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NW LLN Conference Workshop 19 October 2007 Progression Opportunities. Creating Progression Agreements to provide clarity about higher-education progression options for vocational learners. Aims of the workshop. Share experience & practice Discuss issues, problems & resolutions

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Nw lln conference workshop 19 october 2007 progression opportunities

NW LLN Conference Workshop19 October 2007Progression Opportunities

Creating Progression Agreements to provide clarity about higher-education progression options for vocational learners

Aims of the workshop

Aims of the workshop

Share experience & practice

Discuss issues, problems & resolutions

Identify possible areas for co-development

Format for the workshop the lifecycle approach

Format for the workshop‘The Lifecycle Approach’

The progression lifecycle approach: Defining ‘Guaranteed Progression’

Writing the progression agreement template

Establishing approval across all partners. The national/ regional interface

Implementation processes – issues, problems & approaches

Monitoring & Evaluation – what are the critical success factors & how will we measure them?

Defining guaranteed progression

Defining Guaranteed Progression

That there is one or more locally available final year top up for each named Fd.

That there are additional top up possibilities which might include considerable travel/residential requirements

That these routes are available across the sector i.e. all Fds in Creative Arts have a range of progression routes; the arrangement is therefore not a bilateral one between one Fd and one final year degree programme.

By implication, given the partnership arrangements in CHL, this will mean that progression from an Fd validated by UCLan may be into a final year degree course validated by UoC or Lancaster or vice versa.

What are the issues and risks this raises

What are the issues and risks this raises?

Issue or Risk:

Course numbers are not viable such that a programme cannot be run one year.


Curriculum design uses distributed learning delivery to maximise group size across the county.

Multipathway Fd design will create a number of possible choices

More than one progression opportunity is offered

A generic professional practice year (in the workplace) is developed

What are the issues and risks this raises1

What are the issues and risks this raises?

Issue or Risk:

Courses are full and therefore a place is not available (particularly an issue on health/education courses)


Multipathway Fd design will create an number of possible choices.

More than one progression opportunity is offered.

A generic professional practice year (in the workplace) is


What are the issues and risks this raises2

What are the issues and risks this raises?

Issue or Risk:

Guaranteed does not mean ‘reserved’ or ‘automatic’ nor does it obviate the usual progression/admission requirements


Careful and clear presentation to learners, advisers, teachers, admissions tutors

Training offered to range of influencers and staff

Requirement of professional bodies will need to be fully explained in any documentation and progression contingent on meeting these.

National Arts Learning Networkwww.naln.ac.uk

The Process of Developing Progression Agreements

Laura Baxter

Progression Manager

Faculty of the Arts, University of Cumbria

The development process
The Development Process

  • A process of close partnership working and collaboration with 36 FE colleges was initiated and formalized.

  • In many cases there were excellent course level links on which to build, consolidating existing long-standing partnerships between HE and FE staff.

  • The aim of our agreements are to offer an agreement in principle at institutional level between a HE receiving institution and FE feeder institution, offering guaranteed progression opportunities for FE students.

The use of a template
The Use of a Template

  • A template Progression Agreement document was drafted and approved by Senior Management. This was then used as an model in subsequent negotiations with individual FE colleges.

  • Then a more bespoke agreement was drafted in consultation with each FE college, tailored to their curriculum.

  • We were mindful to keep the agreements as short and simple as possible, but still enabling flexibility in their application.

Implementation issues
Implementation Issues

  • We faced the usual concerns from HE staff about guaranteed progression compromising quality and standards.

  • To alleviate these concerns consultation was undertaken with internal HE staff to ensure wider institutional understanding and ownership of the initiative at course level.

  • The agreement we developed is also flexible in its application, in that it does guarantee progression, but this is still dependent upon the FE students achieving at an appropriate level and places being available.

Choice quality
Choice & Quality

  • The aim of our Progression Agreements are to ensure choice for learners whilst maintaining quality of provision.

  • The applicant is effectively being directed onto the most suitable course for them, for their abilities, skills and prior experience.

  • Ensuring a diversity of curricula enables this progression - a ladder of learning offering varied HE entry points - from Year 0 levels available on our degrees, to a wide range of Foundation Degrees, that can be followed with Top-Up years.

Curriculum development
Curriculum Development

  • A diversity of Progression Agreements with a variety of FE feeder colleges necessitates a diversity of curricula to accommodate this progression.

  • The NALN is supporting the implementation of Progression Agreements by developing the curriculum within the Faculty of Arts.

  • In recent years the Faculty of Arts has developed a wide range of new Foundation Degrees (12 in total), allied to local industry, which are now recruiting successfully and changing the student demographic.

Effectiveness sustainability
Effectiveness & Sustainability

  • Personalise the process - vital to make a visit to the FE feeder college early in negotiations, to meet senior staff & teaching staff, & set up follow-up meetings/visits.

  • Diplomacy & sensitivity - dealing with busy senior staff & potential conflicts of interest.

  • Utilize existing networks - save time & resources by tapping into existing school & college networks.

  • Be realistic - this is a time consuming process, with resistance to change and unwillingness to sign on the dotted line!

Lessons learned
Lessons Learned!

  • Prevalent attitudes & perceptions - much of the work developing & implementing Progression Agreements is concerned with changing these! Accessibility and transparency are key.

  • Integrity & sustainability - the aim is to establish live agreements of integrity, not paper agreements filed & forgotten, but actively maintained & continuously improved.

  • Incentives & ethics - you have to sell the initiative to colleges who can think ‘what’s in it for us?’ There is a range of practice on this issue.

Progression agreements
Progression Agreements

  • Turning a ‘Scheme’ into reality

  • Communication of concept

  • Quick Guide

  • Website and FAQs

  • Agreement Template

Understanding the Data

  • Allows identification of meaningful progression opportunities

  • Ability to reach verbal agreement in Sector Development Groups

  • Begin the process of institutional agreement

  • Leading to signed agreement

Progression Agreement


  • Completion of ‘sector-wide’ agreements e.g. Construction:

  • Potential 250 Level 3 learners – 7 Providers - to 3 HEIs -with up to 30 programmes all with guaranteed interview/automatic offer.

Pathways to higher education

Pathways to Higher Education


Progression Route Planner

E mail to admissions
E mail to Admissions

From: [email protected] [mailto:[email protected]]

Sent: 13 September 2007 14:24

To: Pathways Enquiry

Subject: GMSA Email

User Details


Name: Cath Walsh

House name / number: GMSA

Street: Oxford Road

Town: Manchester

Postcode: M1 7EE

Home Phone: 0123 2233456


Email: [email protected]

Feeding Details


Institution: MANCAT

Course: BTEC National Diploma in Construction Grade Profile: Merit/Merit/Merit

Receiving Details


Institution: University of Salford

Course: BSc Construction Management

Progression Agreement Identifier: PA2007090003 NextStep Reference: GMSA/13-9-2007/1

Next Steps

  • Pilot in staged approach

  • Involve the institutions at every stage

  • Work towards Network-wide

Monitoring evaluation
Monitoring & Evaluation

  • What are the critical success factors & how will we measure these?

  • Over to you!