Procedures for the Discontinuation of Taught Provision (On-Campus)

Procedures for the Discontinuation of Taught Provision (On-Campus)

Procedures for the Discontinuation of on-campus Taught Provision – 2015-2016



  1. Introduction

This document describes the processes involved in discontinuingtaught provision which operates on campus. Separate procedures exist covering the discontinuation of taught provision collaborative arrangements between the University and a partner organisation.

In the majority of cases, discontinuation will be anticipated and will result from factors identified during ongoing monitoring and review of provision. However, the University also recognises that, on occasion, the need to discontinue provision may arise as a result of sudden, unanticipated factors (e.g. the withdrawal of professional body recognition, meaning that students cannot achieve the registration necessary for them to qualify as practitioners). This document lists some typical circumstances in which discontinuation may be considered, but is not exhaustive. The Central Quality Office can provide further advice on specific cases.

In all cases, the University recognises the paramount importance of communication with any affected students (including prospective students) and stakeholders (e.g. NHS Trusts) during the discontinuation process. In line with the QAA Quality Code, the University recognises its responsibility for ensuring that students admitted to a programme can complete it in the event of discontinuation.

  1. Factors which may result in discontinuation being considered

The following are examples of factors which may lead to discontinuation of taught provision being considered (this list is not exhaustive):

  • Restructuring/portfolio review of provision in subject area (including replacement of existing programmes by updated versions).
  • Reduced financial viability of programmes/subject areas. (Programmes which have not run for 2 years will be discontinued).
  • Ongoing, unresolved concerns regarding academic quality and standards at programme level.
  • Change in PSRB recognition or requirements.
  • Other factors raised via risk identification and management, public interest disclosure ("whistleblowing"), student complaints, QAA Concerns, etc.
  1. Impact on collaborative arrangements

On-campus programme discontinuation may impact on the University’s collaborative arrangements. For example, PUIC students are enrolled with an expectation of progressing to named undergraduate or Masters programmes subject to successful completion of their preparatory or foundation programme; Foundation Degree students from recognised University partners (overseen by Academic Partnerships) have an expectation of progression to a named degree route. It is crucially important that any programme discontinuation is discussed with Academic Partnerships and the partner organisationto ensure that appropriate and equivalent progression routes remain open to the students.

  1. Process

Once a Faculty has determined that provision should be discontinued a Programme Discontinuation Request Form must be submitted to ADPC for each programme or group of programmes affected. Working through the completion of this form will address a number of the operational details needed to manage closure.

Once approval to withdraw has been given, an action plan to manage the closure of the programme will be drawn up. This will encompass:

  • Communication with students regarding any impact on completion of their studies.
  • Confirmation to relevant academic and professional services staff (including Admissions, where there are implications for students who may have been offered places on the programme, and Academic Partnerships, where there is an impact on collaborative activity) of the timescale and arrangements for the discontinuation.
  • Communication with any relevant professional bodies or other stakeholders.
  • Communication with the External Examiner(s).

Appendix 1 of this document is a “Checklist for Proposed Discontinuation of a Programme/Subject Area” which can be used to identify and monitor operational requirements.

  1. Unanticipated discontinuation

As indicated in section 1 above, there may be rare occasions when previously unanticipated factors require the discontinuation of a programme to be considered. This will arise when an immediate, serious, evident or potential risk to any of the following is identified:

  • The effective maintenance of award quality and standards
  • The delivery of the student experience

Such situations require an immediate response in order to protect students’ interests.

The precise nature of each “unanticipated” occurrence will be distinct and will therefore require a bespoke response and action plan to be devised in order to manage the case. This will be the responsibility of the Dean of Faculty, who will have responsibility for oversight of communications with affected students and other stakeholders and for alerting key University academic and professional services staff to the situation (including those with relevant responsibility for quality assurance and the student experience).

After this, the processes described in section 4 above would take place.

Appendix 1

Plymouth University

Checklist for Proposed Discontinuation of a Programme/Subject Area

What / How / Action needed, by when
Identify any programmes with an internal progression route
Identify any programmes with a progression route from a Partner College programme
Identify any programmes with a progression route from a PUIC programme
Identify any programmes with an articulation agreement
Identify any programmes with an Exchange agreement
Identify any programmes with an intercalated degree route
Identify the proposed action for students who:
  • are referred
  • are repeating
  • have suspended study
  • are transferring into the programme

Identify any modules which are provided by other Faculties or Schools
Identify any modules which are delivered to other Faculties or Schools
Notify admissions and check if there are applications:
  • to the programme
  • to any programmes with a progression or articulation to the programme

Identify any implications for Open Day planning and
course marketing
Identify any implications for the Prospectus entry
What are the implications for the External Examiner(s)?
Communication strategy to existing students
Will the discontinuation cause staff to face potential redundancy?
Identify any PgR students in the subject area if staff redundancies are possible
Identify any requirements of accrediting or regulatory bodies
Identify any implications for the periodic review timetable
Corporate Information have confirmed that they do not require advance notification for e.g. KIS


Last date of expected entry:

Last date of expected graduation: