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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.

The 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:

Please note: The Transition Project at Brunel ended in August 2018. Thank you to all those who were a part of it and contributed to its success.

Supporting BTEC Students' Success Symposium Materials

On 30th April 2018, we welcomed colleagues from across the sector to share different approaches to supporting BTEC students and promote HE and FE collaboration. Further informaion about the day and our presenters can be found in the delegate pack.

Presentations and Posters from the Supporting BTEC Students' Success Symposium
Progression of BTEC students from London colleges to HE 2011-2014 Hugh Joslin, University of Greenwich 
Research Roundtable - NTU Andre Koziello, Nottingham Trent University 
Research Roundtable - University of Liverpool Debbi Stanistreet, University of Liverpool
Research Roundtable - University of Gloucestershire Alex Masardo, University of Gloucestershire
Reseach Roundtable - University of Lincoln Mark F Smith, University of Lincoln 
Successfully making the transition into Higher Education and progressing through your degree Alison Griffin, Natalie Hyde and Jonathan Nassar, University of West London
Pre-entry Transition to Brunel: Supporting BTEC students through HeadStart Charlotte Thackeray, Brunel University London
The University of Greenwich’s NCOP Mentoring Scheme at MidKent College Alison Ackroyd, MidKent College
A non-deficit approach to BTEC students in supporting transition into Higher Education: an evaluation of a peer mentoring programme Rosalind Lord, St Mary’s University
‘BTEC Learners, we want you!’ Schools, colleges and universities working together to support the  progression of level 3 BTEC learners to higher level opportunities Catherine Fenwick and Lucia Byrne, Aimhigher London South
Working with BTEC progressors: Providing academic support to HE students within an FE setting Claire Lyness, Sunderland College
A collaborative approach to embedding academic literacy practices for BTEC students on a Sport Science programme Pamela Thomas, London South Bank University
Poster: Targeted versus integrated support for BTEC students: What are the issues? Lavinia Mitton, University of Kent
Poster: The role of BTEC courses and college in supporting progression to HE: Implications for practices in HE Clare Gartland and Christine Smith, University of Suffolk
Poster: Pre-entry Transition to Brunel: Supporting BTEC students Charlotte Thackeray, Brunel University London
Poster: Linking London: Working in Partnership to Create Opportunities Andrew Jones, Linking London
Poster: Hartpury Head Start: raising aspiration and attainment through a programme of in-reach Linda Greening, University Centre Hartpury
Poster: Steps to Success: Research, Present, Reflect Luke Parmenter and Sarah Johnson, Nottingham Trent University
Supporting BTEC students’ success through FE and HE collaboration Katie Osmon, Brunel University London, and Judith O’Neill, Uxbridge College
 LSBU and NewVIc's BTEC Progression Partnership Louise Andronicou, London South Bank University and Jamie Gillooly, NewVIc
Aiding success in transition through holistic provision and targeted peer support Joan Upson and Zoe Ollerenshaw, University of Sheffield
What works? A framework to enable replication of successful student engagement intervention activities. Christine Broughan and Caroline Wilson, Coventry University

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

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.

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.

The Pathways to Brunel programme (formerly Uxbridge to Brunel) is open to BTEC students who have selected Brunel as their firm or insurance choice on UCAS. 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.