INTRODUCTION AND WELCOME
STAFF AND THEIR LOCATIONS
Welcome to the Access - Return to Study Programme. This programme has been designed specifically to meet the needs of adults who have decided to return to education for a variety of reasons, and with a variety of personal goals. We spend a great deal of time with each applicant, to help to identify learning goals which match your future career choices.
For many people, the Access programme offers the opportunity to check out subject choices and interests and abilities, so that you have a clearer idea by the end of the year about realistic routes for the future. The Access programme offers you the opportunity to design a timetable that is suited to your needs and circumstances. Our role is to make sure that you receive help, support and guidance throughout the year, not just at the beginning. Your responsibility is to ask questions, identify queries or concerns, and communicate with us and with your subject tutors
Your course tutors are: David Swift Anne Crook
We are always willing to listen and to help you.
There are no formal entry requirements for the Access Programme. We are concerned that each individual plans a programme of study to suit his or her individual needs, interests, and capabilities. We want students to be successful and to achieve good results. Adults often feel apprehensive about returning to study, especially if it is a while since they were at school or had any involvement with the education system. That's why we usually suggest you make a start with
Level I will involve the study of subjects at Open College A or GCSE level. These will help you to assess your own level of ability, to develop good study skills and habits, and to begin to plan your next stage. Many people include GCSE English Language in their programme of study, as you need to feel confident and competent with your level of written English, and this is an excellent foundation for any future study.
This is the next step and caters particularly, but not exclusively, for those aiming for Higher Education. It will include Open College Stage B units which may require previous study at G.C.S.E. or Stage A for certain subjects. You will be developing the skills needed for Higher Education and Degree level study, and you need to present evidence of interest and commitment for your chosen subjects.
This is available for all students on courses at any level. Let your tutor know if you feel you need extra help with any subject. It is important that we identify your needs early on and put this support in place as soon as possible.
You will be required to negotiate a timetable that involves you in 450 hrs of study. This will include morning, afternoon, and, in some instances, evening sessions. Everyone attends a weekly tutorial, and a session on Information Technology when you will work towards an RSA qualification in Computer Literacy and Information Technology (CLAIT) . You will also have the opportunity to work on your Record of Achievement and personal statements for UCAS applications. You may include a session for resource-based learning, working in the College Library towards projects and assignments related to individual subjects. If you are enrolled for Access Level 2, with Open College B units, you will need to do research and reading for each subject, and spend time in the College Library and the Public Library.
You may include a session of relevant work experience, related to your future career, e.g. working in a school, involvement in voluntary care or social work. An important element of the Access programme is the way you manage your own learning. In addition to timetabled sessions, you will have a considerable amount of private study/homework, for each subject, and you need to be able to plan your time around all your other commitments with home and family.
The majority of Access Programme classes will take place at the Harrison Centre, Lower Hollin Bank Street, but depending on your own particular timetable you may be attending some classes on the Main Campus, or even in Darwen. You will in any case need to use the College Library on the Main Campus. Your timetable will be closely monitored throught your course but especially in the first few weeks when classes start. Sometimes, classes have to close and when that happens you will need to find an alternative class. When your Stage A classes finish in January, you will normally be expected to replace them with other Stage A classes.
The overall aims of the Access Programme are to enable you to gain qualifications to improve your job prospects to develop a personal interest to gain access to Higher Education to prepare for a teacher training course to prepare to train for social work to develop your study skills to gain confidence in your own ability and skills to realise your own potential There will be aims and objectives associated with each subject, you need to check these out with subject tutors. The most important aspect of the course is your personal Action Plan, and your personal goals and objectives. Why have you joined the Access course, what do you hope to achieve, what qualifications do you need for your future career? You can always review and revise your Action Plan as the year progresses, but it's a good idea to record your own Action Plan at the beginning of the year.
Each subject that you choose will be linked to an Examining Board. You may join classes for G.C.S.E., A level or the Open College of the North West, which is linked to and validated by the University of Lancaster and the Open University. Open College A & B units are recognised alternatives to 'A' levels for mature students, and are accepted by Universities for entry to degree courses, and by many professions. The pass mark for Open College B units is 40%, but Universities require 60% for entry to Higher Education. The Access Programme is recognised as an important Return to Study route for mature students, and you can plan a programme for Access to Teaching or Access to Social Work.
Each tutor will use methods that are appropriate for their subject and the skills needed. Don't be afraid to ask for extra clarification, repetition, additional reading material or activities to help. Your study skills will be incorporated into each subject, and Open College B units can serve as preparation for degree level study. The Tutorial programme is entirely student-centred: this is your time to discuss and explore the issues that concern you, to make requests for information, careers guidance, visits to H.E. institutions. There will be regular group tutorials, as part of our strategy to create a supportive learning group. Previous experience confirms that adult students have much experience to share, and support each other very successfully throughout the year. Individual tutorials will help you to review and reflect upon your Action Plan, make changes if necessary, and check your progress in each subject area. If you are applying for employment, for further training or for higher education, you will need a reference from your personal tutor, and we write an 'open' reference in consultation with you.
Supported Study Time will vary from subject to subject. For instance, if you include a Language as part of your Access programme, you may be expected to use the resources of the Language Centre at Feilden Street as an integral part of your learning. Other tutors may set specific tasks and identify where and how resources can be located for these tasks. The idea of supported self study is to offer a flexible but supported approach to individual subjects, with the focus on your responsibility as the learner to make the most of your time, and the materials and resources available to you.
You should find there are NO major items of expenditure associated with the Access Programme. You may be expected to buy one textbook for each subject; these may be available second hand from students who have previously completed the same courses. The College Library is well supplied with books and many other resources for learning. Costs You will normally be required to pay a College registration fee (£10.00) when you enrol but the tuition fees and any examination entry fees associated with each subject will be waived for full time Access students. However, one condition of receiving free tuition is that you attend all your classes and sit the examinations at the end. Failure to comply with this condition may result in you being asked to pay the full cost of the course! You will need to provide your own pens, paper, files and other stationery for your course - these need not be expensive, but good study habits are essential, and there are plenty of resources available to help you organise your notes and your work. A good Dictionary and Thesaurus would be useful too
There may be opportunities for you to visit local Universities, for Open Days and other specialist events. We will keep you posted with information about these.
Every student who completes the Access Programme is a success story! The whole process of deciding to return to study, planning a timetable, organising children or family commitments, and coping with a new routine takes considerable energy and dedication. If we pick out individuals who have progressed in different directions, it is only because they illustrate the kind of achievements that are possible. For some people, the goal is Higher Education, at University. Former Access students have progressed to the University of Central Lancashire, the University of Lancaster, Sheffield Hallam University, Manchester` Metropolitan University and others have gone further afield to undertake degrees in their chosen subjects. Some students choose the Access to Teaching or Access to Social Work route, and are clear that their future studies will be in these vocational areas, at Edge Hill or St. Martinís College, or at the University of Central Lancashire. Some students choose nursing or related care work, some students progress to H.N.D. or B.A. studies here at Blackburn College. Some students progress from Access Level 1 to Access Level 2, confident in their own ability to succeed, with good GCSE passes to prove it. Every Access student is a successful student!
There's much more to the business of Learning than just the subjects you have chosen to study! We base the Access programme at the Harrison Centre because it is an Adult Education Centre and much smaller than the main College at Feilden Street. Adults can feel intimidateded by the size of the Feilden Street campus and by the fact that it seems to be full of younger students. This is no longer the case, and if you look closely you'll find mature students in all parts of the College, having overcome their initial fears and finding their way around confidently. You'll probably find that the majoritv of your classes will be at the Harrison Centre, but you'll still need to come to Feilden Street to use resources and facilities such as The Library Student Services LEARN Centre Language Centre and all the other services that are on offer to students of the College - mentioned in your Welcome Pack. At the beginning of your course, during the Induction period, there will be an opportunity to have a look round and get your bearings. The main message is, 'When in doubt, ask!" If you are unsure about the location of a building or a classroom on the Main Campus, then go to the main College Reception area by Student Services, and don't be afraid to ASK. Car Parking If you intend to drive to Main Campus on Feilden Street, you should be aware that there is wheel clamping in operation on all the College car parks. You can purchase a parking permit in the College registry for £10.00. Alternatively, there are Pay and Display car parks on Feilden Street and Waves. Parking is free at the Harrison Institute.
Methods of assessment will vary according to the subjects you have chosen to study. GCSE Subjects - there are usually exams at the end of the year (May/June). You may also be expected to produce coursework to contribute to your final grade. Check out the requirements for each subject with the tutor for that subject. G.C.S.E. Maths is modular; you can take the exams for each module at stages throughout the year. Open College Stage A units. There are no exams but you will have to produce at least ONE written Assignment which will be assessed by the subject tutor and moderated by the Open College. Open College Stage B units, there will be one exam at the end of the year, which will give 50% of your final grade. Coursework, projects, essays, assignments, will provide the other 50% of your final grade. Again, check out with each subject tutor what is expected in terms of course work. It's a good idea to find out what the assessment requirements will be for each subject, at an early stage. This will help you to plan and organise your work and to look ahead and know what revision will be required. It's important to feel well prepared for any examsyou may need to take, in terms of subject knowledge and examination techniques.
The Blackburn College Student Agreement clearly states what the College expects from you and what you can expect from the College. Read it carefully before you sign it and check out anything you feel is not clear with your personal tutor. Your attendance, progress and timetable have to be monitored very closely for Further Education Funding Council purposes. You will be required to confirm at three points in the year that you are still following the timetable you started out with. Any changes to yor timetable have to be agreed and formalised. Communication with Access Students can cause problems, because you are all following personal timetables, and will be based at the Harrison Centre. Attendance at the weekly tutorial is essential to enable vou to keep in touch with us and us to keep in touch with vou. Attendance at all timetabled sessions is essential. Please contact Subject tutors if you have to miss any sessions, they can then help you to make up any work lost. Please contact your Personal Tutor if you have any worries, concerns, problems; we find it's easier to respond if we know sooner rather than later. Enrolling on an Access programme is a major point of change for most people -everyone needs support, from friends, family, subject tutors and personal tutors. Help us to help you to make the most of your time in the College.
You may wish to include a session of relevant work experience as part of your Access programme. We suggest you keep a log or a diary as a record of your attendance, and the duties, responsibilities you have undertaken. You may also wish to evaluate your work experience in terms of skills developed and relevance to your future career. Relevant work experience can include :- time spent in a school time spent working with children in a variety of contexts paid or unpaid work in caring or social work co-studenting within the College, working alongside students who may need extra support Students wishing to apply for Social work need to produce a portfolio and a work experience log can be an important part of this portfolio and of the Record of Achievement. If you need to arrange voluntary work, the Council for Voluntary Service can help you to identify opportunities with a wide range of voluntary organisations. You can contact them at St. John's Centre, Blackburn. Tel 01254 583957. Try to identify the skills you are developing through your work experience, and look for the transferability of skills e.g. working with people, organisational skills, caring skills. You may also be required to do specific training related to your work placement.