false impression of resource allocation”.

But the QAA’s report does say that “according to LSST’s attendance monitoring scheme, large numbers of students are at risk of not completing their studies”.

The QAA investigation included two visits in March to the institution, based in Wembley, north-west London. It says it then postponed its report “to take account of additional information” that was reported by The Guardian newspaper, and conducted a further visit.

Following an undercover investigation, The Guardian reported in May that classrooms at LSST were empty despite it having 1,500 students, many of them claiming support from the public-backed Student Loans Company, and that the college offered places to students without the required skills. LSST denied the claims.

The college, which offers Higher National courses awarded by Pearson, has already been given permission for its students to continue accessing the public student loans system, after a separate investigation by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills reported last month.

The QAA says in its report that LSST and Fairfield School of Business in Croydon, part of the same group and also investigated, “are committed to reaching out to those potential students who would otherwise not have access to higher education”.

The agency says it investigated: “(i) the effectiveness of recruitment and admission procedures; (ii) the effectiveness of systems for managing student attendance; (iii) the effectiveness of staffing resource management; (iv) management oversight of the schools; (v) the monitoring of academic standards; (vi) the effectiveness of systems for ensuring the validity of student work and the management of academic misconduct; and (vii) accusations of an attempt to mislead a QAA review team”.

The QAA makes four recommendations to the colleges, including that “learning support systems and resources are matched to the student recruitment profile, and remain fit for purpose in supporting students to meet attendance targets”.

john.morgan@tesglobal.com

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Reader's comments (7)

So how do they explain the empty classrooms?
The Government allowed the setting up of these Private Colleges so they are not going to investigate them properly because it would mean admitting their own failures.
Good question, Charles Hedges. I would like to know the answer too.
QAA do not care about attendance
QAA do not care about attendance at Private Colleges, how else can anyone explain that such colleges require, like public colleges 80% attendance around 75% of so called students have less than 50% attendance, some as low as 10% or less and they are still recieving Student Finance.
What does this sorry episode tell us about the QAA?? Have they any credibility left??
"are committed to reaching out to those potential students who would otherwise not have access to higher education” One wonders what this means? Why do they not have access normally? Because they don't have the grades. Yet somehow, they are deemed able to complete a higher education course at these institutions. This sort of nonsense has been reported on in the USA for a while where millions in public money is poured down the drain of private colleges in this fashion.

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