Croydon Consulting

Education - the road to a better future

PTE Management System (QMS) Model

Written by Peter W Keith

PTE Management Systems and QMS Manuals based on this PTE Management System (QMS) Model, are now used widely by PTEs and education professionals throughout New Zealand.

The Model has been developed by Croydon Education Management Consultant – Peter Keith. Peter has been a prolific writer and creator of original education management resources and documentation for over 20 years.

This Model is fully implemented in the Croydon PTE QMS Manual.  Development Guides for the Croydon PTE QMS Manual, including all the required templates, forms, exemplars and policy documentation, are available from Croydon Consulting.

PTE Management System

A PTE Management System (QMS) is a documented, structured system of policies, standards, guidelines, processes & procedures and organisational information. The purpose of a PTE Management System (QMS)is to create an effective governance, management and operational framework and to ensure appropriate standards and guidelines are established, and processes & procedures are in place and implemented, to successfully govern, manage and operate a PTE.

The key aims and requirements of a modern PTE Management System (QMS) are to implement and achieve:

  • The PTE’s Charter
  • Education good practice
  • Effective governance, management and operation of the PTE
  • Compliance with relevant legislation, common law and regulations
  • NZQA performance requirements & standards
  • Continuous sustainable improvement
  • Social Responsibility

A PTE Management System and QMS Manual should define, support and implement: (i) the PTE’s Charter, its strategic intent and Goals & Purposes (ii) recognised and accepted education good practice (iii) proven governance and management systems & strategies (iv) effective operational processes & procedures (v) compliance with all relevant legislation, common law, regulations, NZQA rules, business protocols and codes of practice (vi) continuous sustainable improvement in performance (vii) NZQA performance requirements and standards as set out in the NZQA Tertiary Evaluation Indicators (viii) social responsibility.

PTE QMS Standard & Guiding Principles

PTE QMS Systems / Manuals should be based on the ‘standardised quality management methodology’, with a clear set of guiding principles (aligned with the PTE’s Charter) and a robust Management System Standard. Such as the generic, internationally developed Standard ISO / DIS 21001: (2018) for Educational Organisations; or a ‘practice-based’ PTE Standard, such as PTE Management System Standard CC 1001: (2016). This Standard specifies the guiding principles, aims & requirements, structure and documentation of a modern New Zealand PTE QMS Management System. 

The key Guiding Principles that underpin this PTE Management System Model are: the importance of a relevant & effective Charter; a focus on student learning outcomes; on-going consultation & engagement with stakeholders; holistic, integrated systems & processes; clear and well documented policies & procedures; evaluative quality assurance; a robust organisational framework and structure; a focus on continuous sustainable improvement in performance; the importance of being socially responsible; compliance and conformity; student centred learning; an evidence-based results-focused (outcomes) approach; valuing staff & being a good employer; ethical conduct and integrity; effective student well-being, guidance & support systems; keeping workers and students  safe from harm; course design & delivery that matches student needs; and maintaining a financially sustainable business model.

This PTE Management System (QMS) Model is based on the criteria, requirements and expectations of the practice-based PTE Management System Standard CC 1001: (2016).

PTE Management Systems (QMS) and individual QMS Handbook documentation must be organisation-specific. It must be tailored and ‘customised’ to the PTEs context and circumstances and reflect the specific needs, and requirements of the organisation & its stakeholders, and relevant good practice. It must also match the PTE’s Charter, culture, core values and strategic intent, and the specific size and nature of the organisation.

A PTE’s systems, policies, inter-related processes & procedures and practice, in different situations throughout the PTE, including the PTEs learning programmes, must support, align  and be consistent with the organisation’s Charter and Goals & Purposes.

PTE Management Systems and QMS Manuals comprise three basic types of documents:

  • Charter – defines ‘who’ and ‘what’ the organisation is, its Mission & Vision, its future direction, its Goals & Purposes and strategic intent.
  • Governance Policies and Guidelines – these set out ‘what’ the Board wants to achieve, how it intends to govern, how it will organise itself, control the management of the PTE and achieve the PTE’s Goals & Purposes. For example, the Governance & Management Policy
  • Operational Policies and Guidelines – these set out how the CEO, Management and Staff will implement the Board’s Policies, meet the PTE’s legal, compliance and other obligations, and implement good practice. For example, the Privacy Policy

The needs, expectations and requirements of learners, employers, the relevant industry / sector, community and other key stakeholders and the results of the PTE’s consultation and engagement with these stakeholders, should underpin and guide the development of the PTE’s Charter and resulting Statement of Goals & Purposes. The PTE’s Charter, Goals & Purposes and Strategic Plan then form the foundation on which the organisation’s Management System and QMS Manual and associated Governance / Management and Operational Policies and Processes & Procedures are based and developed. PTE Policies should be logical, consistent across the PTE, sustainable over time and reality tested.

PTE Policies & Procedures

PTE Policies are Board developed documents that express a Governance Board’s strategic intent and provide purpose and direction for the PTE. Policies also set out ‘what’ the Board wants to achieve and a broad course of action to achieve it. Policies should include a Rationale (reason for the policy), a Policy Statement (the purpose of the policy) and Policy Guidelines that set clear standards, specifications and performance expectations, and provide a framework for implementing the Policy. A Policy should also include reference to the Relevant Legislation, Relevant Documents, Ratification by the Board and the Policy Review date.

The PTE Processes, Procedures and Organisational Information are developed directly from the Policy Guidelines and outline ‘how’ the Policy will be implemented and ‘how’ the PTE will implement its standards. A process is a collection of related, structured activities or tasks that produce a specific outcome. Processes are documented in the form of procedures and procedural documentation. Procedures are clear, detailed strategies, steps or action required to perform or implement a process or task. Procedures are at day-to-day operational or management level. The level of detail used in the QMS procedures should match the needs and requirements of the PTE and the expertise and experience of staff. The essential link between the PTE Policies and PTE Procedures is accepted ‘good practice’.

Procedural documentation includes Development Toolkits and Operational Templates, Forms, Checklists and Information Sheets. Operational Templates and Forms, including E-Templates and E-Forms, enable the PTE processes & procedures and associated strategies and practice to be implemented effectively and consistently and in line with ‘good practice’. Checklists are used by PTE staff to ensure information and processes & procedures are complete and accurate. Organisational Information provides details of the PTE’s key operational processes such as Internal Monitoring, Stakeholder Consultation & Engagement and Internal Reporting.

PTE Strategic & Annual Planning

The PTE’s Goals & Purposes are used to develop specific Strategic Goals and a Strategic Plan for the PTE. Each Strategic Goal should have a number of Desired Outcomes and projected Targets, which are set out in the annual PTE Management Plan. Progress towards achieving the Outcomes / Targets are then monitored, measured, evaluated and reviewed against relevant standards, using appropriate Outcome Measures and Benchmarks. The annual PTE Management Plan, annual PTE Performance Plan and any current Improvement Action Plans should be closely linked and integrated with the PTE’s Self Assessment Programme.

PTE Management Systems should use an ‘evaluative, evidence-based and results- focused (outcomes) approach’ with a key emphasis on achieving the desired learning outcomes for students and meeting the current and emerging needs of the community, employers and other key stakeholders.

PTE QMS Handbooks

 A PTE’s Management System QMS Manual should be ‘coherent, in a logical order, well structured’, have a clearly defined scope and divided into key Management areas (or subsystems).  Each Management area should have its own ‘stand-alone’ Handbook that includes an over-arching Policy. QMS Handbooks should be written in clear, precise, plain language and easy to understand. The Handbooks should have a common structure and format and have a practical, sensible, easy to follow layout. The content of the different Handbooks should be internally cross-referenced, integrated and linked into a holistic, co-ordinated and robust Management System and QMS Manual.

The following PTE QMS Manual Handbooks are recommended:

  • Part 1 Governance and Management Handbook
  • Part 2 Teaching and Learning Programme Handbook
  • Part 3 Student Management and Support Handbook           
  • Part 4 Personnel Management Handbook                             
  • Part 5 Assessment and Moderation Handbook
  • Part 6 Health and Safety Handbook                 
  • Part 7 Self Assessment Programme Handbook                     
  • Part 8 Legislation Compliance Handbook

Internal Guides & Codes of Practice

The PTE QMS Manual Handbooks should include relevant Internal Guides for specific stakeholders, personnel and / or areas of responsibility within the PTE, such as the Governance Guide, Employee Guide, Health and Safety Guide and Assessment and Moderation Guide. The purpose of an Internal Guide is to provide specific information and guidance to key stakeholders, staff or groups within the organisation on their specific role and responsibilities.

Internal Guides should include a summary of the relevant policies, procedures, good practice guidelines, rules, requirements and expectations of the PTE. Where appropriate, Internal Guides should also include the relevant Codes of Practice (approved methods of meeting regulative requirements)or Codes of Conduct (expected behaviour, ethics or conduct) for specific staff roles and responsibilities, such as the Assessor Code of Practice and Staff Code of Conduct.

PTE Management System (QMS) and Handbooks must be relevant, useful and effective at all levels within the PTE i.e. at governance, management and operational levels. QMS Manuals must be practical, sustainable over time and of genuine real value to the day-to-day management and successful operation of the PTE, and able to be used as a reference guide by new and future staff. Clear, well documented requirements and expectations helps to prevent misunderstanding and maintain consistency across the PTE.

PTE Management System QMS Manuals must be user-friendly and the various policies and procedures well publicised, widely communicated, shared and well understood by staff. Management and staff should have ready access to their own copy (desk manual or digital equivalent) and be encouraged to make regular use of the specific QMS Handbook(s) and Internal Guide(s) that relate to their individual role and responsibilities within the organisation. There must be clear, well documented staff roles and responsibilities, authorities, accountabilities and lines of communication and reporting operating within the organisation.

PTE QMS Systems Review

PTE’s need to be constantly assessing how well their systems and processes are working. QMS Manuals must be living, evolving, working documents with operational procedures that are subject to constant scrutiny, critique and review. The PTE’s Self Assessment Programme should include (as required) ‘Targeted’ and ‘Cyclic’ Reviews of specific areas or activities within the organisation. One type of Cyclic Review is QMS Systems Review.

QMS Systems Reviews are formal timetabled Reviews, usually carried out every 2-3 years, to assess and determine if a Management System (i.e. the structures, Policies, processes and procedures and associated documentation) are compliant, valid, fit for purpose and representative of good practice.

QMS Systems Reviews should not be confused with annual Internal Audits or Self Audits, which are used to monitor and assess the quality or effectiveness of the implementation of the system and procedures, such as the consistent implementation of good practice and conformity & compliance by the PTE. Internal Audits are also conducted for the purpose of identifying opportunities for improvement. Self Review Checklists are used by PTEs to guide and inform QMS System Reviews. Self Audit Checklists are used to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the Management System processes, procedures and practice.

A robust QMS Systems Review and associated gap analysis enables a PTE to be confident that their QMS Manual and Systems are ‘fit for purpose’ and compliant – before signing-off on the NZQA Annual Return Statutory Declaration and NZQA Pre EER Compliance Declaration. Systems Reviews and Internal Audits also enable a PTE to be better prepared for their next NZQA External Evaluation & Review (EER) which includes the NZQA compliance Key Evaluation Question: ‘How effectively are important compliance accountabilities managed by the PTE’.

QMS System Reviews for new PTEs

It is good practice for all new PTEs to be pro-active and carry out a full internal systems review of their original PTE QMS Systems & Manuals within the first year of operation – so that the QMS can continue to improve and develop and reflect the changing circumstances, needs and requirements of the PTE.

N.B. NZQA conducts a Validation visit to each newly registered PTE six months after registration, to check that the QMS is relevant and that the PTE is operating as stated in its QMS and registration application documentation.

The PTE must engage and consult with stakeholders and use the insight, feedback and knowledge to critique, evaluate, update and modify their QMS. A QMS Systems Review involves asking evaluative questions, such as: How useful and effective is our current QMS? Does it work? Is it ‘fit for purpose’? Is it well understood? Is all the existing QMS documentation necessary? Is the level of detail appropriate? What parts of the QMS are working well and what are not? Are there any deficiencies or gaps? How can the QMS be improved and what specific changes are required? 

The purpose of the QMS Systems Review is to update and strengthen the important Management areas within the QMS, to proactively identify strengths and opportunities for improvement and to correct any deficiencies; also, to ensure that the QMS remains current and is compliant and consistent with good practice. See the Article written by Peter W Keith ( – ‘Common Deficiencies & Non-compliance in PTE QMS Manuals’.

As a PTE matures, builds organisational capacity and moves on from the initial setting-up/establishment phase (and staff gain the necessary experience and understanding of how the PTE operates), the needs and requirements of the PTE change – the QMS should be adapted and modified accordingly.  It may be necessary, to simplify and reshape parts of the QMS into a more functional and usable document by identifying and removing any redundant content or unnecessary detail. The aim of the QMS Systems Review is to keep the QMS document relevant and current and make it a more useful and effective management tool.

PTE Self Assessment

Self Assessment and use of the Tertiary Evaluation Indicators are an integral part of a modern PTE QMS System / Manual. Self Assessment must be well-planned & systematic and have a clear, well understood framework and robust process. It must be effective, authentic, collaborative and embedded into the culture of the PTE. It should take place at all levels within the organisation – at student level (Student Self Reflection and Evaluation), at staff level (Staff Self Reflection & Inquiry), at programme level (Programme Evaluation and Review) and at governance level (Annual Management Plan Review).

Self Assessment must clearly link, feed into and inform the PTEs Strategic & Annual Planning and any current Improvement Action Plans. It must be genuinely used to inform decision-making & resource allocation, enhance performance and support continuous sustainable improvement of the organisation.The self assessment process should be used by PTEs to highlight their special character, and to ensure that their distinctive contribution and associated strengths are recognised and valued – both within the PTE itself and by external stakeholders (including NZQA).

Quality Assurance within the PTE should centre around Self Assessment and the NZQA External Evaluation and Review (EER). The NZQA Key Evaluation Questions (KEQ’s) and Tertiary Evaluation Indicators should be used to provide a framework, performance requirements / standards and a focus and scope to plan and inform Self Assessment. The Tertiary Evaluation Indicators and the associated PTE performance standards should be used to guide both Educational Self Assessment and Organisational Self Assessment. The Indicators can also be used to monitor, evaluate and review student achievement and education outcomes and to improve teaching practice and learning programmes. The Tertiary Evaluation Indicators also provide a standard to assess, measure and evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of the PTE’s key contributing processes, as part of Strategic Self Review.

The PTE must pro-actively engage, consult and collaborate with stakeholders and use the feedback and insight to monitor, review, develop and continuously improve the PTE’s policies, processes, procedures, documentation and practice.

Personnel Management

PTEs must have compliant, structured, well documented good practice personnel management systems and processes in place, that are effectively implemented. The personnel management policies and procedures should be fair, supportive, encourage a team culture, and provide a safe, positive working environment for staff; plus, create an employment relationship of mutual trust, respect and communication.

The following areas must be covered in PTE Personnel Management Policies & procedures: Staff Protected Disclosure, Privacy Policy, Staff Recruitment & Selection, Complaints against Staff, Staff Performance Management, Staff Discipline, Equal Employment Opportunities, Staff Professional Learning & Development. Personnel Management processes and operational documentation should include: Staff Job Descriptions & Performance Specifications, Staff Self Reflection and Inquiry, Staff Performance Plan & Agreement, Staff Performance Appraisal & Review and Staff Professional Learning Plans.

Social Responsibility

As education providers, PTE’s should be socially responsible by being aware of and accountable for the impact of their decisions, actions and activities on individual people, the community, society as whole and the environment. This is done by being a good corporate citizen, through ethical conduct & integrity, and by putting in place a genuine, fit for purpose, sustainable PTE Charter and QMS Management System.

Socially responsible strategies include: treating all students and staff fairly with dignity and respect; providing a safe, inclusive, culturally appropriate and supportive learning environment; equitable engagement and achievement of all students; striving to meet the needs of students and the community; supporting the community; genuine, strong community and stakeholder involvement, consultation and engagement; valuing staff and being a good employer; operating a sustainable business model and using honest ethical business practices.

Health & Safety

Under the Health and Safety at Work Act (2015), PTEs are classified as a PCBU (Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking). PTE PCBUs have a ‘primary duty of care’ and legal responsibility to protect and enhance the health, safety and welfare of all people in the PTE, including students, workers and visitors. The PTE must meet its moral and legal obligations and be committed to keeping its people safe from harm. The PTE must have good practice, compliant and effective health and safety framework, policies and procedures in place.

The following areas must be covered in the Health and Safety Handbook: Worker health & safety, Student safety & welfare, Risk and hazard management, Emergency management and Injury & incident management. Key process and operational documentation includes: Hazard Identification, Hazard Register, Risk Assessment, Risk Management Plan, Injury & Incident Record, Injury & Incident Report and Emergency procedures.

PTE QMS Requirements

A key component of a modern PTE Management System (QMS) is risk awareness and risk management. PTE’s must have robust risk management processes and procedures in place, including risk monitoring, risk assessment / analysis and an ongoing risk management plans Consistent risk assessment / analysis strategies and risk management techniques should be implemented across the organisation, e.g. when managing health & safety risk and also business / financial risk.

PTE QMS documentation must have integrity, be genuine, authentic and written & implemented in good faith and with appropriate probity. All PTE Management System policies, procedures and practice must be in accordance with the principles of ‘Natural Justice’, ‘Fair Process’, ‘Transparency’, ‘Good Faith’ and ‘Right to Privacy’.

The PTE’s Governance Board and Management have a duty to exercise ‘due diligence’, be pro-active and to ensure that the PTE’s Management System and QMS Manual are up-to-date, accurate, ‘fit for purpose’, fair and reasonable, compliant and representative of good practice. Independent legal advice on the PTE Management System QMS documentation should be sought, where necessary, and any legal documentation in the QMS should be regularly checked by the organisation’s legal advisers.

 A PTE must follow and consistently implement the content of its Management System and QMS Manual. Governance Boards have a responsibility to ensure that adequate resources, including staff time, are allocated and available for the development, implementation, maintenance and review of the PTE’s Management System and QMS. The integrity of PTE Management Systems must not be compromised during times of change; by being poorly maintained or by being allowed to go out of date and losing relevance.

Disclaimer: While every effort has been made by Croydon Consulting Ltd to ensure that the information provided in this written material is up-to-date, accurate and complete, this cannot be guaranteed and Croydon Consulting, the Publisher and the Author accept no responsibility.