The general nature of Stage 2 and Stage 3 visits is outlined in Section 3.2 of the Accreditation Handbook, where it is indicated that Stage 2 may involve a visit by one inspector for one day, while Stage 3 will normally involve at least two inspectors for two days. A third inspector may be required for visits to larger institutions (more than 500 ftes) or those with a diverse academic programme.
The main purposes of the Stage 3 inspection are to assess what is observed during the visit and to consider the evidence regarding the institution’s ability to maintain and indeed raise standards in the long term. Consideration of the documentation provided before the visit will help in this respect and also, along with the Stage 2 inspection, where it occurred, helps the inspectors to identify issues within the eight Areas of Operation detailed below, which will be discussed with key staff.
The precise format of a Stage 3 inspection visit is likely to vary in relation to the size, nature, location and complexity of the institution, though the likely format will be agreed during the Stage 2 visit or by correspondence between the Principal and DETC staff. It is expected, however, that the inspectors will:
The institution will be asked to provide a suggested itinerary for the visit and meetings together with full timetables for all classes taking place during the inspection. The Reporting Inspector will consider these when allocating duties to members of the inspection team. The precise details of the visit, however, may be changed during the initial meeting with the Principal.