York College’s mission is to provide a life enhancing educational experience, through inspirational teaching, working in partnership and helping individuals to be the best they can.
‘York College: Where everyone matters and a successful future begins’
The University Centre wishes to become outstanding for students, employers, its community and staff; we wish to stand out from the crowd for the quality of our provision. The aim is for York College University Centre to be an outstanding place to learn and work. Our values are summarised by the following statement:
As a way of fostering learning, York College University Centre values:
- All our students and their individual achievements
- The commitment and professionalism of our staff
- The highest standards in all that we do
- Working together to meet the needs of our College and the wider community
- Effective, efficient and appropriate use of resources
- Respect, equality and honesty
As the major provider of education and training in York and North Yorkshire, delivering from pre-entry through to Honours level, we have implemented a differentiated approach to the support needs of our further education and higher education students. One very important aspect of the work of the College is to stimulate and support progression at all levels.
The higher education strategy is focused upon the development and delivery of high-quality, vocationally relevant programmes to support internal progression, widen participation and to meet and external demand. There are four key priorities within this strategy:
- Provision for internal progression
- Focus on local and regional priorities
- Employability and skills development
- Creating a high quality, differentiated HE experience for students
The Office for Students (OfS) is the Government-approved regulatory authority for the higher education (HE) sector in England. The OfS is responsible for funding HE and for promoting fair access to HE. It will do this by setting maximum tuition fee levels for full-time and part-time undergraduate HE programmes. Where HE tuition fees are set above the maximum level, a proportion of the tuition fees collected are set aside by the College to assist disadvantaged people to access its HE provision. At York College University Centre, this additional income is used to fund a bursary and other widening participation activity. The OfS does not provide any guidance on the types and level of other charges that can be made to HE students. Five students may apply for HE loan funding when studying OfS recognised programmes.
Financial support may be provided for HE students from the York College University Centre's HE Bursary Scheme.
Fees are always charged for HE programmes.
Tuition fees for study programmes recognised by the Office for Students (OfS) will be set within the funding council and Government guidelines and authorised by the College Senior Leadership Team. Where HE fees are set above the level recommended by the OfS, the College shall comply with funding body requirements to submit an Access Agreement within the prescribed timescales.
York College Access and Participation Plan
Recruitment to our higher education programmes at the College is supported by a number of strands of activity which are designed to widen participation.
- Programmes are designed to facilitate flexible delivery. This enables those in work to attend on a part-time basis for 1 day per week. Full-time delivery is also planned to cluster activities so that students are not required to attend across a number of days. This again means that students are able to work and therefore maintain an income
- The College offers a range of Access to Higher Education qualifications to support those who are returning to education and need knowledge and skills to facilitate study at a higher level
- Taster sessions are offered to applicants throughout the year so that they get the opportunity to attend the College in advance of enrolment and discuss any potential concerns or support needs. Applicants are also able to experience the welcoming environment and smaller class sizes
- The Schools Liaison Team introduce the concept of higher education during school presentations and taster activities for all ages
- Progression routes are mapped from many internal vocational programmes which have not previously attracted UCAS points for example, NVQs and apprenticeships. In some areas this includes the provision of bridging courses to ensure that students have the necessary academic skills to succeed at higher levels.
The entry criteria for all higher education programmes at the College include ‘non-standard’ options so as to encourage applications from those who have not followed a standard route and may not have UCAS tariff points.
Information advice and guidance (IAG) and student support
The College has a comprehensive central student services operation. From the moment any prospective student considers joining the College they will be able to access support with:
- Course information and enrolment
- Travel and transport
- Welfare and funding
- Learning support
If any prospective student is looking for assistance or support to help them make that journey into education, then the College support services can offer impartial information, advice and guidance on a full range of services, including specialist staff to advise and support prospective higher education students. Our Your Experience Team provide IAG and support to complete application forms for Disabled Students Allowance. The Learning Support Team support both further and higher education students on programme and in transition to other courses and into employment. Our Your Experience Team are recognised as part of the Matrix Standards awarded to the Team.
Providing support for students comprising of pastoral provision through tutorial programmes, additional learning support for students with Learning Difficulties and Disabilities (LDD), English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and/or basic skills needs, The Your Experience Hub and the Learning Centre is a strong feature of the College. In addition to the cross-College support services, higher education students have a dedicated Head of Studies to oversee their pastoral support and to ensure that individual needs are being met.
Higher Education (HE) Student Protection Plan
Our Student Protection Plan document is an assessment of the range of risks to the continuation of study for HE students.
Further widening participation activities are facilitated through membership of the Higher York Consortium. As a founder member of the Higher York, the College has actively led and contributed to the range of initiatives. The College, alongside other partners, has indicated a commitment to the sustainability of Higher York following the end of the HEFCE funding period. This currently involves a financial contribution as well as significant in-kind contributions from a range of staff who contribute to the management and leadership, and collaborative work of the partnership.
Activities include bespoke university visits and visits to schools by FE and HE institutions. This has recently been extended to include the creation of a single point of contact for information, advice and guidance about progression into higher education and outreach opportunities as part of the Higher York Network for Collaborative Outreach. Higher York also produces a specific ‘Mature Students’ Guide to Higher Education’ and links with a range of local employers.
The College has also been an active partner in the Roots to Success project since its inception in 1998. The project engages with schools and colleges to support students whose families have not traditionally moved into FE and HE. This work is now embedded within the College and continues to develop through networking and sharing of good practice to benefit students’ opportunities to move into further and higher education in all education institutions in York.