Our Ambitions and Strategy
Recognising the potential of applicants has always been at the heart of the LSST’s Vision, Mission, Corporate Objectives and Values to recruit the most able students from diverse backgrounds.
LSST remains determined to achieving an even more diverse student community, recognising the social, educational and cultural benefits this confers to the individual and College. In order to ensure that our College continues to eliminate barriers to learning we continue reviewing and evaluating our student recruitment and admissions, learning and teaching, assessment, induction, student support, staff development, and course development to ensure that all those with the potential to succeed at LSST can do so. We will continue to do everything we can to make LSST even more attractive to those from under-represented groups.This is supported through activities to encourage fair access, retention and performance.
We therefore work to raise aspirations and educational attainment among prospective students from under-represented groups to:
• prepare them for higher education
• ensure success on their programme of study
• improve their employment prospects
• open possibilities for postgraduate study
• give them opportunities to return to learning throughout their lives
Our commitment to the widening participation builds on three documents:
The LSST Mission Statement confirms a commitment to the highest standards in teaching and learning and to making the College as attractive and accessible as possible to students from all walks of life.
LSST confirms its commitment to equal opportunities and widening participation in all of its activities. Admissions Policy reiterates our belief in the educational and social benefits, to the College and to our students, of a diverse student population, drawn from all sections of society. We introduced Screening for Accreditation of Prior Experience (SAPE) for students who are seeking to demonstrate prior experience.
This Access and Participation Statement has been developed and implemented after careful analysis and consideration of a wide array of student data sources including by reference to the Teaching Excellence Framework, HESA indicators, post-graduation employment survey data, SLC data on the number of our students receiving the maximum maintenance grant, NSS and other student surveys, and data gathered from our own application and student interview forms.
LSST works to attract applications from and improve success and progression for mature students (in fact our average age of student is 36), students from low performing schools and colleges, minority ethnic groups and disabled students.
The Student Support Policy and Disability Policy introduces student support as a key theme to support individuals of all backgrounds, abilities and aspirations in order to fulfil their potential through learning, achievement and progression and articulates our commitment to the Widening of Participation.
Who we work with to widen access and participation
[Insert details of any external charities, support organisations, and local authorities groups we work with to improve participation – e.g. mental health groups, work placement providers and employers who are particularly disability, BAME, or LGBT friendly, etc.]
Pre-entry advice and guidance
The delivery of appropriate academic and pastoral guidance to all prospective and current students is an important strategic policy for LSST.
The recruitment process starts with an open day where Admissions and faculty staff members deliver a presentation about the College.
Admissions and induction
After that stage applicants are shortlisted and selected individuals are invited to attend an ‘Assessment Day’. Applicants complete the registration form, undertake an Initial Entry Test and an English and Numeracy test. They then complete the required SAPE (Screening for Accreditation of Prior Experience).
Once everything is completed and an applicant’s documents are checked and verified, they are then interviewed by an academic staff member. This dialogue between an academic staff member and prospective student is crucial, and during the interview, staff members evaluate the applicant’s suitability for the programme as well as their intention and motivation to successfully complete their targeted qualification.
During the interview, the academic staff member also identifies areas of improvement for an applicant. At that stage, it may also be the case that the interviewer refers the applicant to the Academic Support Centre in order to attend additional workshops. Upon successful completion of the admission process, and once the applicant accepts the offer to study, the form is sent to the Academic Support Centre for further reference. In our opinion, this helps our students in continuously improve their learning and employability skills.
The final step before the programme commencement is Induction. During this day, new students are provided with important further information.
In order to further enhance our ethos of “inclusivity”, we have also introduced BTEC Level 3 in Business and IT and those candidates who did not have a formal qualification, or who were not able to perform up to the required standards during the academic assessment, are offered to enrol to these programmes and upon successful completion they join the HND.
Lectures, tutorials, office hours, personal tutors and academic support are all different levels of support to students that we have implemented. Each semester personal tutors monitor students’ academic progression as well as attendance and get to know their allocated students well. Personal development plans are also linked in the process.
Consequently, a rapport between personal tutor and student is developed and this also contributes to student engagement at much higher levels. The lead personal tutor is in constant communication with the personal tutors and any problems identified are dealt with swiftly. When a particular student has been identified as needing further support, the personal tutor refers the individual to our academic support centre for additional help via our internal referral system.
Moving through the course
Personal tutoring is yet another layer put in place in order to support students through the course. Our student make up are for the most part adult learners, with an average age profile of 36 years old and have come back to education for a ‘second chance’. Consequently, they need time to adapt to the requirements and challenges of learning. Personal tutors are allocated to individual students at the beginning of their studies and remain with their tutor until completion.
Students are also required to formulate a personal development plan at the beginning of their studies and follow it throughout their studies. It is also checked and evaluated during scheduled tutorial sessions and formative feedback is provided.
Finally, as discussed earlier, if personal tutors identify that a particular student is need of additional support, they refer them to our Academic Support Centre using our internal referral forms for further support.
The College recognises the challenges which can accompany the commitment to widening access particularly in the successful retention of some students. Academic Support Centre offers bespoke study skills workshops. They also offer a flexible service providing one-to-one study skills appointments. Support from the ASC service plays an integral part in the retention of students who may be considering withdrawing because of the unexpected demands of their course. In addition to these support mechanisms, the College also has a dedicated student support team providing specialist information, advice and guidance, including finance and welfare support, to students throughout the entire learner lifecycle.
Furthermore, the Careers Advice Centre provides students with information and guidance on career choices during their time at LSST. The Centre advises on learning and work development, searching the local job market and brushing up on interview skills.
Student involvement in access and participation
We value student input on widening access and participation. We use suggestions and reports from the Student Union, and outcomes of NSS and other student surveys, as well as student feedback through the Programme Committees, Student Support, Pastoral Care, Disability Services, and personal tutors, to inform our strategies for access and participation.
Review of this statement
We review this Access and Participation statement annually as part of our annual review of LSST policies. We will update and re-publish this policy annually as required by condition A2 of the Office for Students Regulatory Framework. This version of the Access and Participation Statement was published on 16 January 2018.