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key agencies and organisations

This page is no longer being updated (as of January 2012).


This list is in alphabetical order.

Aimhigher is a national programme aiming to widen participation in higher education by raising the awareness, aspirations and attainment of young people from under-represented groups.  The programme particularly focuses on young people from disadvantaged social and economic backgrounds, some minority ethnic groups and people with disabilities.

AISHE - All Ireland Society for Higher Education
AISHE is a professional society whose goal is to bring together and support those people who are concerned to advance higher education in the island of Ireland.

Association of Colleges (AoC)
The AoC was established in 1996 to promote the interests of further education colleges in England and Wales.  Their website holds information, guidance and advice on all aspects of the sector – including the provision of higher education in further education colleges.

The Arts Group
A Student Mission Group, bringing together elected representatives of students from UK FE and HE institutions and faculties with a specialist interests in the Arts.

Centres of Vocational Excellence (CoVE)
The CoVE programme and National Skills Academys (NSAs) are part of the Learning and Skills Council and aim to improve and develop skills for employers. These programmes are focused on delivering vocational skills that meet particular sector and industry needs through the development and delivery of high quality, specialist training across a range of sectors.

CHED - Centre for Higher Education Development

Based at the University of Cape Town. It is a cross-faculty unit that contributes to continual improvement in the quality of higher education through widening access, promoting excellence through the research-led developments.


Creative & Cultural Skills
Creative & Cultural Skills (CCS) is the Sector Skills Council for advertising, crafts, cultural heritage, design, music, performing, literary and visual arts. They are an “industry-led, campaigning organisation operating across the United Kingdom” aiming “to secure world beating creative enterprise and more diverse cultural industries.” For more information on the work of CCS go to their website at:

Edexcel provides a range of vocational and academic further and higher education courses.  The edexcel website provides information for students, staff, colleges, universities and employers involved with edexcel qualifications.


Eduserv is a not-for-profit IT services organisation and a registered charity.  Their mission is to realise the benefits of IT for learning and research. They are dedicated to developing effective technology solutions that meet the needs of universities, colleges and public sector organisations.



ESRC/TLRP (Economic and Social Research Council
The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is the UK's leading research funding and training agency addressing economic and social concerns. It aims to provide high quality research on issues of importance to business, the public sector and government

Foundation Degree Forward (fdf)
Foundation Degree Forward support the development, delivery and quality assurance of Foundation Degrees in further and higher education colleges.  Their website provides guidance for those developing and supporting Foundation Degrees in the form of publications, case studies, details of events and links to other useful sites.


GuildHE is one of the two formal representative bodies for Higher Education in the UK. It is a Company Limited by Guarantee and a Charity. It was founded in 1967 as the Standing Conference of Principals, registered as a company in 1992 and became GuildHE in 2006.

HERDSA - Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia Inc
HERDSA is Australasia's leading society in the field of higher education and brings together and informs anybody interested and involved in the improvement of teaching, learning and policy in higher education.

Higher Education Academy
The Higher Education Academy was established in 2003 to support learning and teaching at Higher Education level in Universities and Colleges.  The Academy also advises on policies and practices that impact on the student learning experience.


JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee)
JISC is an independent advisory body that works with further and higher education by providing strategic guidance, advice and opportunities use to use ICT to support learning, teaching, research and administration.

Learning and Skills Council (LSC)
The Learning and Skills Council is responsible for funding and planning vocational training in England.  The LSC is a non-departmental public body which began work in 2001, taking over the roles of the former Further Education Funding Council and Training and Enterprise Councils.

LFHE - Leadership Foundation for Higher Education

The LFHE (formerly known as HESDA) provides a dedicated service of support and advice on leadership, governance and management for all the UK's universities and higher education colleges.

Lifelong Learning Networks 
The Lifelong Learning Networks are an initiative set up support vocational progression into and through Higher Education.  The Networks comprise partnerships between further and higher education institutions on a generally regional basis.  There is, however, one national network dedicated to the Arts (NALN).

Making Practice Based Learning Work

Aims to enhance the quality of student experiences whilst on practice, i.e. work-based placements. A key part is a resource section containing materials that can be used by anyone involved in many aspects of practice based student supervision, including preparation and support.

MOVE - A Lifelong Learning Network for the East of England
MOVE is an organisation funded by the Higher Education Funding Council of England (HEFCE) to maximise opportunities for learners in the East of England to progress to Higher Education through vocational routes. MOVE works with Universities, Colleges, employers and other organisations across the region to help provide additional, flexible and vocational progression and learning opportunities to meet the needs of a wide range of people who could benefit from Higher Education.

National Academic Recognition Information Centre for the UK
The UK NARIC is the National Agency for the Department for Education and Skills (DfES). It is the only official information provider on the comparability of international qualifications from over 180 countries worldwide. The UK NARIC services provide the essential assistance in skills integration and progressions towards employment and further studies in the UK.

OCSLD - The Oxford Centre for Staff and Learning Development
The Oxford Centre for Staff and Learning Development (OCSLD) is one of the UK’s largest and most established providers of staff and educational development for further and higher education.  They currently run up to 200 staff development courses each year, drawing on a national network of specialist consultants.

– Professional & Organisational Development Network in HE
The POD Network developes and supports practitioners and leaders in higher education dedicated to enhancing learning and teaching. While POD members come primarily from the U.S. and Canada, the membership also represents twenty-three other countries.

Quality Assurance Agency (QAA)
The QAA is an independent body, established in 1997, to “safeguard the public interest in sound standards of higher education qualifications and to inform and encourage continuous improvement in the management of the quality of higher education.”


Reseach Councils links
National and international links found on BULB Link Catalogue of Internet Resources


Sector Skills Development Agency
The Sector Skills Development Agency (SSDA) is responsible for funding, supporting and monitoring the network of Sector Skills Councils (SSCs).  See below for the 3 SSCs related to art, design, media. The SSDA is a non-departmental public body with its main base in South Yorkshire and representatives across the UK. For more information on the work of SSDA go to their website at:


SEDA - Staff and Educational Development Association
SEDA is the professional association for staff and educational developers in the UK, promoting innovation and good practice in higher education. SEDA is seen by many as the shaper of thought and initiator of action in staff and educational development, not only in the UK but in the international domain also.

Skillfast-UK (now part of Skillset - see below)
Skillfast-UK is the Sector Skills Council for apparel, footwear, textiles and related businesses. They “exist to help employers compete in a global market, by ensuring access to a skilled workforce…” For more information on the work of Skillfast-UK go to their website at:


Skillset is the Sector Skills Council for the Audio Visual Industries (broadcast, film, video, interactive media and photo imaging). They aim “to make sure that the UK audio visual industries have the right people, with the right skills, in the right place, at the right time, so that our industries remain competitive.” For more information on the work of Skillset go to their website at:


SRHE - Society for Research into Higher Education
An independent society which aims to improve the quality of higher education through the encouragement of debate and publication on issues of policy, on the organisation and management of higher education institutions and on the curriculum, teaching and learning methods.

Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS)
UCAS is the central organisation that processes applications for full-time undergraduate courses at UK universities and colleges.

Universities UK
Universities UK is the representative body for the executive heads of UK universities and is recognised as the umbrella group for the university sector. It works to advance the interests of universities and to spread good practice throughout the higher education sector. Universities UK is a Company limited by guarantee with charitable status.

University Vocational Awards Council (UVAC)
UVAC is a not-for-profit organisation set up by the higher and further education sector in 1999 to support and champion higher vocational learning.