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External Review of COBIS Accreditation and Compliance by QAA

COBIS is thrilled to have received commendation for its well-established COBIS Accreditation and Compliance scheme by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA).

Having first launched in 2017, and now with over 240 schools having completed or booked quality assurance visits, the COBIS Accreditation and Compliance scheme has established itself as a rigorous, collaborative, non-judgemental and trusted process for schools in 59 countries. The scheme is rooted in school improvement, based on collaboration and partnerships between advisors and schools, and draws on the very best of British and international practice.  Designed to adapt and reflect the uniqueness of each school, whilst adhering to a rigorous set of standards, the scheme supports schools with a British educational ethos on their development journey.

As part of our commitment to quality and continual improvement, last year COBIS commissioned the UK Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) to engage in a comprehensive and intensive review of the COBIS Accreditation and Compliance scheme. COBIS welcomes external scrutiny, and embarked on this review as a chance to be independently validated by internationally recognised quality assurance experts and as an opportunity to identify any areas for potential service development and enhancement.

Why QAA?

QAA is an independent charity working to benefit students and educational institutions, and are world leading experts in quality assurance. 

They are trusted by education providers and regulatory bodies to maintain and enhance quality and standards, and offer independent peer reviews for international institutions. These reviews assess if quality assurance processes meet international best practice, leading to accreditation from QAA. COBIS and QAA have many commonalities in terms of values, vision, philosophy, governance, ambition, international outlook and their commitment to safeguarding, high-quality academic standards, and of course to quality assurance. This synergy meant that QAA was best placed to provide quality assurance and externally validate COBIS’ scheme.

Conclusion and next steps

The findings and recommendations of the QAA are wholeheartedly welcomed by COBIS, and the report commends areas which we have been proud of since the launch of the scheme. As we try to do in our own quality assurance process and reports, we see COBIS’ ethos and approach reflected accurately in the report.

COBIS is dedicated to supporting schools around the world, and we are delighted that our COBIS Accreditation and Compliance scheme has not only withstood the scrutiny and rigour of the QAA process, but has been roundly commended for its approach and its impact. It has been found to not only be a viable alternative to other international accreditation and inspection schemes, but a high-quality and recommended option.   

“COBIS has a reputation for operating in a healthy culture of scrutiny. For that reason, COBIS welcomes external scrutiny. While we have always believed in the strength of the COBIS Accreditation and Compliance scheme, it is invaluable to have QAAs’ firm approval and complementary external validation. Their review was diligent and in-depth, and I wish to thank everyone involved in the quality assurance process from start to finish, including the QAA team, our hard-working Lead Improvement Partners and Peer Accreditors, the COBIS Accreditation team and the schools who took part. This report demonstrates our deep commitment to long term school improvement, what sets our scheme apart from the others, the impact and value which schools will gain from engaging with our quality assurance scheme. Ultimately, the QAA report and judgement will serve to further enhance and strengthen the global credibility of COBIS and its high-quality member schools.” Colin Bell, COBIS CEO

“Quality assurance from QAA will further enhance the reputation of COBIS Accreditation and Compliance with Ministries of Education and regulators worldwide. It will enhance the reputation of the scheme with current and potential members of the school workforce and families who choose to access high-quality British international schools overseas. This will also serve to strengthen the wider brand of the British education sector on a global scale, which is a vital part of COBIS’ mission.” COBIS Chair, The Rt Hon Lord Knight of Weymouth, Jim Knight

“It is clear to us that the COBIS Accreditation and Compliance scheme is a valuable process for all participants, and it is evident that there is a tremendous amount of goodwill towards to the scheme amongst schools and leaders. This was clearly reflected in the interviews conducted, and in the impact the scheme has had on schools. At QAA, we are confident that this is an opportunity for COBIS to further strengthen and develop the scheme, in the COBIS spirit of continual improvement.” Vicki Stott, Chief Executive of QAA

This external validation strengthens the COBIS mission to continue to grow and maintain its position as the highest quality network of British international schools worldwide, to operate with a deep commitment to school improvement, to help schools and students thrive and to influence and promote the export and growth of world class British education. COBIS is confident in the future of the COBIS Accreditation scheme, and looks forward to extending the scheme to many more schools in the coming years.

Read the full summary