Exploring ‘Vocational’ and ‘Academic’ Routes into Higher Education

Date: 10th March 2022


Please note this event is for Members only

Development of the new T Level Qualifications for post-16 students has renewed the debate about differences between ‘academic’ qualifications, exemplified by A Levels, and ‘vocational’ qualifications such as BTEC. Regardless of a student’s post- 16 qualifications embarking on higher education study will inevitably be a challenge but for those entering with ‘vocational’ qualifications the mismatch is more marked. This event will explore how outreach, curricula and pedagogies can be developed to support the successful transition of all students into undergraduate degrees.

The day will begin with an overview of post-16 choices and outcomes from Dr Catherine Dilnot based on her recent research with Gill Wyness. We will then hear from NERUPI members who will share examples of their outreach and on- course provision for students with ‘vocational’ qualifications in a series of practice examples. Dr Clare Gartland and Annette Hayton and will then consider some of the curricula and pedagogical mismatches between ‘vocational’ post-16 courses and undergraduate degrees. As well as a presentation of relevant research this session will include a participatory group work to explore a change model to support the work of NERUPI members. After lunch Suzanne Hall from Pearsons will explain the structure of the new T Levels and the day will close with our panel of expert speakers exploring the potential impact of the new qualifications on access and success in HE.

Confirmed Speakers

  • Dr Clare Gartland, University of Suffolk
  • Dr Catherine Dilnot, Oxford Brookes University
  • Kerry Shelton, University of Kent
  • Rebecca Foster, University of East Anglia
  • Sally Tazewell, Weston College
  • Suzanne Hall, Pearson
  • Andrew Jones, Linking London
  • Mike Nicholson, University of Cambridge

Download the programme here