Widening Access and Participation Strategy

WIDENING ACCESS AND PARTICIPATION STRATEGY

Introduction

London School of Management Education (LSME) offers educational services for individuals aspiring to become teachers, managers and health and social care professionals. Monitoring equal opportunities information allows us to examine the characteristics of our student population. This information is important to help review our widening access and participation practices and suggest improvements if need be. The 2015/16 Academic Year equal opportunities monitoring reports from our enrolment data which contained statistical information of our student population in terms of Age, Gender, Disability, Religion, Ethnicity, Sexual Orientation and Marital Status revealed that only 13% of learners, were between 19-30 years old and black Africans formed a majority of our students’ population (56%) followed by Asians.  The male to female population of students was even and about 66% of learners were Christians. The overall achievement and retention of learners was over 90%. Although we are aware of our mature population of learners, anecdotal evidence from interviewing these students has indicated that many had wider life experiences and opportunities to pursue qualifications from alternative routes and this has resulted in LSME becoming a realistic career development destination. The College serves the London Borough of Barking, Redbridge and surrounding areas which are multi-cultural ethnic minority communities. Our data may be representative of the local community but this needs further verification. Never the less, this widening participation strategy has been developed based on this data to attract under-represented populations of students, particularly the younger and white disadvantaged learners within the Borough who may want to progress in the long-term towards higher education. The organisation will allocate a budget specifically for widening participation in line with the agreed strategies below.

Aim

With our core business in teacher education, health and social care and business, we aim to be influential with widening participation by working directly with local and regional FE Colleges and communities within the Boroughs we serve to attract disadvantaged younger learners, particularly those of Caucasian background. We also believe that our mature students bring a wealth of experience to the College and can crucially act as excellent role models for widening participation of our specific target groups.

Objectives

  1. Access: To provide appropriate support to the target groups within our catchment area who are under-represented in our institution to progress in the long-term towards higher education.
  2. Entry, Retention, Progression and Employability: To enhance learning experience for all individuals through the implementation of inclusive teaching and learning in partnership with students, potential employers and key members of the community.
  3. Monitoring and Evaluation: To ensure sustainability, we will respond to the changing needs of our target groups using regular monitoring and evaluation of strategies and feedback from learners.

Objective 1: Access

To provide appropriate support to the target groups within our catchment area who are under-represented in our institution to progress in the long-term towards higher education.

LSME will organise pre-entry activities for its prospective target population of students.

1.1 Information Dissemination

Target Population

  • Young students from Local FE Colleges with low socio economic backgrounds
  • Young individuals on Job Seekers Allowance
  • Individuals with disabilities

Description

Although we maintain an up to date website with full information for prospective students and run a range of information, advice and guidance support to all prospective learners who come to the College, it will not be clear to a traditional A level student or a student from an FE College, or individuals on Job Seekers Allowance what exactly LSME could offer prospective students. We plan to reach out to this population using an information resource (electronic and paper) that will clearly communicate what opportunities and support (academic, pastoral, and financial) is available for our programmes. Currently the College has an admissions team that respond to a wide range of incoming enquiries and run an online enquiry services via a dedicated email address or online form.

We also have a comprehensive website which includes information and advice on applying to the College and the student finance system. Our prospectuses are online.

Expected Outcomes

The expected outcomes for each Academic Year in addition to our current provision are highlighted below?

  • 5000 information leaflets on LSME’s options for the selected groups.
  • Leaflets will be reproduced as PDFs on the College Website.
  • Careers service briefing and success stories will be on the College website.
  • One open-day programme on LSME campus per term to offer prospective students the opportunity to interact with subject specialists.
  • Four off-site displays/information points at careers events or in FE Regional

Expected Cost: £5000.00

1.2 LSME Placement Teachers will Work with Students in the Target Population in their Communities

Target Population

  • Students with disabilities.
  • Young students from Local FE Colleges with low socio economic backgrounds.

Description

This project is intended to ensure that students with special needs are being supported adequately to achieve their qualifications and hopefully gain the entrance requirement and intellectual qualities for Higher Education. As part of our collaborative efforts with FE Colleges, LSME placement teachers will offer voluntary teaching support to the schools in the local area including the FE Colleges. Students requiring one to one support for extended periods will be supported by the placement teachers to ensure they have achieved their learning objectives.

Expected Outcomes

Regular Trainee Teacher volunteer support provided for four community outreach projects accessed through FE Colleges and high schools.

Expected Cost: £1000.00

1.3 LSME will Organise Free Functional Skills Training for Prospective Learners

Target Population

  • Individuals from Job Centers in receipt of Job Seekers Allowance.
  • Individuals from under-represented communities in the College.

Description

Certain barriers prevent access to Higher Education for individuals who are returning to education after prolonged periods of absence. These barriers include lack of required functional skills to allow studying at the required level. To date we have turned down students because they have not met the literacy and numeracy requirements for their programmes of choice. Rather than turning down these learners, LSME proposed to offer free training sessions to bring them up to the required level of competency for their chosen qualifications. LSME also plans to engage more actively with the local Job Centers to admit learners for free functional skills training required for courses in the College.

Expected Outcomes

Train a minimum of 10 learners each year and support them to achieve a Functional Skills qualification prior to their enrolment on our respective programmes.

Expected Cost: £2000.00

1.4 LSME will Organise Free Level 3 Qualifications in Health and Social Care and Business for Prospective Learners

Target Population

  • Individuals from Job Centers in receipt of Job Seekers Allowance and are interested in changing their careers to Health and Social Care or Business but do not have the required entrance criteria.
  • Individuals from under-represented populations who are interested in Health and Social Care or Business qualifications

Description

In most cases, learners who are interested in our HNDs may not have the entry requirement to study at that level. These populations may be living on benefits because of their inability to find suitable employment skills and may also feel alienated from Further Education. In the situations where they are willing to undertake a career change, every opportunity must be provided to ensure they are eligible to study and progress into employment. This initiative will allow many job seekers who are interested in Health and Social Care/Business to acquire a qualification for entry and future progression in their respective sectors.

Expected Outcomes

Train a minimum of 10 learners each year and support them to achieve entry qualifications prior to their enrolment on our respective programmes.

Expected Cost: £3000.00

1.5: LSME will Organise Activities on its Campus for Prospective Learners in our Target Population in a Form of Taster Lessons and Interaction with Existing Learners

Target Population

  • Prospective learners from FE Colleges.
  • Aspiring learners in Job Seeker population within the Borough.
  • Students with disabilities.

Description

As part of our initiative to attract this population of students, we plan to work with FE Colleges and parents to invite prospective learners for taster sessions for a day or two during the half-term. They will benefit from attending career related events and sitting in classes to observe and ask relevant questions about the courses and potential progression opportunities.

Expected Outcomes

To provide taster sessions for up to a minimum of 20 students per year from FE Colleges and the Job Centers.

Expected Cost: £1000.00

Objective 2: Entry, Retention, Progression and Employability

To enhance the learning experience for all individuals through the implementation of inclusive teaching and learning in partnership with students, potential employers and key members of the community.

This section of the strategy must be read in conjunction with the LSME Teaching and Learning Strategy and Learning Support Strategy.

2.1 Improving Entry to Courses for Disadvantaged Individuals

Target Population

  • Young entrants with low socio economic backgrounds.
  • Young learners from FE Colleges.
  • Students from Job Centres.
  • Students with disabilities.

Description

LSME has a transparent admission process that included all individuals who are able to demonstrate their willingness to study and stay on the course. Students from the above disadvantaged backgrounds who have not passed their initial assessment will be enrolled on our functional skills qualification while taking the course. In some cases, we will use their previous experience in the sector with a suitable reference letter from their former employers to allow them access to our higher educational programmes, provided they have adequately demonstrated willingness and commitment to learning.

Expected Outcomes

Improve the proportion of students in the target population by 10% in the next Academic Year and attain the national benchmarks subsequently.

Expected Cost: None

2.2 LSME Provides Bursaries and other Forms of Financial Support and Waivers to Disadvantaged Learners

Target Population

Prospective learners with sound academic background and financial worries. All learners in target population.

Description

LSME offers up to 50% scholarship for self-funded learners who have demonstrated commitment and ability to complete their studies.

Student with financial problems can also receive waivers for their payment of refundable registration fees to awarding organisations.

LSME will offer free Functional Skills and level 3 training to students in the target population. Students also receive advice on financial support received from the Student Finance England and administered by the Students Loans Company.

Expected Outcomes

In the next Academic Year, we expect to provide at least 10 bursaries and financial incentives for learners in our target population.

Expected Cost: £5000.00

2.3 Undertake a Comprehensive Induction and Individual Learning Plans for Disadvantaged Learners and Offer Appropriate Support where Necessary

Target Population

All learners.

Description

As per our existing Teaching and Learning Strategy, LSME undertakes individual learning plans for its learners. Students in our target population will undergo a similar process and will be assigned to trainee teachers as mentors throughout their programme. Their task will be to ensure that they follow all teaching and learning activities in relation to the course and all agreed targets for improvement are adhered to.

Expected Outcomes

  • Motivate all new entrants to stay on the course during the first term of admission and enrollment.
  • Provide study skills and mentorship to all new entrants and obtain feedback on how useful the entire process has been.
  • Provide additional support and mentorship for the first three months to all students in our target population to ensure they are effectively engaged with the learning process.

Expected Cost: None

2.3 Enhance Teaching and Learning with Inclusive Activities that Encourages Learners to Stay Motivated and Enjoy their Learning Experience

Target Population

All learners.

Description

Our teaching policy is to embrace the inclusive teaching agenda giving each learner a fair and equal opportunity to develop their maximum potential. Our teachers use inclusive teaching and learning methods bearing in mind the cultural diversity of the student population. This activity will be intensified to ensure our target population is fully engaged and motivated to progress with their studies. We ensure that all students have equal opportunities, regardless of ability, religion, culture, gender, or ethnic origin. Additional learning support is provided for learners if necessary. LSME is planning to improve the academic programmes and activities, to endure they are appropriate to the age, maturity and the location of the College, to encourage each student to achieve academically but also develop linguistically, socially and culturally.

Students with disabilities can request for reasonable adjustments to facilitate learning. We ensure that these adjustments do not given them an unfair advantage over other students.

Expected Outcomes

In the next Academic Year and beyond, we envisage over 90% retention and progression rate for all learners.

Expected Cost: None

2.4 LSME is Committed to Retaining and Supporting Employment for its Learners

Target Population

All students including disabled learners, Job Seekers etc.

Description

Currently approximately 50% of existing learners are already in employment. It is the strategic plan of LSME to be a provider of sound information, advice and guidance on learning and work, both as a discrete activity and embedded within its learning programmes.

Information, Advice and Guidance are delivered at all stages of a student’s learning, pre-entry, on programme and on exit, and by a range of staff.

  • Enquiries and guidance advice is given as part of the pre-entry information to all students.
  • Career advice is also offered while on the programme and progression guidance is given to students who elect to continue other programmes at LSME.
  • Tutors give appropriate advice that would support career learning. Learners receive appropriate and timely advice and guidance on their next step in training, education, and employment.

In addition to this, LSME organises career day events in partnership with employers periodically in the College. The College is developing a more comprehensive Employer Engagement Strategy with local employers and other educational institutions within the Borough to enhance student voluntary placement and work experience activities as well as their employability potential.

Expected Outputs

For each Academic Year, we envisage about 50% employment rate in our target population of disadvantaged learners and a 20% rise in the total student population.

Expected Cost: £5000.00

Objective 3: Monitoring and Evaluation

To ensure sustainability, we will respond to the changing needs of our target groups using regular monitoring and evaluation of strategies and feedback from learners.

Description

LSME has a comprehensive student engagement strategy in place to ensure students are in control of their learning experience with the institution. Proactive contributions from students invariably keep them motivate and engaged with the learning process. We obtain feedback from learners for every academic and non-academic activities throughout their learning process from induction to the end of course. Acting upon students’ requests has led to improvements in our learning resource centre, students’ common room, assessment feedbacks, teaching methods etc. In the same way, we will act on the feedback received from our target learners and ensure their changing needs are accommodated in the review of this strategy annually. We will also act feedback provided by staff, local employers, and external regulators to ensure improvement in the quality and implementation of this strategy.

Expected Outcomes

Annual review of strategies and their expected outcomes and subsequent introduction of enhancement related actions and procedures.

Analysis and reporting of all feedbacks obtained from students, employers, staff, and external regulators.

Acting on feedback provided to agree new strategies for improvement.

Expected Cost: £2000.00

 
University of Chichester
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Pearson
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Disability Confident Committed Organisation
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