Quality Mark FAQs

If you are thinking about registering for the Quality Mark, you may have some questions. Below, we have carefully collated some of the most frequently asked questions from schools who have already been through the process.

  • Do we have to be members of the HA?

    Membership of the HA is an essential requirement. The Quality Mark programme is only open to schools in full corporate membership.

    If your school is not currently a corporate member you will need to join, or to upgrade your personal membership:

    Please note that all Quality Mark registrations will operate through the schools' corporate membership account, even if the lead name for the Quality Mark is different from the lead name for the corporate membership. However, a corporate membership allows several members of staff to log in, access the Quality Mark unit and upload materials to the portfolio. The expectation is that schools will keep their corporate membership going throughout the 3-year period of their award.

  • How do I get started?

    Once you have registered, you will receive emails asking for further registration details and then you will be informed once your access is set up. The first thing to do is to access the QM module in your My HA space and read it carefully. The first task is then to complete your QM audit. All the documents you need are provided in the QM companion module that you will gain access to following registration.

  • Where will I find what I need?

    Once your registration is processed and you are all set up – the QM module will be dropped into your My HA space. Simply log in to the HA website and then click on My HA. You will then find an information module and the QM phases module as well as a file upload facility for your electronic portfolio. The QM phases module takes you through the process step by step and all documentation that you may need is in the module. You can use the file upload facility to upload your electronic portfolio, but please be aware that video is usually too large to upload so if you have any files larger than 4MB per file, you will need to send these to your assessor at the time of assessment via WeTransfer.

  • How much will it cost?

    The Quality Mark is non-profit-making and will cost £540 plus VAT in total. Upon registration you will be asked to pay a fee of £210 plus VAT. This covers the core costs to the HA as a charity of running and administering the Quality Mark. Following payment, you will gain access to all of the materials you need to complete the QM. Please note that full set-up can take up to FIVE working days. You may not apply to be assessed for the Quality Mark unless you have registered. Upon assessment you will pay a further £330 plus reasonable travel expenses to your assessor. This fee goes directly to your assessor to pay for their time. We believe this simple separation of fees will help schools to spread the cost, possibly over more than one budget.

  • Fundraising

    We understand that school budgets can be tight. There may be occasional small bursaries to support schools. Some schools may wish to take part in fundraising activities in order to raise the funds needed to participate. It may be possible for some of these activities to also provide evidence to meet some of the QM crtiteria, for example holding a historical event that reaches out into the wider community. One example might be to develop and  hold a historical exhibition that pupils have helped to curate and charge an entry for parents and community visitors.  Local Historical Association branches may also see fundraising events as an opportunity to support history in local schools. It may be worth contacting your local branch of the HA or history society to see if they might be willing to hold a sponsored talk or historical walk with your invovlement and on your behalf. 

  • When will I hear from my assessor?

    Ideally, you should be matched with an assessor within 3 months, but occasionally this can take a little longer. Your assessor will email you to introduce themselves and check in with you every 3 months during the process. You can book an interim support visit from your assessor if you wish, but this is at the additional cost of £140 plus travel for a 2 hour session.

  • Who will be my assessor?

    We currently use a pool of 10 QM assessors. You can meet all of our assessors here. While we try to match you to your nearest assessor, this is not always possible and will depend upon availability. When we can’t match you to your nearest, we then look to assessors who are reasonable close or who have connections to the area that make it possible to keep costs down. Where possible, we will try to keep assessor travel costs to a minimum, but occasionally these can cost up to £100 in addition to the cost of assessment. You will not know who your assessor is until you receive a message confirming that they are your assessor.

    Read more about some of our QM assessors

  • Do we get a visit before the assessment?

    A visit before the assessment visit does not come as a standard part of the QM; however, you can book an interim visit at an extra cost of £165 plus travel for a 2 hour visit. Please contact Olivia Dent on qualitymark@history.org.uk for more details.

  • The criteria and suggested evidence don’t exactly fit my context – does this mean my school is not eligible to take part?

    The QM criteria are designed to be flexible no matter what your context as assessors expect you to interpret the criteria in a way that suits your context and resources at your disposal. It should also be noted that while some of the suggested evidence has an English focus – any equivalents from other UK jurisdictions are admissible. While we do assess schools outside of the UK, these schools should either be following a British style curriculum and/or studying for British style examinations or other examinations that are recognised in the UK such as International Baccalaureate.

  • How long do we have to complete the award?

    The usual timeline of the QM is 12 months. Schools will have 12 months from the date of access to complete the award and be assessed; however, schools that feel ready to be assessed do not have to wait 12 months before they can be assessed. Applicant schools can apply for assessment at any time, but 12 months should be considered a maximum.

  • How long will the award last?

    Schools keep their Quality Mark for three years following the initial award. Schools wishing to renew after three years can do so without a visit, but through the provision of a small additional portfolio. After six years of QM status, a full re-assessment is required. For uninterrupted coverage you should renew by the end of the month given on your report. However, we do allow a short one month window of leeway. If your coverage lapses – you have a maximum of 3 months from lapse to renew. If you do not renew in this time, you will have to re-register and complete a new full assessment.

  • How do I know when it’s time to renew?

    Your QM assessment report will provide your renewal date. It is your responsibility to apply for renewal although the HA will also contact you with a reminder around 2-3 months before you are due to renew. You can find all of the information you need for renewal in the renewal guidance document in your My HA module.

  • How long do we have to renew?

    For uninterrupted coverage you should renew by the end of the month given on your report. However, we do allow a short one month window of leeway. If your coverage lapses – you have a maximum of 3 months from lapse to renew. If you do not renew in this time, you will have to re-register and complete a new full assessment.

  • What if my predecessor registered for QM and I have only just picked up where they left off?

    We do expect those leading the QM to fully hand over the process to a new member of staff before they leave the school if they are moving on. They should also inform us that a new member of staff is taking over. This ensures smooth transition from one leader to the next. We do not normally consider changes of staff as an acceptable reason for extending beyond the 12 month period – however, we will consider circumstances on a case by case basis and in some circumstances it may be possible to negotiate a short extension. Please see our terms and conditions for more details.

  • How should the portfolio be presented?

    You should use the electronic file upload to present your portfolio as far as possible. We do not stipulate a format in which to present it as we know that all schools work differently. You should present the evidence in the way that feels most comfortable to you. Examples from previous applicants include the use of a PowerPoint for each section with screenshots/attachments of evidence. Some schools prefer to upload word files of evidence with an overview document.

  • What kinds of evidence should we include?

    Again, we do not exactly stipulate what kinds of evidence to include as every school is different. However, you should expect to include some of the following as examples: History policy, history curriculum overview, photos of displays/enrichment activities, CPD certificates, action plans, history lesson sequences or medium term plans, examination/progress data where applicable, Ofsted or other inspection/school improvement feedback that is specific to history. For a full list of the kinds of evidence you might consider submitting, please consult the guidance document on the types of evidence to submit. You’ll find this in your QM module.

  • Do we have to complete an evaluation?

    Yes. The evaluation is an integral part of the QM process and we expect all schools taking part to submit an evaluation following their assessment. This is just a short report and details of what to include can be found in the QM companion module.

  • What happens now?

    Once we receive your registration, we will be in touch. You will be set up as a Quality Mark school and you will have exactly one year from the date of set-up to apply for assessment. If you do not apply for assessment within this time, you will lose your £200 (excl. VAT) registration fee and you will need to re-register. 

  • Are there any eligibility criteria all QM schools must meet before deciding to take part?

    Yes. As a minimum, all eligible schools must have:

    • A weekly time allocation for history of 2 periods per week at secondary level and an average of one hour per week for primary, even if this is in designated blocks of time.
    • A mostly or fully staffed history department led by a history specialist in the case of secondary.
    • A school covering all year groups it caters for or intends to cater for in the case of new schools.

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