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College HE Admissions Community of Practice Confirmation and Clearing event Wednesday 19 June 2013 Janet Graham, Director of SPA. What is SPA?. Set up in 2006 following the Schwartz Report Fair Admissions to Higher Education: Recommendations for Good Practice 2004

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College HE Admissions Community of Practice Confirmation and Clearing eventWednesday 19 June 2013Janet Graham, Director of SPA

what is spa
What is SPA?
  • Set up in 2006 following the Schwartz Report Fair Admissions to Higher Education: Recommendations for Good Practice 2004

“ The Group recommends the creation of a central source of expertise and advice on admissions issues. Its purpose would be to act as a resource for institutions who wish to maintain and enhance excellence in admissions. Such a centre could lead the continuing development of fair admissions, evaluating and commissioning research, and spreading best practice.”

  • UK’s independent, fully funded (free at the point of delivery) and objective voice on fair HE admissions
  • Small team, but with practical and relevant experience

College HE Admissions:

Confirmation and Clearing

Presentation by: Nick Davy, AoC National HE Manager

the pipeline
The Pipeline
  • Apprenticeships Review – Holt/SME, Richard
  • Traineeships
  • Study Programmes:16-18
  • DfE Review of Level 3 vocational qualifications/ A level reform
  • Direct Recruitment at 14
  • GCSE Reform


  • Reconstruction of Secondary Education – Academies, Studio/Free schools, University Technical Colleges
trends and challenges for college he
Trends and Challenges for College HE
  • GuildHE/Foundation developments (replace IFL) – CPD/relevance
  • Higher Education Academy: Scholarship in CHE
  • + 24 Loans (Mid-May – only 1,000 processed; 7,000 – more information). 50% decrease?
  • New SASE frameworks for Higher Apprenticeships 6/7
  • Whitehead – adult qualification review
  • HEA/UK Professional Standards Framework (HE) – Individual and Institutional Accreditation. Grimsby – 1st for latter
  • Circa 14 Colleges – QAA ARCHE – informally – successful
  • Children/Families Bill – HE excluded


Changing HE landscape – Funding/Student Number Control, High Grades Policy, Risk-based QA, New Entrants, Information agenda

trends and challenges for college he1
Trends and Challenges for College HE
  • Decline - Part Time HE:
    • Recession
    • Fees Increase
    • Lack/promotion
    • Problems with validation
  • Binary Regulation of HE – Public/Private
  • Funding/Student Number Control - flexibility from 2014; High-grades
  • Higher Apprenticeships - issues
  • Public Information – KIS/Unistats, Capacity
  • New External Quality System – Higher Education Review
  • Access/Widening Participation – emerging strategy
  • Non-prescribed HE?
trends and challenges for college he2
Trends and Challenges for College HE

Pressure on admissions/recruitment

  • Ensure fair admissions and hit SNC target, recruit high grade students
  • Mature – more risk averse/recession
  • Part time – significant decline since 2006; greater in 2012
  • International – Borders Agency rules; Brazil - concerns?
  • Competition from Access HEI
  • Competition from Private/not-for-profit providers –50% of Providers concentrated in London (20% - SE)*

*BIS Research Report


College HE Admissions Community of Practice Confirmation and Clearing eventWednesday 19 June 2013Lucy Merritt, SPA Admissions Project Liaison Officer (College HE)

spa s work with fe colleges offering he
SPA’s work with FE Colleges offering HE

SPA’s College HE Objective

  • To support Colleges to further develop professionalism in fair admissions and good practice in HE admissions

In support of this objective SPA have:

  • Established project group to build community of good practice in College HE admissions
  • Appointed a part time SPA Project Liaison Officer for College HE, on secondment from a college HE admissions role
the work of the community of practice group
The work of the Community of Practice group
  • Building an evidence base of current practice seeking out existing good practice;
  • Assessing practices and procedures in HE admissions and adapting SPA’s existing good practice if appropriate and/or developing new practice;
  • Raising awareness of the Group’s work with FE Colleges offering HE in their regions;
  • Disseminating relevant information to FE Colleges offering HE in their regions;
  • Promoting the professionalism of admissions with FE Colleges offering HE in their regions and with the wider College HE admissions community.
project plan what has been achieved so far
Project Plan – What has been achieved so far
  • Established a baseline of current practice via a survey;
  • The production of tailored good practice on Interviews and Admissions Policies, specifically for the college HE Sector;
  • Presentations at a number of events, including the UCAS conference, HEFCE new members briefing and regional AoC events;
  • The development of checklists in relation to the internal and external regulatory requirements for HE admissions, these are due to be published shortly.
  • A tailoring of SPA good practice for College HE admissions
project plan going forward
Project Plan – Going forward
  • The expansion of the HE in FE page on the SPA website, to include all new College HE documents;
  • The review of SPA’s published good practice statements on HE in FE and Criminal Convictions;
  • The review of published guidance on admissions tests;
  • To share good practice regarding the collection and use of statistical admissions data;
  • To explore the production of a toolkit/training pack for staff involved in College HE admissions;
  • The publication of a series of simple FAQs;
  • The continued collection of good practice;
  • Attendance at a number of regional meetings to discuss the work of the Group including the AoC Shaping College HE conference on 28th June.
contact spa
Contact SPA
  • Through recognising the challenges faced by the sector SPA aims to have a positive impact upon College HE admissions, to the benefit of Colleges and applicants as well as other stakeholders involved in the admissions process.
  • SPA welcomes any input or feedback on the work towards the college HE objective and is happy to receive enquiries from any colleges interested in getting involved with the work of the Community of Practice Group.
  • Lucy MerrittSPA Admissions Project Liaison Officer (College HE)Email:
  • Tel: 07500 041130
confirmation and


Confirmation and

A new college


higher education at city college brighton and hove ccbh
Higher Education at City College Brighton and Hove (CCBH)
  • Approx 400 HE students
  • Mixture of directly and indirectly funded HE provision, across 16 Foundation degree and BA (Top Up) programmes
  • Awarded its own Student Number Control by HEFCE for 2012 entry
  • A partner college of the University of Brighton (UoB)
    • CCBH managing admissions cycle for directly funded students for the first time for 2013 entry
    • UoB continues to manage admissions for in-directly funded provision
  • Centralised HE provision
    • All admissions decisions made by course leaders
    • All decisions quality checked by central HE office before processing
challenges and priorities
Challenges and Priorities

Challenges for CCBH in C&C

  • Experience
  • Student number controls
  • Historical data on conversion rates etc.
  • Manual admissions process, not using student records system


  • Fair admissions, timeliness and accuracy
  • To recruit within Student Number Control
  • Collecting admissions data, for comparison in future years
preparing for confirmation and clearing
Preparing for confirmation and Clearing

Develop internal procedures

  • Consulted:
    • UCAS
    • SPA good practice guidance
    • Partner HEI’s procedures
    • HE team, including senior management
  • Produced procedural documentation tailored specifically for course leaders and HE office team
  • Produced simple timescale diagrams for dissemination internally, including dates and times of key communications (e.g. emails on GCE results day)
  • Hold workshops with course leaders and HE office team to provide training and gain feedback on the processes, as well as to ensure everybody is aware of their roles in C&C
admissions data student number controls
Admissions data & Student number controls
  • Recruitment targets for each programme have been set for each programme, as well as maximum recruitment levels
  • UCAS offers log
    • How many offers has been made, numbers of CF’s, UF’s, pending clearing enquiries etc.
    • The log is also used to record how many applicants fall into the SNC exemptions list (e.g. ABB and equivalent and international students)
    • Used to monitor recruitment against SNC
  • Decide what information to capture for future analysis
    • Conversion rates from CF to UF, CF to reject and CI & UI to CF & UF
    • Number of clearing enquiries
    • Number of clearing accepts
ensuring fair admissions
Ensuring Fair Admissions
  • Set service level agreements with agreed timescales for making clearing and confirmation decisions
  • Clear ‘Near Miss’ policy to be applied consistently across the provision, policy developed in consultation with Senior Management and Course Leaders
  • Ensure lines of communication are clear, for external (e.g. applicants and advisors) and internal parties
learn from experiences and be prepared to adapt
Learn from experiences and be prepared to adapt
  • What is right for the college
  • Gather feedback from different internal stakeholders, and where necessary make changes to improve the process
  • Ensure there are clear communication channels for all parties
establishing current practice in planning for and administering confirmation and clearing
Establishing current practice in planning for and administering Confirmation and Clearing
  • Share examples of current practice in Confirmation and Clearing (for new Colleges current practice in planning for Confirmation and Clearing).
    • How have you gone about planning for Confirmation and Clearing?
    • Which key staff have been involved in planning?
    • Are you considering any changes to previous years?
  • Identify good practice and key issues
evaluating risks at confirmation and clearing
Evaluating risks at Confirmation and Clearing
  • Evaluate 4 or 5 of the risks factors your group identified earlier in the day
    • Ranking theses risks as red, amber or green. Red being the biggest risk factors and green being the lowest.
    • Discuss the justifications for your rankings.
planning solutions
Planning solutions
  • Consider solutions for Confirmation and Clearing in more depth, focusing on planning and monitoring acceptance numbers against targets.
    • Draft a template showing what numbers need to be monitored over Confirmation to determine actual conversion numbers and remaining vacancies prior to Clearing.
reviewing solutions
Reviewing solutions
  • Put your sheets up on the nearest wall space
  • Spend 15 minutes reviewing the other groups planning templates
  • After 15 minutes return to your tables and discuss any key points of difference between the templates and any further identified good practice and issues