The Office for Fair Access (OFFA) today announced its decisions on access agreements submitted by universities that wish to charge tuition fees of more than £6,000 a year in the academic year 2013-14. Bath Spa University is among those institutions whose access agreement has been approved by OFFA.
Bath Spa University has an impressive record of attracting a high number of students from non-traditional backgrounds. In 2010/11 95 per cent of full-time undergraduate students were from state schools and colleges and 34.5 per cent were mature students. The University has an extensive and successful outreach programme working with local and regional schools and further education colleges to encourage progression to higher education. This involves working with young people, their parents and supporters, mature and Access to Higher Education learners, people with disabilities and specific learning needs and a range of community groups, including those that support BME learners and young people in care or from a care background.
The University is investing over £1.4 million in its access to higher education initiatives which include the following:
• A targeted programme for pre-16 students in selected Bath and North East Somerset (B&NES) schools delivered in collaboration with the University of Bath. The initiative will focus on supporting schools in raising results at GCSE Mathematics, Science, English, Modern Foreign Languages, History and Geography, drawing on the complementary subject specialisms of the two universities.
• The Wessex Partnership which allows the University to offer foundation degrees at further education colleges and private providers, so that students from under-represented groups have an opportunity to study a higher education programme at their local college or private institution.
• Long-term outreach programmes and partnerships with local school and colleges. These programmes will also be developed with a number of the University’s partner academies, trust and teaching schools.
• Through the Western Vocational Progression Consortium (WVPC) of seven higher education institutions, online resources including the Lifepilot website that offers information, advice and guidance to adult, part-time and work-based learners about progression routes to higher level study and the Careerpilot website that helps 14 to 19 year olds plan their progression to study and work.
• Developing the progression of students with Access to Higher Education Diploma qualifications to undergraduate degree programmes.
• The Bath Education Trust which was formed with the University of Bath, the City of Bath College and Rotork, an industrial partner, to offer school students from three partner schools access to a wide range of courses and enrichment activities.