Linking London | News | 2 February 2017: Event report - Access to HE Diploma Practitioner Group Meeting

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Access to HE Diploma Practitioner Group Meeting

This meeting featured presentations from OCN London and Linking London. It focused on the progression of Access to HE Diploma students in London to HE and Higher/Degree apprenticeships.


The second Access Practitioner Group Meeting of the Academic Year was held on the 2nd February and was well attended, with 20 partner representatives present. After a warm welcome from Andrew Jones, Deputy Director of Linking London, delegates received an update on the Access to HE Diploma from Marisa Castellini, Head of Access to HE for OCN London. Marisa highlighted the drop in Access learners for health-related courses. This was discussed in relation to the NHS bursary removal, Access to HE specification and ending of GCSE equivalence recognition, the shift in higher education institutions towards wanting GCSE Maths and English, the move from grants to loans, which all may have had an impact on numbers.

A roundtable partner update followed where partners shared information on entry requirements, outreach offers, and college partners discussed the recruitment of Access learners for 2016/17 and HE progression. Topics raised included the increasingly younger cohort of Access learners, the overall drop in learners and the new courses on offer for September 2017.

After a short break, Emily Harber, NCOP Programme Coordinator at Linking London, gave a presentation to attendees on the progression of Access learners to HE based on the latest data report. Sue Betts, Director at Linking London, introduced the data report on the progression of college students in London to HE from 2011-2014. The data report tracked 120,652 Level 3 students in London colleges. Some key information from the report: Access students made up 11% of total London Level 3 FE and Sixth Form 2013-2014 cohort. From the report, it is evident that Access is holding up and helping students progress onto HE, with 70% of Access learners achieving a degree. In comparison to BTEC students, Access learners are more likely to achieve higher degree classifications with 61% of Access learners being awarded a First or 2:1.

Andrew Jones, Deputy Director at Linking London, then presented on the apprenticeships landscape in London, with a particular focus on the development of Higher and Degree level apprenticeships. Linking London have created a spreadsheet to map the current Higher and Degree level apprenticeship vacancies in London, which can be viewed in the partners’ area of the website, under the Apprenticeships tab. Andrew discussed the emerging Degree apprenticeships in Nursing and Teaching.

Finally, Andrew informed the group on the recent Linking London updates on mapping work, resources and the progression data report. The data report, commissioned by the University of Greenwich (Sharon Smith, Hugh Joslin and Jill Jameson), will be published shortly.

The next meeting will take place on 18 May 2016, 2–5pm.

Presentations and meeting note

To view the presentations and meeting note from the day please click here. This link will take you to the partners' area of the website. You must be a Linking London member to access this section of the website and you will need your login name and password. If you do not know your login name and password, then please email


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