Higher education and hybrid
institutions
Widening participation policy as
experienced in FE/HE institutions
Ann-Marie Bathmaker, UWE Bristol UK
Overview
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Widening Participation in HE and dual
sector/hybrid institutions
The FurtherHigher (FH) Project
What is a dual sector institution?
Conceptualising WP in HE in the context of
the FH project
The experience of adult/mature students
Conclusions
Acknowledgements
This paper is based on work contributing to an ESRC TLRP
project entitled Universal access and dual regimes of further
and higher education.
The research team comprises:
Diane Burns, Anne Thompson, Val Thompson, Cate Goodlad
(University fieldwork research team)
Andy Roberts; David Dale; Will Thomas; Liz Halford (Institution
based researchers)
Ann-Marie Bathmaker (UWE), Greg Brooks, Gareth Parry
(University of Sheffield), David Smith (University of Leeds)
(Project directors)
Karen Kitchen (University of Sheffield) (Project administrator)
Context for WP in HE
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Policy imperative to widen participation
in HE in context of ‘knowledge
economy’
PSA target (towards 50% participation
by 2010 by 18-30 year olds)
2 tertiary sectors in England:
LSC/FE sector and HE sector
‘Dual sector’ FE/HE institutions
The FurtherHigher project
Research questions
 Why do we have two ‘sectors’ providing
higher education in England?
 What impact does this have on widening
participation in HE?
 How do students experience transitions
between further and higher education, and
between different stages of undergraduate
study (level 5/6)?
FH project fieldwork
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Fieldwork in 4 dual sector institutions
Transition between level 3 (FE) and level 4
(HE) AND between level 5 (2 yr HE) and level
6 (final year UG degree)
Interviews with students, tutors, institutional,
managers
documentary analysis
collection of fieldwork observation records
photographs of space and place
Adult/mature students in HE policy &
the FH study
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Who counts?
Varies in different policies and places
HESA: over 21
PSA policy target: not over 30
Older students in FH project sample mainly:
ON Access programmes, HND, Fd Degree
NOT ON level 3 programmes, such as BTEC
National, AVCE
What is a dual sector institution?
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A relational understanding - ‘dual
sector’ institutions need to be
understood in relation to other parts of
HE system in England:
‘elite’ universities
Post-1992 universities
FE colleges
Role of dual sector institutions
Enabling WP and transition to HE through:
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Alternative routes
Second chance opportunities
Increased variety and geographical spread
(local and regional)
Foundation degree provision: widening
participation in HE, a progression route to
Honours
‘Seamless’ transition WITHIN single FE/HE
institutions
What is a dual sector institution?
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Northgreen Federal College
East Heath College
Central HE College
Southleigh University
What makes them dual?
What makes them dual sector?
All are in transition, undergoing change, but
not in the same direction
Changing the landscape of
HE in England
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Elite, mass, universal (Trow, 1973)
Features of all 3 in current system
Differentiation and stratification
Changing configuration of the landscape
of HE
Conceptualising WP in HE in
dual sector institutions
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Cultural understanding of learning drawing on
the ESRC Transforming Learning Cultures in
FE project (http://www.education.ex.ac.uk/tlc/project.htm)
Relational understanding of the HE system
Institutional habitus and cultures of HE
Bourdieu, 1990, 1996; Bourdieu and Passeron, 1990
Reay, David and Ball, 2005
Constructions of habitus, culture and
‘position’
 Structure and agency in the practices of WP
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Preliminary insights from the
FurtherHigher Project
Significant aspects of teaching and learning
cultures in dual sector institutions with
particular reference to adult/mature students:
Space and place
UCAS and applying for HE
Expectations of HE
Sample of ‘mature’ students from Northgreen Federal College
Name
Born
Course
Progression route
Dave
1961
Science Access
BSc Physics at local pre-1992 university
Lizzie
1975
Science Access
BAQTS at local post-1992 university
Vicky
1978
Science Access
Radiography at local post-1992 university
Sam
1979
HND Tourism Management
Y2 Tourism & Hospitality at distant post-1992
university OR
BA Modern Languages
Sarah
1980
HND Tourism Management
Y3 Tourism Management at local post-1992
University
Julia
1983
HND Tourism Management
Y3 Tourism Management at local post-1992
university OR
Year 2 of Human Geography
Ruth
1942
HND Fine Art
City and Guilds Embroidery
1960
HND Fine Art
Y1 BA Fine Art
Local post-1992 university
1967
HND Fine Art
Y1 BA Fine Art
Local post-1992 university
Diane
Space and place
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What do students name as important
about space and place?
What signifies ‘higherness’?
What signifies ‘furtherness’?
Different ‘cultures’ in different parts of
an institution
Space and place
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Car parking and accessibility
A place where I belong, a place that
belongs to me
‘school cultures’: conflict with ‘adult’
identities
Teaching room at Daiston Campus site of
Northgreen Federal College
Wall display in teaching room at Daiston
Campus site of Northgreen Federal College
College notice at Tultry College site of
Northgreen Federal College
UCAS and applying for HE
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Surviving UCAS
Support:
cold knowledge
hot knowledge
Getting an offer to study
Expectations of HE
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Will I fit in?
Will I be clever enough?
Will there be any students like me?
(adult/mature)
Expectations of HE describe anticipated
‘higherness’ and by implication,
experience of ‘furtherness’
HE is harder
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Harder, a big jump
so need to move into 1st or 2nd year, not
final year
More intense
A lot more work
Stricter deadlines
Dissertations
Exams
HE requires independence
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Independent study and self-direction
More independent research
Use the library a lot more
Less individual support
Relationships with others
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Much bigger classes
Different atmosphere: not so close knit
Lecturers less approachable
Doctors and professors: lofty and
straight-laced
Current study means students
are ready for the move to HE
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Excited
‘Good’ nervousness
Lizzie:
I can’t wait to start, I really can’t wait
to start
Conclusions
Mixed economy: mixed experiences
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Institutions pulled in different directions
Formal systems and structures may
discourage
Local relationships may encourage
Conclusions
This is linked to a wider context of
change:
 Dual sector institutions in transition
 HE system in transition
 Focus of WP policies in transition
Contact details
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Ann-Marie Bathmaker
[email protected]
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The FurtherHigher Project
http://www.shef.ac.uk/furtherhigher/
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