Foundation Degree Forward. Working for a degree of difference

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1 Foundation Degree Forward Working for a degree of difference Derek Longhurst

2 If we are to become a leading knowledge based economy we must create new routes into higher education and new forms of provision.we have to develop new higher education opportunities at [the intermediate level], orientated strongly to the employability skills, specialist knowledge and broad understanding needed in the new economy. Modernising Higher Education: meeting the global challenge: February 2000

3 The Foundation Degree will offer a new vocationallyfocussed route into higher education. It will be academically rigorous and will provide an accessible and flexible building block for lifelong learning and future career success, drawing together further and higher education and the world of work. It will be designed to be highly valued in the labour market and appeal to a wide range of students, including the most able.for students wishing to continue their learning, there will be the opportunity to progress to an honours degree with only one-and-a-third extra years of study.

4 Work-based learning Authentic and innovative work-based learning is an integral part of Foundation Degrees and their design. It enables learners to take on appropriate role(s) within the workplace, giving them the opportunity to learn and apply the skills and knowledge they have acquired as an integral element of the programme. It involves the development of higher level learning within both institution and the workplace. It should be a two-way process Work-based learning requires the identification and achievement of defined and related learning outcomes. [QAA, FDQB; 2004; emphases added]

5 The distinctiveness of the Foundation Degree depends upon the integration of the following characteristics: employer involvement, accessibility, articulation and progression, flexibility; and partnership. While none of these attributes is unique to Foundation Degrees, their clear and planned integration within a single award, underpinned by work-based learning, makes the award very distinctive. [QAA; FDQB; paragraph 24, 2004: emphases added]

6 The Challenge Can the Foundation Degree qualification become a transformative higher education experience for students, employers and institutions?

7 Sources of innovation.foundation degrees will fail if they are heavily promoted as a system-wide supplyside recipe for growth what could have been a really imaginative, high quality new venture..will collapse under the weight of expectation and likely lowest common denominator development. Watson and Bowden (2005), The Turtle and the Fruit-Fly: New Labour and UK Higher Education

8 Sources of innovation The challenge is to change the curriculum, the environment and the culture so that it meets the needs of learners, not to change the learner so that they meet the needs of the university. Geoff Layer (2005), Closing the Equity Gap?, Leicester, NIACE

9 fdf in Northern Ireland? Key Issues Developing and sustaining employer partnerships Regulation and bureaucracy Delivering real flexibility in provision High quality management of work-based learning opportunities Strategic Partnerships

10 fdf: Strategic Aims: To support and develop local, regional and national strategies and partnerships to enhance both private and public sector employer engagement in Foundation Degree provision. To provide a quality enhancement and consultancy service to support the design, development, validation, delivery and assessment of Foundation Degrees.

11 fdf: Strategic Aims: To enhance Information, Advice and Guidance support for Foundation Degree provision as offering opportunities for widening access to higher education. To undertake a leading advisory role in generating and supporting a national marketing strategy for Foundation Degrees.

12 fdf: Cross-cutting Strategic Aim: To develop strategic partnerships with other stakeholders, organisations, agencies and institutions in support of delivering our Strategic Aims.

13 Working for a degree of difference

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