Case study

Student Opportunity Fund - why it counts: Step up to HE at Staffordshire University

28 Nov 2013

The part-time, flexible access Step up to HE Foundation Certificate programme at Staffordshire University targets mature students from the most deprived parts of Stoke-on-Trent. This innovative and highly successful course is supported partially through Student Opportunity funding.

It is specifically designed for individuals who are interested in participating in higher education but have been out of education for some time, are currently working and/or have a range of commitments. There is also a well-established tradition of family members and friends entering university through this course.

Teaching and learning focuses on the development of reflection, metacognition and self-belief as the starting point to a wide range of academic skills, for example: critical thinking, academic writing and referencing. Successful completion of Step up to HE awards 30 credits at level 3 and demonstrates the potential to move onto further study. Many learners who complete the course progress onto a wide range of undergraduate programmes such as Psychology, Sociology, Accounting and Finance, Health Studies and History. One learner recently achieved his long term ambition by achieving a place to study Experimental Film at Staffordshire University.

Step up to HE is critical to the decision making process for mature learners and houses a specialist advisor to provide support throughout the application process and beyond. A strong working relationship has developed with a range of awards at Staffordshire University who actively recruit Step Up to HE learners. The individual long term impact of this type of provision is significant and results at degree level are very good, with learners usually achieving a first or 2.1 classification.