What the BAAB say about us…

Our Acupuncture Training Course has been continually accredited by The British Acupuncture Accreditation Board (BAAB) since 1997. The BAAB is responsible for ensuring the highest standards amongst eligible higher education level programmes which award a professional qualification in acupuncture.

BAAB Accredited course

Through this rigorous reaccreditation process “the general public can be assured that graduates from BAAB accredited programmes are knowledgeable, reflective, competent and safe acupuncture practitioners.” You can read more about BAAB accreditation on their website.

In the spring of 2022 ICOM underwent its most recent scheduled review. Here are some highlights from the BAAB’s report.

General overview of submission

“This mature College provides an exceptionally well-organised and managed course with a huge commitment from all staff, and glowing feedback from students. The college is not standing still; it is evolving and evaluating its founding principles, and while remaining true to its essential ethos of diversity in styles, is adjusting to current circumstances. There is very strong leadership creating confidence and trust. Staff are very responsive, and deal with any emerging issues as they arise.

The provision is clearly at Honours level, supported by the ICOM Academic Regulations, the Assessment and Feedback Policy and the Clinic Education Policy. Overall, the processes and policies appear comprehensive, appropriate and transparent. The prospectus is attractive and well-produced. The provision of bursaries to support wider access is a positive initiative.

 There is a clear organisational structure in place. The Principal is well supported by a Management team that includes the General Manager, Director of Studies and Clinic Coordinator. There is an appropriate Board of Governors, Programme Committee and Academic Advisory Board which have clear terms of reference.

 ICOM provides a curriculum that offers a broad and diverse education in a range of approaches to acupuncture practice. The curriculum appears well-designed, and provides students with an appropriate and increasing level of challenge. Course Handbooks are comprehensive and helpful.

 The clinical curriculum demonstrates a clear progression of clinical learning/skills. Reflective clinical work is linked productively to Personal and Professional Development. Feedback from patients indicates that the ICOM Clinic provides high quality treatment.

 The College has a robust approach to assessment. The External Examiners are very complimentary about all aspects of the assessment process and the level of the award. A wide range of assessments is in use. All assessment tasks have clear assessment criteria and the instructions for students are clear. The documentation in relation to assessment (Student Handbook, Course Handbooks, Academic Regulations, Assessment and Feedback Policy) is very comprehensive.”


“The College has a robust approach to fitness to practice and/or study, supported by appropriate documentation. Student support and well-being are very important at all levels in the organisation, and the students were highly complimentary about the support they received from all staff, both on academic and personal matters. In particular, well-being elements were greatly appreciated and the students praised the support for students with dyslexia very highly.”

Programme Management, Monitoring and Evaluation

“The Board of Governors are an active and very engaged group who are clearly fully conversant with, and supportive of, all the activities within the College. They have rigorous means of appointing new members and there are procedures to monitor the terms of office. They have set in place a process, with funding, for the maintenance of the buildings.

 “There are a number of very good mechanisms for evaluation of the quality of the provision, including the External Examiners’ reports, the progression and achievement data, individual course evaluations, student and patient feedback, and peer observation of teaching. These are forwarded to the Programme Committee and the Academic Advisory Board and inform course development and the annual AMAF report. The AMAF is forwarded to the Board of Governors who have a good overview of the quality of the provision, enhanced through their close connections to the staff of the College.

 “The students are highly engaged and supportive of the College and very positive about the effectiveness of the student representation, and the ease with which they can raise issues with staff. They have regular class meetings with the Principal and Course Leaders, open access to all staff, and there are online session feedback opportunities and feedback questionnaires. The College responses to student feedback are prompt and appropriate.

 “The College is very supportive of staff development, and encourages staff to participate in external events, mentoring, peer review and other activities. There is active peer observation among the delivery of the classroom teaching. A number of staff are Fellows of the Higher Education Academy. The College is committed to maintaining the current approach, and to supporting new staff in gaining a teaching qualification.”

Curriculum Standards

“There is considerable evidence of ICOM continuously reviewing and enhancing the curriculum and its delivery. The Standards of Education and Training for Acupuncture (SETA) mapping demonstrates a comprehensive curriculum that meets the outcomes.

“Having developed a very effective approach to online delivery during the pandemic the staff are now well aware of the need to ensure that balance between face-to-face and online delivery and assessment is optimal. This is being kept under constant review. The flipped classroom model of delivery was popular with students as was the access to video recordings of teaching and clinic sessions.

 “The curriculum is quite diverse including different styles of practice. As the students progressed through the course, they described this as challenging, but increasingly appreciated the options for treatment which the course gave them. This was fully endorsed by the graduates who are in practice. The staff team engage in an ongoing process of review and are keen to ensure that all of the approaches included are still valid and that they are not simply tied by tradition. This has resulted in a relevant and lively curriculum.

 “Graduate students all reported that they felt well-prepared for clinical practice. In particular the business stream had been especially useful in preparing them for the transition from college to private practice.”


“The assessment procedures are very thorough. Appropriate assessments are used, the students are well-informed on these, and there is good evidence of moderation. The External Examiners are highly complimentary.

“Students and past graduates noted that they had very good guidance on how they were expected to approach any assignment, and that they had received clear and helpful feedback on all their submitted and clinical assessments. The staff have a clear and appropriate policy on the assessment of online work. There are very robust systems of double-marking and moderation in place for all assessments.”

Summary of Commendations

  • The course continues to be vibrant and relevant.
  • The bursaries which are provided to support students with financial challenges.
  • The effectiveness of the online teaching and assessment.
  • The transparency of the leadership team in managing and inspiring the college staff and students.
  • The quality of support for students in particular the support for students with dyslexia, and the wellbeing tutor.
  • The strength and commitment of the Board of Governors.
  • Students are confident and articulate.
  • It was clear to the panel that the professionalism of the staff benefits the programme and clearly reflects professional standards
  • ICOM’s ‘community of practice’. Student and staff engagement with the whole college and a clear sense of each person feeling valued.
  • Active and deep exploration of classical literature that informs teaching in theory and practice.
  • Students’ depth of knowledge testament to the quality of teaching at ICOM

After this thorough review the college is delighted to have been awarded a full reaccreditation from the British Acupuncture Accreditation Board for another six years. The next review will take place in 2028.