Launched in June 2021, the NNECL Quality Mark is a developmental change management process for universities and colleges to demonstrate their support for the inclusion and success of students with care experience and who are estranged.  The QM framework covers:

  • the student lifecycle from outreach through to graduation (and beyond);
  • institutional culture and leadership; and
  • continuous improvement and future plans.

The Quality Mark enables institutions to assess their current practice, identify gaps in provision and establish areas for development in coming years through an institutional self-assessment with support and review by a NNECL Assessor. This stage is an important part of your Quality Mark journey as the Assessor's role is to support you in the collation of evidence required to complete a submission.

We are not seeking perfection in present provision. We are looking for evidence of your current work, inclusion that the student voice and journey are informing your decisions and you are working to strengthen and progress the package of support for learners with care experience or who are estranged, through the development of an action plan.  

The Quality Mark has been carefully designed to be holistic and proportionate, reflecting the diversity of institutions within the HE and FE sectors.  Our guidance, which is regularly updated, also contextualises the framework against the different requirements and policies for each of the UK's four nations.

First awards are made for 3 years.

We recommend the Quality Mark submission process adopts a whole institution approach and a working group of colleagues from across institutional departments is formed. This process also supports the development of internal collaboration. Please do contact us if you have any questions.

Findings from Quality Mark assessments have enabled us to build a detailed repository of effective practices across the sector to inform future policy and further improvements.  You can see initial learning from the developmental phase on our Learning from the Quality Mark page.

 The universities and colleges that have achieved the NNECL Quality Mark are listed on our Awards page.

Expressions of interest

Once we have received your expression of interest we will contact you to arrange a meeting to discuss the submission process, your current provision and share the NNECL Quality Mark guidance with you. Once you are ready to go ahead, we will assign you an Assessor from our expert panel of Assessors and arrange payment of fees for the award.  

We will offer a series of Introductions to the Quality Mark. These are termly throughout the academic year and you can register your interest in attending the next webinar using this link: Pre Registration for Introduction to the Quality Mark Webinars.

Quality Mark Renewals

As you near the end of your Quality Mark (3 years) we will contact you to discuss renewal arrangements. The renewal process is a continuation of your initial submission. In addition, we ask institutions to submit evidence of the work from the action plans, as well as develop a further action plan for the next 3 years to maintain their Quality Mark status. 


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