External reviews of SPA

First review of SPA 2008

When SPA was established in 2006 it was initially for two years, to be reviewed by all SPA funders after this time with Universities UK and UCAS. The funders were the four HE funding councils of the UK and they all agreed to a further three years of funding. 

Second review of SPA 2011

When the second phase of funding was drawing to a close in 2011 a more formal review was coordinated by HEFCE and this external evaluation was led by Professor Geoff Layer, at the time Pro Vice-Chancellor at Bradford University and then Vice-Chancellor of Wolverhampton University.

Professor Layer stated in the external evaluation report that: "SPA has reviewed the admissions landscape and been an effective contributor to policy fora and there is significant evidence that it has helped HEIs shape their responses to new national agendas. SPA has steered practice and significant change within the sector and admissions work in particular." 

It was clear that SPA was recognised as being well-embedded and credible by the sector. SPA had also won the confidence of national policy makers, and was a key player in many of the initiatives that shape admissions to HE. SPA resources were used widely to inform HE providers' admissions work and there was an appetite for more resources to be created to help institutions respond to a wide range of issues.

Third review of SPA 2012

SPA underwent a further funding review in 2012 which saw new arrangements for funding from HEFCE, HEFCW, DELNI, UCAS and Universities UK, but not from the SFC. This meant that SPA's work had a greater focus on England. However, the expertise, advice, information and work on good practice continued on a UK-wide basis through funding from SPA’s two UK wide funders, UCAS and Universities UK. SPA's resources, materials and events remained available to all HE providers. SPA's independent Steering Group membership continued to reflect and support the UK wide approach to SPA’s core objectives. 

Fourth review of SPA 2015

In 2014-15 another external review of SPA was held into the future funding of SPA’s and its remit in the HE sector. This review covered SPA’s work since 2012, and was co-ordinated and funded by UCAS. It involved all SPA’s funders up to that point. The external review team carried out a survey of HE providers and stakeholders, together with desk-based research and interviews. Their report was presented to the SPA Review Group early in 2015.

The UCAS Board agreed the recommendation from the SPA Review Group that SPA would continue. Core funding to enable SPA to continue was provided by UCAS, and in 2015-16 SPA was funded by UCAS and HEFCW. The Review Group and the report recognised the role, value and importance of the independent SPA Steering Group, which continues its role in shaping and defining SPA's priorities. SPA offers the same type of services and support to all HE providers UK-wide as it had done previously. The SPA Steering Group is chaired by a Vice-Chancellor, currently Professor Joy Carter, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Winchester.

The UCAS-commissioned report on the review of the Supporting Professionalism in Admissions (SPA) programme from 2012 and proposals for the future can be downloaded here.

Tue, 10/05/2016 - 15:07