British Accreditation Council

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The British Accreditation Council for Independent Further and Higher Education was established in 1984 to provide a comprehensive quality assurance scheme for independent further and higher education in the UK. BAC accreditation is recognised the world over by students, agents and government officials as the clearest mark of educational quality in the private sector. Alongside the British Council, whose Accreditation UK scheme serves as the definitive guide to the country’s English language centres, BAC has overseen the inspection of private post-16 education for over 30 years.

BAC is committed to both encouraging the highest standards of education offered by independent colleges and providing prospective students with an invaluable guide to quality in an often complex sector. Its charitable status informs its efforts not merely to pass judgement on institutions, but also to nurture their attempts to raise standards and the quality of education for all.

Its central office staff, a network of expert inspectors, and a team of experienced specialist consultants work together to help independent education and training providers raise their standards and reach their potential.

BAC’s services include accreditation and bespoke consultancy for a wide range of diverse education providers. UK and overseas governments seek BAC’s advice based on its experience and unrivalled knowledge of the sector.

BAC accreditation is recognised by the UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI), part of the Home Office, as a qualifying requirement for institutions wishing to enrol students on Short-Term Study Visas: students from outside the EEA will only secure a UK Short-Term Study Visa if they have a genuine offer from an accredited institution.


The British Accreditation Council has been a member of Enqua since 2015,[1] became a member of INQAAHE[2] in 2006 and has a memorandum of agreement with the Quality Assurance Agency.[3] The Chief Executive of the BAC is a member of the British Council’s Accreditation Scheme Advisory Committee.[4] The British Accreditation Council is a stakeholder of the Federation of Awarding Bodies.[5] It also a onto the European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education (EQAR) since 2015.

Charitable objectives[edit]

The charitable objectives of the organisation are:

  • To improve and enhance the standards of independent further and higher educational institutions by the establishment of a system of accreditation of such institutions and bodies administering schemes for such institutions and by the provision of an advisory and consultancy service in the field of independent further and higher education;
  • To define the eligibility of institutions and bodies to apply for such accreditation and to establish the criteria and standards to be observed by institutions and bodies applying for such accreditation;
  • To arrange for inspection of institutions and bodies applying for such accreditation and to prescribe fees payable therefore;
  • To act as the national accrediting authority for independent further and higher education.[6]

Research and development activities[edit]

As well as assisting law enforcement in cases of potential fraud,[7] the British Accreditation Council has provided evidence on the private sector to the UK parliament.[8] In 2008, the charity undertook a research project on private further and higher education in Kosovo, as requested by the British Council and the Kosovo Government.[9] The findings of that project were published in a report in July 2008, which was fully endorsed by the Kosovo Government.[10]

In 2012 the organisation was commissioned along with CFE by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to provide a comprehensive picture of provision by privately funded institutions operating in the UK higher education (HE) sector.[11]

Inspection and accreditation[edit]

The British Accreditation Council inspects and accredits around 250 organisations within the UK and overseas. An inspection of a private college assesses four main areas:

  • Management, Staffing and Administration
  • Teaching, Learning and Assessment
  • Student Welfare
  • Premises and Facilities.[12]

As well as private colleges such as Hult International Business School, the charity inspects training providers such as Crown Agents. In October 2012, it announced that it would also inspect and accredit online colleges.[13]

Non-UK colleges accredited by the organisation include, City College (international faculty of the University of Sheffield), AKMI Athens Metropolitan College, AKTO (Art & Design), American University of Culture & Education (AUCE), BCA (Business College Athens), HTMi, Hotel & Tourism Management Institute, IMI University Centre, Independent Science & Technology (IST) Studies, International University College, Sofia, Mediterranean College - Athens, Mediterranean College - Thessaloniki, New York College, Athens-SBS, New York College, Thessaloniki, Rushmore Business School, University of New York in Prague and VUZF University. Until October 2012, colleges outside the UK were only eligible for BAC accreditation if they offered higher education courses and had a formal validation agreement or other link with a UK higher education institution, awarding body or BAC-accredited college.[14] In October 2012, a new accreditation scheme was launched for certain overseas institutions that did not meet these criteria.[15]

Inspection reports are considered by the Accreditation Committee, which includes representatives from the British Council and the Council of Validating Universities.[16]


  1. ^ "ENQA - Detail View". Retrieved 2013-08-17. 
  2. ^ "Member profile". Inqaahe. 2013-01-01. Retrieved 2013-08-17. 
  3. ^ "Memorandum of Agreement concerning the collection and use of information" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-03-05. 
  4. ^ "ASAC - About us - British Council - Accreditation". British Council. Retrieved 2013-08-17. 
  5. ^ "Bac British Accreditation Council | Fab Stakeholders". Retrieved 2013-08-17. 
  6. ^ [1][dead link]
  7. ^ Matthews, David (2012-04-05). "College principal cheated Herts and students | General". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 2013-08-17. 
  8. ^ "The Future of Higher Education (13th July 2011)". Retrieved 2013-08-17. 
  9. ^ "Our work in education and society". British Council. Retrieved 2014-03-05. 
  10. ^ "Kosova Accreditation Project Report : July 2008" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-03-05. 
  11. ^ "Statistics at BIS - GOV.UK". Retrieved 2013-08-17. 
  12. ^ "College Scheme Document" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-03-05. 
  13. ^ "International Education News l The PIE News l BAC unveils accreditation for non-UK institutions". 2012-10-03. Retrieved 2013-08-17. 
  14. ^ "International higher education accreditation". BAC. Retrieved 2013-08-17. 
  15. ^ "BAC launches new accreditation schemes". 2012-10-11. Retrieved 2013-08-17. 
  16. ^ "Accreditation Committee". BAC. Retrieved 2013-08-17. 

External links[edit]