The UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF) describes key dimensions of the roles of teaching and supporting learning within the higher education (HE) environment. It is a national framework for comprehensively recognising and benchmarking teaching and learning support roles within higher education in the UK.

The approvals system is open to all providers of HE and organisations that provide materials and resources to support HE including private companies, associated professional organisations and charities, as well as traditional HE providers. It provides an opportunity for parties to gain external approval against this sector recognised framework. Achieving HEA Approval demonstrates that a resource or product (e.g. a CPD module) is aligned to the UKPSF and as such could provide a valuable addition to an organisation’s developmental pathway. It is important to be clear that approval does not automatically result in the award of Fellowship of the HEA. Approved resources can provide support for learning and teaching professionals in developing themselves in a way that might be useful in a recognition application. For example, some institutions may incorporate approved resources into their own CPD pathways towards recognition for staff. Or, others who engage with approved resources may use them to collect evidence (alongside reflective portfolios, essays, etc.) to apply for fellowship via the HEA directly.

HEA Approval vs HEA Accreditation - what’s the difference?

HEA Accreditation
The defining feature of HEA Accreditation is that upon successful completion of an accredited programme or scheme, participating individuals are automatically eligible to be awarded professional recognition at the appropriate HEA Fellowship category.

HEA Approval
HEA Approval differs from HEA Accreditation in that it does not automatically result in participating individuals being awarded professional recognition as a Fellow of the HEA. HEA Approval is external confirmation that a product/resource is aligned to the UKPSF and therefore may used as evidence towards an application for HEA Fellowship.

There are only two processes through which Fellowship is awarded, either by completing an HEA accredited course or by direct application through the HEA (as linked above).


Useful resources

- Six steps to HEA approvals

- HEA approval guidance

- HEA approval application document