The Foundation Year Network shares Universities UK’s concerns regarding the Augar report recommendation (p. 103) to remove financial support for ‘foundation years attached to degree courses’. As UUK note, FYs provide “an important route for capable students from challenging or deprived backgrounds to make the step into higher education”.
We would add at this stage that in making this recommendation, the report seems to refer to one single piece of data analysis released by OfS on 13th May this year. The network has already commented to OfS that this analysis masks a very significant diversity in the makeup and delivery of both Access to HE Diplomas and integrated degree with FY programmes across the country. We have offered to assist in any future analysis in order to make it more helpful to OfS and the sector in identifying and understanding any patterns in the data. This can help bring greater focus on the most effective ways to support the transition into and through HE for a diverse cohort of students – many from underrepresented groups.
The network is extremely concerned to ensure that policy decisions are not made on the basis of inappropriate or incomplete data sets and that the data is appropriately contextualised for decision-makers. The network will be offering its fuller response in due course.