The NNECL Quality Mark

Launched in June 2021, the NNECL Quality Mark is a developmental accreditation process for universities and colleges to demonstrate their support for the inclusion and success of care experienced students.  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 process involves an institutional self-assessment with support and review by a NNECL assessor.  It is designed to be holistic and proportionate, reflecting the diversity of institutions within the HE and FE sectors.  The guidance document also contextualises the framework against the different requirements and policies of the four nations of the UK.

At this stage in its development, we are not planning to offer the QM at different levels (e.g. gold, silver, bronze), but simply to award it and highlight any areas of enhanced or exceptional practice in our final feedback to institutions.  

Awards are made for 3 years in the first instance. As part of the process, institutions identify future actions to improve their ongoing support for care experienced students.  These will then form the basis for re-submission at the end of the award period.   Universities and colleges which have achieved the Quality Mark are listed on our Awards page.

Over time, the findings from the Quality Mark assessments will enable us to build up a more detailed repository of effective practice 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.

Expressions of interest

Working with our new panel of assessors we are ready to accept expressions of interest. We highly recommend studying the NNECL Quality Mark Guidance & Information to ensure your institution is ready to begin the assessment process prior to expressing interest. We also recommend that the QM submission process adopts a whole institution approach and that a working group of colleagues from across institutional departments is formed. Please do contact us if you have any questions.


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