Warwickshire College gains degree-awarding powers

23rd September 2014 at 16:08

A further education college has become only the fourth in England to be granted degree-awarding powers.

Warwickshire College was given permission to award its own foundation degrees after applying to the Privy Council. The college already offers more than 70 foundation degrees and full honours degrees validated by several universities, and more than 1,000 of its students are currently studying for HE qualifications.

However, the new powers allow it to offer the qualifications without requiring a university partner. To gain the powers, Warwickshire was subject to a year of scrutiny by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA). 

Sue Georgious, the college’s interim principal, said: “The award is the culmination of more than three years of hard work by the college and serves to demonstrate that our higher education quality and standards are equal to any university in the country.”

Dr Ann Cotterill, director of higher education, said the college can now begin to design its own foundation degrees to meet the needs of local employers. “Many of our existing courses will not change as we have developed excellent collaborative links with our partner universities that serve both students and employers well, but these powers give us the flexibility to be responsive to local and national needs,” she added.

Almost 300 colleges in England offer HE courses designed and accredited by universities but until now only three have the power to award their own foundation degrees: New College Durham, Newcastle College and Grimsby Institute.

The announcement follows recent calls from the FE sector to make it easier for colleges to design and credit their own HE courses.

Universities minister Greg Clark congratulated the college. He said: “Foundation degrees play a key part of the government’s plan to increase the diversity and flexibility of higher education so that students have more choice in gaining the skills they need to get on in life.”

Related stories:

Amp up our higher powers, say colleges – August 2014

Give FE colleges same freedoms as universities, says AoC – July 2014


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today