South Devon College Higher Education Strategy

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1 South Devon College Higher Education Strategy South Devon College s Mission is Inspiring its Community through Learning for all As such, its contribution to higher level skills and aspiration is particularly vital for the Torbay & South Devon area. HE vision statement South Devon College is passionate about providing accessible, employment focussed and high quality Higher Education Background South Devon College South Devon College (SDC) is a medium-sized general further education college. It was recognised by Ofsted in November 2008 as an outstanding college. The College received Beacon status in July 2009 and was one of the first colleges to be awarded the Investors In People (IIP) Gold. It predominantly focuses on serving the learning needs of Torbay and South Devon s 14-19, Higher Education (HE) and Adult learners. The College regularly tops the South West comparison tables for student success and learner satisfaction. In 2009/10, SDC was subject to a Quality Assurance Agency quality review (Integrated Quality Enhancement Review IQER). This review gave the highest level of assurance to SDC s Higher Education provision. A small number of recommendations were proposed all of which have been implemented. The College benefits from the nationally recognised, largest and longestestablished regional partnership with Plymouth University. Academic Partnerships (the Faculty) educates over 10,000 students, runs over 300 live programmes and works with 1,800 staff in partner colleges across the South West Peninsula. South Devon College mainly attracts local higher education students, with some applications from further afield. In 2011 at South Devon College, non TQ postcode students accounted for 10% of HE first year students; this has now increased to 17% in 2012 as a result of further engagement with Schools. As a franchise partner college, South Devon College currently has 24 live programmes for recruitment in September 2013, including 2 at L6 leading to either BA or BSc (Hons) and South Devon College enrolled 493 students in September Courses cover a range of curriculum areas which are pertinent to local economic needs. 1

2 Within South Devon, there is relatively low HE participation from local region learners compared to the national average. Partnerships (Employers/Universities) The College formally partners with a single awarding body, Plymouth University (PU). A new Academic Cooperation Agreement with the University was signed in April In the agreement, the College acknowledges that the HE programmes are courses of the University and that the academic responsibility for them is vested in the University's Academic Board. The College is obliged to provide suitably qualified staff to conduct and manage each approved programme in accordance with its definitive document and handbook. Students enrolled on the programmes have the status and rights of any other student of the University in relation to academic matters. SDC also works in partnership with the University of St Mark & St John on progression from Foundation Degrees in Sport & Exercise Science and Early Years Care and Education. It also has a co-sponsorship relationship with the University of Exeter in respect of the South Devon University Technical College (UTC) for year olds specialising in Engineering, Water and the Environment. The UTC will be based in Newton Abbot serving a 30 mile catchment radius. Opening in 2015, it will have 600 students at full capacity. The College has expanded rapidly over the past five years. It has significantly increased the number of higher education programmes and distinct pathways, including the provision of L6 awards. Overall numbers of students entering Higher Education nationally dropped by nearly 10%, whereas SDC had a much smaller 2% contraction in student numbers. Year No. of Higher Education Students Increases in student numbers remain restricted by Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). SDC submitted a bid for additional direct allocation of student numbers to enable the college to continue to grow its HE provision. 2

3 This bid was successful and will be a part of the annual landscape of Higher Education, albeit only limited growth may be bid for. The Local Unitary Authority, Torbay Council, and its local economic development arm, the Torbay Development Agency (TDA), place particular emphasis on the growth of and retention of higher skilled talent in the local area to secure growth in jobs and economic improvement. The College works collaboratively with a number of agencies to support the local economy, including the (TDA) and the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, as well as neighbouring local district councils and Devon County Council. National Context: Funding, Numbers & Information The 2012 Higher Education White Paper made significant changes to the way the sector will be funded. Until 2012/13 HEP s (Higher Education Providers) were funded via grant income from the HEFCE, and through a tuition fee loan paid by the Student Loans Company (SLC). Grant income varied depending on the price group of the course, with presently 4 groups: A for Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary Sciences, B for Lab based sciences and Engineering, C1 for lower cost Sciences and D for general management based qualifications. In 2012/13 fees for Full Time qualifications were 6,000. The two key proposals within the White Paper that particularly impact on SDC are: Moving the majority of grant income over to the student loan book, allowing any HEP to charge up to 9,000 as long as certain access conditions are met; Creating a more dynamic sector allowing for new HEPs to bid for direct control on new student numbers (a pool of 20,000 full time numbers). In light of the White Paper SDC committed to charge 6,000 for each full time Foundation Degree course Commencing in 2012/13 and also to bid for direct fundable numbers from HEFCE. The College has a total of 41 direct numbers from HEFCE. In light of the changing funding landscape of Higher Education, SDC will be reviewing its HE fees for Sept 15/16 start. A second core/margin bidding round was announced for 2013/14 in May 2012, with a smaller 5000 pool of numbers available for bidding. South Devon College 3

4 was successful in gaining a small amount of further direct places during this process. Overall the context is one of the limitations on full time numbers but encouragement of part time and international growth subject to various constraints. With the increase of tuition fees, the Government is aware that students need a better mechanism to make informed choices. This has resulted in the required development of Key Information Sets (KIS) for all Higher Education courses. The KIS contains information for prospective students on:- Fees; Accommodation prices; Student satisfaction; Destination and salary of previous students; Scheduled, independent and placements study on the course; Methods of assessment. The production of the KIS is the responsibility of the HEP that manages the data returns, and follows specific guidelines from HEFCE, which places some additional demands on the College but supports strengthened information, advice and guidance. Meeting Local Need The Torbay Economic Strategy has identified key priorities under the objective of to create more full time and sustainable employment encouraging the growth of existing businesses and the creation of new businesses and social enterprise The priorities are: Driving business growth; Sustaining the core economy; Raising skills levels and creating opportunities for all and Nurturing the knowledge economy. SDC responds to these priorities through the College strategic aims. Many of the emerging sectors in the Torbay and South Devon economy require graduate level skills, and at present Torbay lags behind its neighbours in the proportion of its population with qualifications at level 4 and above. In 2009/10, 24.2% of Torbay s working age population had level 4 qualifications or higher, compared with 30.6% of Teignbridge s and 41.2% of South Hams population. By 2020 graduates are expected to represent 37% of the Torbay workforce, fuelling the growth of the economy in high knowledge intensive sectors. To achieve this growth, an increasing supply of graduates is needed with skills in these areas. 4

5 The College s higher education curriculum provision maps well to the identified local priority sectors above and regular review and engagement will ensure that new needs and growth agendas are targeted for support. There is a continuing view that development of on campus residential accommodation for students will help sustain and expand participation, also attracting learners from out of the area for particular niche provision offered by the College. Torbay Council s encouragement for higher skills growth locally has been stated. It is important that the College continues to evaluate potential demand and as appropriate takes forward development in this area to help support and stimulate the local economy, whilst continuing to invest in top quality resources for learners. The College also has a strong commitment to innovation and enterprise development and remains eager to collaborate with PU on joint agendas in this area with initiatives such as GAIN, the South West Energy Centre and the emerging Plymouth City Deal offering opportunities. Overall responsibility for the management of HE programmes and monitoring of higher education standards lies with the Vice Principal and Deputy Chief Executive. Higher education provision is organised across 4 academic departments. Each is managed by a Head of Department supported by Section Heads leading their individual curriculum areas. The management of higher education strategy, quality assurance and performance is undertaken by the HE Strategy Group and is supported by the College's Higher Education Manager. Heads of Department and Section Heads with support from the Higher Education Manager assume responsibility for the management and coordination of quality assurance. SDC is seen as a particularly strong partner from its focus on quality and the student experience, confirmed by QAA reviews, student feedback, performance and progression. 5

6 College strategic Aims and alignment of Higher Education Aims:- 1. Increase the 1.1. To provide a breadth of high quality HE number and range courses and qualifications, including L6 top of learners up 1.2. To provide an outstanding experience to all HE students 1.3. To strongly encourage Widening Participation and engagement with nontraditional learners into HE 1.4. To offer affordable HE to our community through value for money, and supportive bursary packages 1.5. To increase the number of L6 top up Bachelor Degrees aligned to growth in Foundation Degrees To grow areas of niche development in line with SDC s core competencies 2. Enable learners to aspire and succeed 2.1. To be partners with students in developing learning approaches that meets students aspirations 2.2. To enhance our curriculum content, 2.3. To enhance employability and research capability 2.4. To strengthen support for HE students, before, during and after they graduate 2.5. To monitor students attendance and achievement, and implement strategies to support students at risk 2.6. To listen to students, collect feedback and respond enhancing their learning experience To support all students, with specific awareness of non-traditional HE students with academic development, within and outside of their formal teaching environments To embed digital literacy into our HE curriculum and support 2.9. To engage students in a partnership of learning, that is informed by professional practice, research and scholarship 6

7 3. Deliver inspirational teaching and learning 4. Actively support employers, the skills agenda and economic growth 5. Maintain financial strength and resiliance whilst investing in the present and the future 6. Maintain and expand outstanding accommodation and resources adopting sustainable approaches where possible 3.1. To provide students with an engaging and inspiring learning experience 3.2. To peer review teaching and learning as part of a continuous quality cycle 3.3. To provide timely formative and summative feedback to all students 3.4. To provide a supportive tutorial structure 3.5. To deliver above sector average contact hours to students reinforcing value and supporting student attainment 4.1. To provide students with real work experiences through engagement with employers 4.2. To embed employability and enterprise across HE curriculum 4.3. To develop Short Course and CPD offer for industry utilising SDC unique resource 4.4. To align curriculum offer to new developments such as the Studio School and UTC 4.5. To work with PU and other partners on innovation, employability and graduate retention initiatives 4.6. To continually lead in develops of regional and national importance such as the Energy Centre 5.1. To provide governance and strategy to Higher Education to enable it to grow sustainably 5.2. To ensure HE provision is self-financing and resources are sustained to meet student needs and expectation 6.1. To sustain high quality local campus premises at SDC 6.2. To ensure that HE students are provided with the resources appropriate to their studies, with students engaging in these decisions 6.3. To provide access to learning resources and VLEs 7

8 7. Enhance our self critical and performance driven culture 8. Enable staff to aspire and succeed 9. Be an outstanding and inspirational College at the heart of its community To maintain a robust annual review cycle, with midyear checks on quality, performance and student engagement for all courses 7.2. To embed Higher Education into SDC quality review cycle 7.3. To achieve targets for participation, learner success and progression 8.1. To employ and retain appropriately qualified staff to teach and support HE 8.2. To provide those staff teaching and supporting HE with appropriate and relevant development opportunities 8.3. To support scholarly activity and professional practice to maintain and enhance academic standards on all programmes 9.1. To work collaboratively with all stakeholders and particularly support growth in higher skills for the benefit of the local area 9.2. To be proactive in partnership working on LEP, and employer higher skills and sectoral needs and priorities 8

9 Annex 1 Mapping of South Devon College Strategic Framework with Plymouth University Strategy 2020 South Devon College Strategic Aims Increase the number and range of learners Enable learners to aspire and succeed Deliver inspirational teaching and learning Actively support employers, the skills agenda and economic growth Maintain financial strength whilst investing in the present and the future Maintain and expand outstanding accommodation and resources adopting sustainable approaches where possible Enhance our self critical and performance driven culture Enable staff to aspire and succeed Be an outstanding and inspirational College at the heart of its community. Excellent learning in partnership with students Plymouth University Ambitions World-class Raising aspirations research and and driving innovation engagements Achieving resilience, sustainability and effectiveness 1.1, 1.4 Empowering our people Plymouth University Supporting Ambitions Building on our Delivering Enhancing our reputation and through digital learning, living and growing brand literacy working environment 2.1, 2.4, 2.6, 2.7, , 2.3, 2.6, , , , , 4.2, , , 8.2, , 9.2 9

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