The Foundation Year Network (FYN) holds three workshops across the academic year – in autumn, winter and spring.

The workshops provide opportunities for FYN members to engage in discussion relating to good practice in foundation year provision and academic scholarship, to support CPD for foundation year practitioners, and to explore the diversity of provision for entry into Higher Education (HE). Previous workshops have covered topics such as challenges for admissions, recruitment, transition from year zero to year one, and future events will tackle the challenges facing the HE sector including differential fees, non-continuation metrics and meaningful measures of ‘learning gain’.

The FYN is committed to supporting inclusive attendance for its members at Network events including workshops. To support FYN members who would not otherwise be able to attend such events, the Network maintains a Conference Attendance Bursary Fund.

The workshop series this year has been successful in attracting between 20-30 attendees each time. It is good to move the Network and its activities around the country, as it has meant that each time we host a seminar we attract new members to the Network. 

January 2020 – Northumbria University, Newcastle-upon-Tyne

One of the aims of the Foundation Year Network is to represent, promote and support continuing professional development opportunities for foundation year practitioners and, as such, this workshop aims to facilitate discussion and activities surrounding Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (HEA)

See more – https://foundationyear.ac.uk/supporting-member-development-applying-for-hea-fellowship/

September 2018 – University of Sheffield

Camilla Priede and David Vessey (University of Sheffield) kicked things off in Sheffield with a workshop on admissions practice: ‘Towards an Understanding of Foundation Year Recruitment’.  

Camilla has subsequently worked with Sheffield Computer Science students to develop a website which draws data on foundation years directly from the UCAS website into a single searchable area.  This allows individual members and institutions to find, share (and edit) information about their courses in one place.  It promises to be a very useful resource, so many thanks to Camilla for driving this work forward.  Please contact Camilla (c.priede@sheffield.ac.uk) with any feedback and suggestions for improving the pilot site which you can view at https://team34.demo5.hut.shefcompsci.org.uk/.  A password is required for the site.

January 2019 – Solent University, Southampton

Alison Messenger hosted us at Solent University in Southampton in January where we discussed ‘Progression from Foundation to Year One’.  We had three presentations and discussion following each, before Willy Kitchen summarised the key points.

  1. General themes (Roy Hanney, Solent University)
  2. Transition from 0-1: Examples from USW (Marie Clifford, Emma Wheeler & Eammon Kelly, University of South Wales)
  3. Common issues and alleviating student concerns: examples from Criminology and Law from Solent (Rebecca Maina & Daniel Reed, Solent University)

The event certainly stimulated a rich exchange of ideas.  There were lots of examples of good practice including peer mentoring, joining student societies, etc.

See the Padlet site for comments during the workshop: 

https://padlet.com/r_l_dunn/p9y8aqhhw7io (Password: Found@tion19)

April 2019 – University of Sussex

In April, Willy Kitchen (University of Sheffield) led a discussion at the University of Sussex on ‘External threats and internal pressures: a perfect storm for Foundation Years across the sector?’

The session was set up as a roundtable discussion of current and/or anticipated challenges to Foundation Year provision in the light of the Teaching Excellence Framework, the post-18 fees review, and the evolving approach of the Office for Students to the regulation of the wider HE sector.

The discussion focussed mainly on non-continuation rates and the challenges of effectively supporting progression. To the fore was a discussion of the dangers of uncontextualised metrics driving individual institutional responses, which in turn can damage the quality and effectiveness of some FY provision.  A proposed discussion of Access to HE and the FE-HE interface drew less attention; in retrospect, perhaps it should have done! 

See the Padlet site for comments during the workshop: 

https://padlet.com/r_l_dunn/eq8tecex79t4  (no password)

Future Workshops

We welcome offers from FYN members to host a workshop, particularly from those who might be interested in hosting the annual conference in the future. The Network can provide support for hosting an event and funds towards catering. For more information about FYN workshops or to suggest themes for future workshops please contact the Workshop Co-ordinator Rachel Dunn via email r.l.dunn@durham.ac.uk.

Our next workshops

September 2019 – University of Chester 

January 2020 – Northumbria University

April 2020 – University of East Anglia