Foundations for the Future: Lessons from a Science Foundation Year Programme

Davison, Ellie, Sanderson, Rebecca, Spacey, Rachel , Hobson, Thomas, Simmons, Jayne and Blagden, Kerry (2019) Foundations for the Future: Lessons from a Science Foundation Year Programme. In: Forum for Access and Continuing Education (FACE) Annual Conference, 3rd-5th July 2019, Sheffield Hallam University.

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Foundations for the Future: Lessons from a Science Foundation Year Programme
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Abstract

Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) have long been aware that some groups of adults are less likely to meet the entry requirements needed to access Higher Education (HE). In 2018 the Office for Students (OfS) set out ambitious targets for HEIs to eliminate the gaps in access, success and progression for students from groups which are underrepresented in HE. In relation to access, an increasingly popular approach for HEIs has been the development of Foundation Year (FY) programmes which constitute a fully integrated Year 0 of degree programmes (not to be confused with a Foundation Degree). FY programmes circumvent the standard admissions requirements whilst offering additional study skills support for non-traditional students with a view to preparing them for progression into Year 1. A recent report from The Sutton Trust, for example, recommended the expansion of Foundation Year or ‘Year 0’ programmes (Bolliver et al. 2017) at some of the UK’s most selective universities to widen access to HE.
Our presentation considers a FY programme at a university in the East Midlands which began delivery in 2017/18. Set within a regional context of low levels of HE participation, geographically dispersed communities and with areas of severe deprivation, the Science Foundation Year (SFY) programme is an example of cross-institutional collaboration to support widening participation. Offering places to adults who do not meet standard entry requirements in terms of the required combination of subjects or lower than expected grades, it provides not only access to but support for continued success in HE for a diverse cohort including mature students, students with caring responsibilities, Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) students and entrants with BTEC qualifications.
This presentation draws on data from two teams at one institution – one from the evaluators of the university’s Access and Participation Plan alongside data compiled and analysed by the SFY team themselves. They have been brought together to provide practical and accessible insights into the SFY programme and the views and experiences of its students for those interested in finding out more about the ways in which they can best be supported to succeed. By bringing together the insights of the programme team, the voice of the students and the perspective of the external evaluation team, the presentation will provide a view of a SFY ‘in the round’.

Keywords:Widening participation, Foundation year, Science
Subjects:X Education > X342 Academic studies in Higher Education
Divisions:College of Science
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ID Code:36643
Deposited On:08 Aug 2019 15:37

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