How long does the Quality Mark process take?

We suggest a timeline of 2-4 months, but recognise that this needs to be a flexible process  depending on the amount of time and resource you can put into the project.  Your assessor will work with you to agree a suitable timeline.

How long does the Quality Mark last?

The NNECL Quality Mark is awarded for a three-year period. NNECL will contact institutions half-way through the period for a light-touch review to discuss progress with your action plan.

What is the difference between the NNECL Quality Mark  and the Care Leaver Covenant?

The NNECL Quality Mark has a specific, holistic and in-depth focus on support for care experienced students as they progress into and through further and higher education.  The Care Leaver Covenant is a broader promise made by any private, public or voluntary organisation to provide support for care leavers aged 16-25 to help them to live independently.  In relation to higher and further education institutions, the Covenant looks at three pillars of activity: student; employment; and community.  Each organisation is supportive of the other’s initiative and sees it as complementary. 

What is an action plan?

The action plan will form part of your submission for the Quality Mark.  It allows you to document future plans and acknowledge areas of further improvement to your practice.

What does the Quality Mark cost?

The fee for the Quality Mark is £900 (discounted to £750 for NNECL members).  This provides support for three online discussions with your assessor as well as the assessment process itself.   You will need to pay the fee before you start the Quality Mark assessment.

How can we prepare for the Quality Mark submission?

Before expressing your interest to begin the Quality Mark submission process we recommend that you read and review the guidance document to understand what is required and contact NNECL with any questions or queries. The guidance document will assist providers in assessing their practice and identifying strengths and weaknesses.

What do we need to do to begin the process?

You can submit an expression of interest via the form on our website. Once we receive an expression of interest, we will review the information you have supplied, and follow up on any queries. Once both parties agree that the institution is ready to undertake the submission, NNECL will match you to an assessor and agree a start date.

Who will undertake our assessment?

NNECL will aim to match each institution with the most appropriate assessor and will take account of any relevant institutional circumstances. The assessor will contact the institutional lead person to arrange a time for a first virtual meeting to go through the guidance document and deal with any initial questions or issues. 

What level of support will we receive from our assessor?

The role of the assessor is to support and guide institutions through the process and, once ready, to review the final submission.  Your assessor will arrange three online meetings to provide support and feedback and will be able to deal with ad hoc email queries between meetings.  The NNECL team is also available to offer guidance throughout the process.

What happens following submission?

The assessor will complete the review and provide a recommendation to NNECL on the award of the Quality Mark.  
The recommendation will be reviewed by one other person within the NNECL team for the purposes of moderation.  In cases where the recommendation is borderline, this may be referred to an internal panel drawn from NNECL’s Quality Mark working group.

NNECL will then inform the institution of the outcome of the assessment, including any areas highlighted as enhanced or exceptional practice.  The Quality Mark logo will be provided for successful institutions to use in their own publicity. 

 How will our data and submissions be stored?

All evidence provided for the Quality Mark submissions will be stored securely and in accordance with data protection legislation (GDPR).

NNECL will ask institutions for permission to share examples of enhanced and exceptional practice on its website or in associated documents.

Read our full Data Privacy Statement.

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