Advisers' frequently asked questions
These are some of the most frequently asked questions we get asked by advisers. If you have a particular question we haven't answered here, please feel free to contact us at email@example.com.
Most universities and colleges accept the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) recognised Access to HE qualification as equivalent to other level 3 qualifications. Indeed, some have policies to encourage applications from Access to HE students, who are often valued for their maturity and willingness to contribute to discussion.
Some HE courses may require GCSE grade C or equivalent in English, mathematics and/or science. It is a requirement of the QAA Recognition Scheme for Access to HE that, 'where an Access to HE programme is intended to lead to further study for a professional qualification, students are made aware of, and given the opportunity to meet, the entry requirements of the professional body concerned'. In order to meet this requirement, many Access to HE courses offer ‘GCSE-equivalent’ courses either within, or alongside, the Access to HE course. Further information on GCSE- equivalence
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Each university and college sets its own criteria for nursing and midwifery courses, so there are no national minimum entry requirements. However, their own criteria for diploma courses is generally 5 GCSEs or equivalent at grade C or above including English, and a science subject. For degree courses, the same criteria applies, plus two A levels or equivalent.
For further information, please visit the NHS Careers website.
The first ‘access’ courses were established in the late1970s. Many of these were set up to encourage entry to teacher training by people with a wider range of backgrounds than the traditional types of students who were attracted to teaching. Over the years, the success of these early courses led to the development of courses in other areas.
In the 1987 White Paper: Higher Education: Meeting the Challenge, the Government identified Access to HE as 'the third recognised route to HE', and sought to extend Access to HE provision through a national framework for the recognition of Access to HE courses.
A national framework has been in existence since 1989. The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) has been responsible for the national framework in England, Wales and Northern Ireland since 1997. Read more >> www.accesstohe.ac.uk/aboutUs/recognition/default.asp
Access to HE programmes are validated by Access Validating Agencies (AVAs), which are partnership organisations with members including further and higher education institutions. AVAs are licensed by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) to validate Access to HE courses and award the nationally recognised Access to HE qualification to successful access students.
There are 15 AVAs currently licensed by QAA in England and Wales. Most AVAs are Open College Networks and their work is coordinated by the National Open College Network. Others work collaboratively as the Federation of Authorised Validating Agencies.
The QAA, through the framework, recognises all programmes and regulates standards.
The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) Recognition Scheme for Higher Education provides a national system for quality assurance, and is designed to:
- assure the quality of, and regulate standards of student achievement on, Access to HE programmes which are part of the scheme
- publicly demonstrate the quality of the provision and the adequacy of its standards as a preparation for higher education for students
Recognised Access to HE courses which are a part of the QAA framework are entitled to use the QAA’s Access to HE logo.
A version of the Access to HE logo (including the words 'recognised by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education') also appears on Access to HE certificates awarded to successful students.
The Access to HE qualification is equivalent in standard to other Level 3 qualifications, such as A Levels, and has been recognised as a full Level 3 qualification in the Labour Force Survey. However, it stands outside the National Qualifications Framework, because it is regulated by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (rather than the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority) and awarded by local (rather than national) awarding bodies.