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Maeve O'Leary

COBIS have announced a new collaboration with QAA (the Quality Assurance Agency), to externally quality assure the global COBIS Patron’s Accreditation and Compliance scheme (PAcc). Now in its fifth year of operation, this popular and well-established accreditation scheme has seen more than 200 schools in 67 countries engage in the process, which is deeply rooted in long-term school improvement to help schools, students and staff thrive.

This rigorous review will be carried out by QAA, which has over 25 years developed a global reputation as one of the world’s leading experts in educational quality assurance. QAA has a broad international reach and an extensive partnership network with Ministries of Education and regulators worldwide, the majority of which are in countries where COBIS has an established membership footprint.

The collaboration will initially last for five years and will include a quality assurance report of the COBIS PAcc standards, including through comparison with global best practice in quality assurance standards. In addition, QAA will review all elements of the accreditation scheme including all protocol documentation, policies, sample accreditation reports and the ratification process to recommend COBIS school membership status. Further, QAA will observe accreditation visits and the extensive training and evaluation which leads to COBIS Lead Improvement Partner and COBIS Peer Accreditor qualification. The QAA quality assurance process will further strengthen the reputation of the COBIS Patron’s Accreditation and Compliance scheme and the wider British education sector.

QAA’s Chief Executive, Vicki Stott commented: “QAA is delighted to be collaborating with COBIS on this evaluation, bringing forth our international quality expertise to provide public and global assurances that the COBIS accreditation scheme remains robust and fit-for-purpose. The quality of international education is of importance to a wide range of stakeholders, including overseas governments, QAA members and providers of UK transnational education. Through our mutual interest in championing the quality of international education, we look forward to embarking on this new chapter with COBIS.”

COBIS Chief Executive, Colin Bell added: “We are immensely proud of the success of our Patron’s Accreditation and Compliance Scheme, which has seen 201 visits completed or booked, for schools in more than 60 countries in the 5 years since its launch. We firmly believe that the scheme strengthens the high-quality British education brand, across all sectors. COBIS has a reputation for setting and expecting high standards. These principles apply to our own rigorous school accreditation scheme. Therefore, we are delighted to be working with QAA, one of the world’s recognised experts in quality assurance, who very much share our COBIS purpose, values and philosophy, which is to help students, schools, universities and other educational settings to thrive. The planned external validation by QAA of our accreditation scheme has been well-received by our global membership base, representatives from the British government and Ministries of Education overseas and the wider British educational community.”

The evaluation will run for a five-year period, with potential for a second cycle evaluation to be agreed towards the end of the first cycle. QAA and COBIS announced the partnership at COBIS’ 40th Annual Conference earlier this month in London.