1. Introduction

South Tyneside College is a mixed economy college offering a wide range of provision in the Higher Education sector. The College is strategically committed to promoting its higher education programmes to students coming from all widening participation categories, and to achieve this aim it undertakes a range of activities directed towards raising aspirations, eliminating artificial barriers to entry. And enhancing the learner experience.

By focussing on teaching for learning the College expands its participation and success in the higher level skills agenda with an emphasis on employability and vocational learning.

The programme offer includes a wide range of Foundation Degree, HNC/D and professional level courses that employers require to meet their higher level skills solutions.

The College HE Strategy is reviewed every three years, and underlines the College’s commitment to the growth of HE provision as well as its aspirations in raising the participation rates of the residents of South Tyneside and the wider College community. The College has expanded its provision in the area of Access into HE.

The College has a committed team of staff teaching and supporting HE provision, whose priority is high quality Learning and Teaching, high quality learning environment, and exceeding student aspirations in their employment prospects.

2.      Learner support

2.1     Academic support

Learners are provided with a range of academic support during their study at South Tyneside College. These include programme evening support tutorials, College on-line support through the Moodle VLE platform, and pre-assessment tutorial sessions.

2.2     Pastoral support

All learners enrolled onto full time courses are provided with access to a Personal Learning Coach (PLC). These Coaches provide pastoral support to students to monitor and support them during their study programme. The PLC’s can refer students to further support such as the independent College Councillor for mental health concerns.

2.3     Resources

The College is aware of the broad requirement of students and their study patterns. The College provides access to learning aids (when a student does not have tablets to allow for self-study), extended hours of library opening including weekends and college holiday periods, dedicated HE Student Common room with extensive ICT facilities.

2.4     Advice and guidance

In addition to the Personal Learning Coaches, the College can provide impartial advice to all students on their existing programmes, and progression opportunities. This service holds Matrix Quality Standard accreditation.

3       Widening participation activities

The following outreach activities are undertaken by Student Services, Marketing and Academic staff

  1. Local Schools events
  2. Regional UCAS events
  3. Events at social clubs
  4. Open Evenings each week to provide information and advice
  5. Open Days each year to promote employer links and provide advice

4       Monitoring

The number of enrolments are reported through the College Individual Learner Record. This data is compared to the annual data released by HESA classified by Low-participant neighbourhoods (LPN) which are defined within HEFCE’s Participation of Local Areas (POLAR) classifications, POLAR2 and POLAR3. This data is also provided each year within the HEFCE allocation, and allows for comparison between academic years.

The enrolment patterns with national UK recruitment does create variances in the POLAR3 data, and no strategic target is set, although the College strategy is to “Continuing to listen to, and actively engage with, learners and employers to provide HE    that is relevant to their needs – College Strategic aim 4”

5       Reporting

The College reports the performance of the students undertaking its Higher Education Courses during and at the end of the programme. Performance Monitoring meetings are held with programme managers to monitor in-course data such as recruitment, attendance and retention.

At the academic year, all programme data is reviewed and analysed for retention, achievement, and progression and the results reported to externally to the Governing Board.