Good foundations

September 30, 2005

Blackburn College has been involved with foundation degrees from the outset. It offered two degrees in the pilot and now offers 28 titles for 2005-06. All but one of these have been written and developed by staff at Blackburn College and validated by Lancaster University.

Anyone involved in developing a degree is aware that there are costs, physical and financial ("Course burden hits quality", September 16), but this has been acknowledged and steps taken to help colleges. The Higher Education Funding Council for England initially allocated money to help course development and recently gave 10 per cent premium funding for foundation degrees. With the imminent allocation of more student numbers, there is funding to support foundation degrees. Foundation Degree Forward also supports colleges to develop good practice and quality, especially in employer engagement and work-based learning.

While there are issues of further education staff contracts to be addressed, it benefits nobody if The Times Higher consistently puts a negative spin on anything to do with higher education in further education or foundation degrees.

Brian Whitehead, dean, East Lancashire Institute of Higher Education at Blackburn College

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