A whole life change. Supporting non-traditional students to access foundation degree in early years. The case study of a transition programme in a further education institution in Surrey (England)

Scollan, Angela ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9005-5838 and Farini, Federico (2014) A whole life change. Supporting non-traditional students to access foundation degree in early years. The case study of a transition programme in a further education institution in Surrey (England). In: SERA Scottish Educational Research Association 39th Annual Conference, 19-21 Nov 2014, Edinburgh University. . [Conference or Workshop Item]


Theme: Social Justice and Inclusion. Topic: Inclusive higher education for non-traditional students, to support social mobility and career progression, responding to the challenge of competition. Presenters: Angela Scollan, Federico Farini, Department of Education, School of Health and Education,
Middlesex University, The Burroughs,London NW4 4BT.
Abstract: While the Department for Business Innovation and Skills white paper ‘Students at the heart of the system’ (2011) recognises the need to reduce bureaucracy towards academic and professional progression to support social mobility, a recent document states that the main aim of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) is that ‘all those with potential to benefit from successful participation in higher education should have opportunity to do so’ (HEFCE, 2014).

The Quality Assurance Agency’s consultation (2012) focused on student engagement provokes institutional governance to be accountable to recognise that non-traditional students are looking to access ‘the best possible engagement’ and progression experience. The issue of inclusion in Higher Education is particularly relevant for the high number of Foundation Degree Applicants (FDA) in Early Years lacking previous academic qualification in core subjects recognised by HEFCE (2010).

Therefore, relevant concerns for a more inclusive higher education is the development of strategies to support the progression of FDA applicants who do not fully meet programme academic criteria, offering fair access towards learning opportunities that represent whole life changing experiences.
This presentation discusses a pre-entry Transition Programme (TP) developed in a further education institution in Surrey, where the application process for non-traditional learners based on academic skills criteria was preventing 30% of applicants to access Foundation Degree in Early Years.

Relying on the analysis of qualitative data within an interpretative approach concerned with social and subjective elaborations of professional and personal identities, the discussion examines, the TP success in translating academic skills into transferable skills used within the students’ personal and professional life. The data set consist of: 1) semi-structured interviews involving 12 participants in the TP, 2) the reviews of their application forms, 3) the examination of the reflective journals they were asked to edit during this learning experience.

The presentation argues that an enabling pedagogical approach and environment supports participants' in developing confidence and self-esteem to overcome ‘dispositional barriers’ (Department of Employment and Learning, 2011) formed during previous education experiences.

Reference List:
Department for Business Innovation and Skills (2011). Students at the heart of the system in Higher Education. London: Department for Business Innovation and Skills.
Accessed through: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/31384/11-944-higher-education-students-at-heart-of-system.pdf (accessed on 10/07/14)

Department of Employment and Learning (2011). Success through Skills, Transforming Futures. London: Department of Employment and Learning. Accessed through: http://www.delni.gov.uk/success-through-skills-transforming-futures.pdf (accessed on 10/07/14)

Higher Education Academy (2014). Developing higher skills in the UK workforce: A guide to collaboration between higher education and employers. London: Higher Education Academy.
Accessed through: http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/assets/documents/fdf/Developing-higher-skills-in-the-UK-workforce-guide-to-collaboration-between-HE-and-employers.pdf (accessed on 10/07/14)
Higher Education Funding Council for England (2010). The longer term impact of Aim higher: Tracking individuals. Accessed through: http://www.hefce.ac.uk/media/hefce/content/pubs/2009/rd2109/rd21_09.pdf (Accessed 10/07/14)
Higher Education Funding Council for England (2014). Widening Participation. The Aim Higher Project.
Accessed through:
http://www.hefce.ac.uk/whatwedo/wp/recentwork/aimhigher/ (Accessed 10/07/14)

The Quality Assurance Agency (2012). Talking about Quality. London: The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education.
Accessed through:
http://www.qaa.ac.uk/en/Publications/Documents/quality-code-brief-guide.pdf (Accessed 10/07/14)

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Keywords (uncontrolled): Inclusive Higher Education, Non-traditional Students, Transition Programme, Social Mobility.
Research Areas: A. > School of Health and Education
Item ID: 12953
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Kristina Repova
Date Deposited: 01 Jun 2015 09:59
Last Modified: 29 Dec 2020 16:10
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/12953

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