Periodic Review event and outcome

The Periodic Review event concentrates on the review and re-approval of courses and considers any recommendations and areas of good practice. Where undergraduate and taught postgraduate courses are being considered as part of the same Periodic Review, the meeting will be structured in such a way as to ensure that they are considered appropriately.

The event usually takes place in two stages approximately 6 weeks apart, depending on the size and nature of the award(s) being reviewed. The agenda, agreed by the Chair of the Review, is normally based upon a standard programme which may be modified as appropriate for each review event.

Stage One – Initial Panel meetings

  • Initial Panel meeting (1 hour)
  • Panel meeting with students across all levels of provision under review (1-2 hours)
  • Panel meeting to agree theme and questions for the Department (1 hour)

Stage Two (at least 6 weeks after the initial panel meetings in Stage One)

  • Panel meeting with the Department (2 hours)
  • Panel meeting with any other groups, as appropriate, e.g. employers or PSRB (1 hour)
  • Final Panel meeting (1.5 hours)
  • Outcomes verbally communicated to Department (15 minutes)

The Panel meetings would take place via Zoom or face-to-face. It is not anticipated that both Stage One and Two would be conducted face-to-face unless there was a specific rationale for this. It is recognised that there would be cases in which a different format or approach would be needed; for instance, if the Periodic Review were to be combined with an accreditation visit or PSRB review. 

The Panel will need to be assured of the continuing rationale for the course(s) concerned and that the department has the necessary resource base for the continued successful running of the course(s). In addition, the Panel would expect to be assured that issues identified through Annual Review of Courses, including the comments of students and External Examiners, and issues from other sources (e.g. PSRB reports), have been addressed.

A successful Periodic Review will be characterised by constructive dialogue, structured around a self-evaluation document (the Reflective Document) provided by the Head of Department under review. The Reflective Document is designed to take the form of a critical commentary, cross-referenced to any other documentation provided, and should identify those issues the Department would find helpful to be explored in greater depth.

Additional documentation in support of the Reflective Document provides more details of the courses under review, including documents such as Annual Review of Course reports, External Examiner reports, student survey results and course statistics. As a consequence, each Periodic Review will be slightly different, in order to both meet the specific needs of the Department and to address any particular issues or concerns the Panel might have. While the agenda is flexible, there are a number of broad themes which all Periodic Reviews consider.

Periodic Review meeting

The Chair is responsible for highlighting positive aspects of the course(s) and raising issues in a constructive manner. The Chair will normally commence the event by:

  • explaining the purpose of the event
  • introducing Panel members
  • confirming the agenda
  • explaining Periodic Review procedures and the responsibilities of the Panel
  • identifying any collective or individual issues raised by Panel members in relation to the review documentation.

Student meeting

A meeting will normally be held with a group(s) of students registered (or previously registered) on the courses under review. The departmental team will not be present for this part of the review. As well as meeting students, the documentation will include summaries of NSS results and other forms of student feedback and actions taken by the department in response to these and to other areas raised in their Student Voice Groups or equivalents, in order to provide a complete view of student feedback.

It is the Department's responsibility to identify a selection of students to meet with the Panel, and to brief students on the event.

Departmental staff meeting

The agenda will include one or more blocks of time in which the Panel may discuss the course(s) in detail with the course team, and in which the course team will have the opportunity to respond to points raised. The Panel will need to be assured of the continuing rationale for the course(s) concerned and that the course team has the necessary resource base for the continued successful running of the course(s) under review. In addition, the Panel would expect to be assured that issues identified through Annual Review of Courses, including the comments of students and External Examiners, have been addressed.


After the Departmental staff meeting, it is usual for the departmental team to depart to allow the Panel members to determine their recommendations. The Chair normally commences this private meeting of the Panel by summarising the key themes and the course team’s responses and they will conclude the meeting by agreeing the outcome of the event with the Panel. A unanimous decision of the Panel is required for the conclusion of the Review event.

The department representatives are invited back for verbal feedback. During the feedback session, the Chair will announce the outcome of the event and notify the department of any conditions and/or recommendations that should be addressed or considered. Commendations will also be highlighted. A deadline will be set by which conditions and/or recommendations should be met and/or responded to. The Chair and Secretary will liaise to ensure that draft commendations, conditions and recommendations are circulated to the course team as soon as possible after the event, and the secretary will produce a detailed report to circulate to the Panel and department.

Reporting and monitoring arrangements

  1. The Secretary to the Review will complete a report using the Periodic Review report proforma.
  2. This report will be submitted to the appropriate Faculty Education Committee to request the Committee's recommendation to the Academic Quality and Standards Committee.
  3. The authority for final approval rests with the Academic Quality and Standards Committee. In addition, the Faculty or Executive Dean may refer University-wide issues raised in reports for consideration by the Academic Quality and Standards Committee or Education Committee.
  4. The Periodic Review report summarises the Panel’s conclusions and specifies any conditions that are to be met to successfully complete the Periodic Review process. It is usual for the Panel to specify the date by which the conditions must be met and to recommend when the course would be subject to the next Periodic Review, which for most courses is five years. The Review Panel may not set further conditions after it has reported.
  5. There are normally two possible outcomes from a Periodic Review event, one of which will conclude the report:
    • Recommendation for the course(s) to continue to be offered, in which case no further action by the departmental team is required
    • Recommendation for the course(s) to continue to be offered with conditions and/or recommendations, in which case the departmental team must provide the Chair with evidence, within any agreed timescales, that the conditions have been met, and must respond to any recommendations.
      • Commendations allow the Panel a chance to congratulate the course team on aspects of exceptional practice that can be shared more widely across the Faculty or University.
      • Conditions are those issues that must be addressed to the satisfaction of the review Panel prior to successful Periodic Review, by agreed deadlines.
      • Recommendations are those issues on which action is to be considered, possibly beyond the start of the following academic session. A response to recommendations must also be made by agreed deadlines.
    • In exceptional circumstances, the report may recommend suspension of the Periodic Review process whilst the course team undertakes a major revision to the course(s) under review.

Periodic Review conditions and recommendations


Where a Periodic Review Panel has set conditions and/or recommendations, a deadline for the response to be received will be set. The Department must make a formal response evidencing how specific conditions have been met, and should comment on their consideration and any action taken in response to the recommendations. A template to set out the response is available.

The Chair or Executive Dean is responsible for approving the department's response. Once approved and the Periodic Review process has been completed, a formal report will be made to the Faculty Education Committee and subsequently to the Academic Quality and Standards Committee.

Following the approval of the department’s response, the department would provide current students with an executive summary which would include a brief paragraph for each condition and recommendation and the relevant actions.

Departments are also required to provide information about action taken in response to Periodic Review via the Annual Review of Courses process.

University-level recommendations

Not all recommendations arising from Periodic Review are within the power of the Department to action.

The Department should raise University level issues with the Faculty Deans and PVC (Education) and include the outcome of these discussions in the next Annual Review of Courses report. Where an issue is referred to another Department, team or to a Committee the departments should receive written replies from the relevant team/committees for inclusion in Annual Review of Courses reports. Resource-based recommendations may also be cited as evidence in annual planning statements when highlighting a need for additional resource.

The PVC (Education) or Faculty Deans will refer matters for discussion to the Faculty Steering Group and decision by USG as appropriate and inform the Department and QUAD team of any outcomes or recommendations. The outcome will be reported to the relevant Faculty Education Committee and Academic Quality and Standards Committee.

Reporting and monitoring through the Annual Review of Courses

Departments should include information about action taken in response to conditions and recommendations in the subsequent Annual Review of Courses report and where the conditions and/or recommendations require ongoing action then they should be included in the Annual Review of Courses Action Plan (see Annual Review of Courses process).
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