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Transition Project

Brunel University London is proud of the diversity of its student body and accepts students with a range of non-traditional entry qualifications, such as BTEC, Access, and Foundation Courses. The Transition Project focusses on improving the academic outcomes of students who join Brunel with these qualifications with a particular focus on students with a BTEC.

Supporting BTEC Students' Success Symposium - 30th April 2018

The success of BTEC students at university is high on the agenda across the sector. As research into the challenges these students face grows, universities are called upon to support their successful transition and improve their outcomes. This symposium is an opportunity to share collaborative approaches to supporting BTEC students’ transition into and through Higher Education (HE). We welcome colleagues from universities, colleges and schools to attend and to submit a proposal. 

Submit a Proposal

Brunel University London invites you to submit a proposal to the Supporting BTEC Students’ Success Symposium on 30th April 2018. We are accepting proposals for the following:

  • Roundtable discussion: Lead a discussion on the issues around the transition of students with a BTEC qualification. This should provide context for the other talks taking place on the day.
  • Presentation: A 20-minute presentation on an innovative and collaborative approach to supporting BTEC students
  • Lightning talk: A short presentation on a relevant support mechanism or approach.
  • Poster: An overview of your work, which includes success, challenges and next steps

We particularly encourage proposals that demonstrate a collaborative approach between universities and schools/colleges to supporting the successful transition of BTEC students into HE. If you are interested in submitting a proposal, please email us for more information. The deadline for proposals is Monday 19th February 2018.

Bookings for the symposium are open now. You can register here. Please note that the event is free and places are limited.

Supporting BTEC students

As part of the Transition Project we continue to raise awareness of the academic experiences of BTEC students and how they can be supported in their transition to HE. This has included the following:

  • Promoting information on changes to the BTEC qualification and the impact this may have
  • Piloting Education Exchanges with local FE colleges who deliver the BTEC
  • Introducing the Tutoring@Brunel Toolkit to support academic skills development in personal tutoring
  • Trialling Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) in departments with a high proportion of BTEC students

If you would like to discuss BTEC students in your college, department or division, please email us.

The BTEC qualification is undergoing a range of changes to the content and the way it is assessed.Students with larger BTEC awards (those equivalent to 3 A Levels) will enter from September 2018 onwards. As such there will be a period of time where we teach students with both the old and the new BTEC. Up-to-date information on the changes in your subject area can be found on Blackboard. The most notable are:

  • The introduction of externally assessed work and examinations
  • A higher proportion of core units providing greater consistency in learning
  • Synoptic assessments covering several units
  • Greater maths content in the core BTEC Engineering units
  • Changes to unit names and content
  • Students can no longer resubmit work multiple times

If you are interested in finding out more about the impact these changes might have on our students, we can arrange an Education Exchange with a local FE college to look at the impact these changes might have on BTEC students' academic transition to university. Please email the Transition Project Manager for more information.

Education Exchanges are facilitated meetings between staff teaching BTEC students at a local FE college and colleagues delivering Level 1 modules at Brunel. They provide an invaluable opportunity to discuss the academic content and structure of the BTEC qualifications leading into their discipline. So far, we have run Education Exchanges with staff from:

  • Brunel Business School
  • Computer Science
  • Electronic and Computer Engineering

By bringing HE and FE academics and tutors together, the content of the courses can be discussed in detail to identify the knowledge students develop pre-entry and the expectations that exist in Level 1. It provides a useful insight into the learning experiences of our students and how we can support them more effectively when they come to the University.

If you would be interested in having an Education Exchange with a local FE college about BTEC's or another non-traditional entry qualification that students enter your subject with, please email the Transition Project Manager.

The Tutoring@Brunel Toolkit was created by the ASK team following feedback from staff interested in having a collection of resources to support their personal tutoring sessions. This has been designed to support the transition of Level 1 students into HE by building study skills in the following areas:

  • Time management
  • Independent learning
  • Critical thinking and reading
  • Breaking down assignment questions
  • Preparing for exams

Each topic has several activities and an example session plan that tutors can use in their sessions. The toolkit is available to staff via Blackboard Learn. Training on how to use the resources can be provided by ASK; please email the Transition Project Manager if you would be interested in running training in your department.

The Transition Project was initially part-funded by the HEA Strategic Excellence Initiative. This allowed us to take forward out work on exploring the challenges that students' face when joining the University with non-traditional entry qualifications. As part of this, we created a range of resources that are now available to the HE sector, including:

Brunel has since committed to funding the Transition Project until November 2018 to allow us to continue our work in this area and improve our students' reported experiences of transition to University.

As part of this project, we collaborate with academic staff who steer the work in their department. Our Departmental Champions are:

  • Sue Hardman, Brunel Business School
  • Chris Cox, Games Design
  • Xiangming Zhou, Civil Engineering

The Pathways to Brunel programme (formerly Uxbridge to Brunel) is open to BTEC students who have applied to Brunel from select local colleges. The day focuses on the academic skills necessary for success in Higher Education and the differences between BTEC and undergraduate assignments. The sessions are led by our Academic Skills Advisors and aim to help students prepare for the academic demands of university.