The following FAQs should answer any of your queries regarding Quality Mark, how to apply, and how it is delivered. If you still require any further information whatsoever, then please contact the team - we'll be more than happy to help in whatever way we can.

Who can apply?

The Quality Mark Early Years is available to all registered providers of early years provision for children from birth to statutory school age and to nursery/ reception classes. This includes for example, nurseries, early childhood centres, playgroups, pre-schools and EYFS provision in independent, private and maintained schools.

The Quality Mark Primary/Secondary Award is available to all schools with primary and secondary aged pupils; this includes mainstream and special schools, maintained sector and independent schools of all sizes. 

What is the difference between the Award Pathway and the Improvement Pathway?

If a school or setting has an inspection outcome (Ofsted, Estyn, ISI) of good or better, then they will follow an Award Pathway. The assessment visits will be carried out by Quality Mark assessors and will use the audit tool to support evidence against the Quality Mark 10 elements (11 elements for Secondary Phase). 

If a school or setting inspection outcome is not identified as good or better and there is an improvement focus on English and mathematics, then they will follow the Improvement Pathway. If the improvement focus is not linked to English or mathematics, then the school or setting may move through the Award Pathway. The Improvement Pathway is open to current Quality Mark schools and settings, and those thinking of joining the Quality Mark.

The Improvement Pathway offers settings bespoke support, advice and guidance from credible and highly skilled Improvement Specialists.

Assessment visits for the Improvement Pathway will be carried out by a school improvement specialist and will focus on supporting the school to evidence improvement based on their priorities in English and mathematics. The visits will follow the same timelines as the Award Pathway and an evidenced-based report will be written by the school improvement specialist to support the progress the school is making towards their priorities. Once a school is re-inspected and moves into a good or better inspection category, they can transfer over to the Award Pathway.

NB: An Improvement Pathway school or setting may only follow the Award Pathway if they are supported by a letter evidencing improvement from a Local Authority Advisor or School Improvement Partner.

How long is the Quality Mark award valid?

For UK settings, the Quality Mark is awarded for two years. At the end of that period the award can be renewed for a further two years (and in subsequent cycles) providing the school or setting continues to meet the criteria for all elements and can demonstrate that holding the Quality Mark has had a positive impact on its provision and practice. 


How is the provision assessed?

A Quality Mark Assessor, accredited by Tribal and appropriate to your phase, will review the evidence and carry out an assessment visit to your setting. The recommendation for the Quality Mark award can only be made by an accredited Assessor. There is no prescribed start or end date for the award. Applications can be made throughout the year. For schools or settings following an improvement pathway school improvement specialists will work with you to gather evidence based on your priorities in English and mathematics.

What does the evidence about the practice and provision need to show?

A school or setting will be required to show that at the time of the assessment:

  • it meets the appropriate criteria for its context in all Quality Mark elements;
  • for early years, the whole setting/school is committed to improving communication, language, literacy and mathematics taking account of the age and stage of development of each child and within the EYFS framework; for primary and secondary schools the whole setting/school is committed to improving English and mathematics;
  • the abilities and achievements of young children in communication, language, literacy and mathematics and in English and mathematics in primary and secondary settings are improving. Settings spend varying amounts of time on the journey depending on their starting points. They must show that all elements of the Quality Mark are met before the award can be granted.

Evidence to show that the quality of provision and practice meets the criteria for each element must be provided at the time of assessment visit and should come from a wide range of sources. We do not require portfolios of evidence as part of the accreditation process. Practitioners should signpost assessors to evidence using the audit tool.

There is no prescribed amount of evidence required to substantiate each element. Participants may find that they have much of the evidence readily available, as it will have been used for other purposes. Each setting should make a professional judgement in selecting the most appropriate evidence to illustrate how they meet criteria in the context of their setting. As highlighted in the audit tool guidance the same piece of core evidence may be used for more than one element, provided the analysis relates to the relevant criteria. Evidence should be summarised on the self-audit tool. The self-audit tool may also serve as a useful working document to support the evidence base.

Assessment is not based solely on an evaluation of the evidence submitted or a review of documents. The Assessor will gather additional evidence during focused observations of practice during the evaluation visit and/or a ‘virtual learning walk’ around the setting or school. An assessor will also seek evidence through discussion with key stakeholders, such as practitioners, parents/carers, representatives of any management committee, advisory group or governing body. Where appropriate, Assessors will talk to and take account of the views of pupils. 

How is achievement of a Quality Mark recognised?

The Quality Mark for English and mathematics is awarded by Tribal and is only available to settings that have been assessed as meeting the accreditation standard. Schools or settings holding the award are entitled to display the logo, which is supplied electronically, on information and publicity materials, such as a letterhead, prospectus or advertisement. Those who achieve the award also receive an award certificate and plaque.

How much does Quality Mark cost?

Quality Mark is available through two routes:

1. Via a Local Authority or Partnership Group, where the partnership manages Quality Mark directly with their schools. Contact us if you would like to find out if your Local Authority manages a Quality Mark programme.

2. Alternatively, if you are a school or EY setting in the UK you can apply for Quality Mark directly through Tribal at a cost of £750 for the two-year accreditation, and £550 for any subsequent two-year period. This route allows you to have a one-off visit every two years and as long as you meet all the Quality Mark elements you can be awarded accreditation. Places contact us for costings for awards for FE, International Schools and Independent Schools.

How does a school or setting apply for Quality Mark?

It takes just 3 steps to apply for your Quality Mark award....

  1. Complete and submit the Initial Interest form
  2. We will send you an information pack containing details of the application process, the subscription options available to you and the Service Level Agreement for you to sign and return.
  3. Choose your preferred subscription option and return the signed Service Level Agreement

On receipt of your signed agreement,  you will have access to the Quality Mark resources relevant to your setting, including the appropriate audit tool and guidance. Your Regional Director will also allocate your Assessor to arrange the first visit and ensure you start your journey on the best possible footing.

If you would like a Quality Mark information pack including details of the subscription options, an overview for your phase, and a copy of the Service Level Agreement, please let us know using the Initial Interest Form on the Contact Us page.


Have a query or wish to start your Quality Mark journey?