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City of Bristol College - Access to HE provider of the year

Speaker key

JW: Joanna Wynn
AG: Alison Griffiths, Curriculum Manager for Access to HE, City of Bristol College


JW: I am here at the Access to HE Conference, in Birmingham with the Curriculum Manager for Access to HE at the City of Bristol College, Alison Griffiths; first of all congratulations, Alison, I understand that you have won the first Access to HE Award as Provider of the Year for Access to HE. What makes City of Bristol College a great place to be an Access Student?

AG: First of all I am delighted to have won the award on behalf of the Access to Higher Education Team at the College; and I think it is a great place to study because we offer a very broad selection of different subjects. I think we are unique in offering a lot of very science based subjects like Physics and Chemistry, as well as Biology, and we also offer a lot of Higher Maths subjects, including Engineering Maths which allows people to get into Engineering. We also offer the more standard Access subjects, like English, Maths, Psychology, Sociology, Health Studies, History, Geography, Environmental Science, I think that is about it.

JW: Okay, and what sort of support and opportunities are there for the access students at City of Bristol College?

AG: Well, we are…we do run as a separate department because we are a very large provider of Access Courses, we have about 250 students in our college, so it means that all the staff teaching on Access are, by and large, that is the main part of their timetable is teaching on Access, and the staff are also act as personal tutors, so the students get a lot of individual support when they are on the course from their tutors as well as from the subject teachers. We also have a dedicated Access Office which always has somebody at the end of the phone, who is very knowledgeable about Access courses and can give very bespoke advice about what the requires for an Access course are. So it is basically a friendly face on the end of the email, on the end of the phone, all the time to answer any queries. So we can give a very knowledgeable advice to students when they first enquire.

JW: What does it mean to the College having won this award today?

AG: Well we are very, very pleased to have won it, and I think it gives recognition to the Access team that we are providing an excellent course and we are enabling the students to go on to very good universities. We do send our students on to our local universities, like Bristol University, Bath University, Bath Spa University, and University of West of England, so we work very closely with our partners, so just for the College it means that we have established that relationship and we have been recognised as providing a very good Access course in the whole country.

JW: And finally, what would be your top tips for anyone thinking about going on to Higher Education and needing to study for a qualification like Access to enable them to do that?

AG: Well I would suggest that you work backwards. Decide what you want to study at university, and contact Universities, look at their websites, go to some open days, find out what you want to study, at which university, and then contact an Access Course at your Local College, and then ask them to send you as much information as possible, and then when you have read all that information, talked to as many people as possible, then if you have decided that an Access course is really what you want to do, and not something else; then apply.

JW: Thanks very much.