Skip to main content

Periodic External Review

This policy should be read in conjunction with: 

  • Our glossary, which provides an explanation of many of the key terms below. 
  • The Quality Assurance and Enhancement in Ministerial Formation Handbook from the Church of England.  

Periodic External Review 

TEIs undertake a single process for reflecting holistically on its provision which covers both the quality assurance requirements for Durham and the Ministry Development Team. This process is undertaken approximately every 6 years and is known as ‘Periodic External Review’ or ‘PER’. The review is carried out by a joint review team made up of Durham University reviewers and Ministry Development Team appointed reviewers.  

For the Ministry Development Team, the aims of Periodic External Review are: 

a) to assess an institution’s fitness for purpose in training for nationally authorised ministries – for the Church of England the focus is on ministries licensed under canon – and delivering its other educational and formational activity;  

b) to engage with and comment on the institution’s culture and practice of self-evaluation;  

c) to commend examples of good practice; and 

d) to make recommendations to enhance its life and work. 

For the University, the aims of Periodic External Review are:  

e) to undertake a detailed review of the academic quality and standards of the TEIs educational provision;  

f) to test the effectiveness of the TEIs policies and processes for assuring quality and standards, and enhancing the learning opportunities provided to students;  

g) to inform decision making on the renewal of the Common Awards partnerships with TEIs; 

h) to inform decision making on the revalidation of the Common Awards programmes delivered at TEIs; 

i) to commend areas of good practice;  

j) and to make recommendations for addressing any matters identified by the Durham review team.  

The PER process is not concerned with renewing the partnerships between the University and each TEI, or programme revalidation. All Common Awards partnerships are considered for renewal towards the end of the current validation period through a separate partnership renewal process; PER reports will be reviewed as part of the partnership renewal process. All Common Awards programmes are considered for revalidation towards the end of the current validation period through a separate programme revalidation process; PER reports will be reviewed as part of the programme revalidation process. 

PER reports are considered by the Quality and Standards Committee for the purpose of maintaining oversight of the academic quality and standards of TEIs and the Common Awards Management Board for the purpose of identifying and sharing good practice. The Quality and Formation Panel oversees the PER process for the Church of England.  

The PER visit will typically consist of the following: 

  • a meeting with TEI senior management to focus on any matters related to the operation of the Durham-TEI partnership; 
  • a meeting with a representative sample of TEI students to focus on the student experience.  Depending on the range of academic and ministerial tracks offered by the TEI multiple meetings may be held; 
  • meeting(s) with programme staff to focus on matters related to the curriculum and programmes delivered;
  • a tour of the resources/facilities. 


All TEIs have undergone the PER process for the Initial Validation period. Published reports can be found on the Church of England website. Periodic External Reviews are next scheduled to commence in the academic year 2023/24. 

Good Practice 

Good practice shared by individual TEIs or identified through the PER process is considered at the Common Awards Management Board and documented on our Good Practice page.