MATTERSEY HALL COLLEGE
Access and Participation Statement January 2017
Mattersey Hall College is committed to widening access to and participation in Higher Education. We do this by:
a. encouraging those who would not otherwise think about or consider themselves suitably qualified, to apply for our HE programmes,
b. making potential students aware of the time commitment and workload associated with courses of study, which allow them to make informed decisions, and seeking to find solutions to problems,
c. offering different modes of delivery of programmes to cater to different students’ circumstances, and
d. offering appropriate support, geared to student needs, to enable them to make the most of their time at College and to realise their potential and achieve the best degree they can.
We encourage wider participation through our involvement with groups and organisations outside the usual HE forum. This includes having staff and faculty members speak to churches and conferences, both within our immediate constituency (AoG) and within other church groups. This raises the profile of pursuing further training and continuing professional development through appropriate academic programmes. A significant number of our current students have come to Mattersey through this means. Current students at Mattersey Hall are also involved with churches as part of their course, and this, too, raises the profile of the College and of academic study.
Whilst we encourage excellence in our academic standards, we are willing to admit mature undergraduate students, who may not have formal qualifications, but who show, through conversations at interview and the submission of an essay, that they are able to complete the programme. A significant number of our MA applicants also come on the basis of considerable church and leadership experience come, though without formal qualifications.
Potential students are made aware of what is involved in pursuing a degree programme. Those who are thinking about taking a HE course with us are invited to ‘taster days’, where, over a two-day period, they see the College, talk to current students and sample something of student life – including a sample lecture. The subsequent application process includes a formal interview, in which information about the programme of study, and practical issues relating to it are discussed, and options for overcoming potential difficulties are considered.
There is also a programme of induction that helps students to be aware of the responsibilities of participating in a HE programme.
Most of our students enrol on a full-time, campus-based programme. This includes teaching, but also wider personal and spiritual formation, through campus-based activities. We realise, though, that this is not possible for all students, and we offer several variations, including a part-time campus-based programme and full- and part-time Distance Learning programmes. In recent years the Distance Learning programme has grown, and provides access to HE provision to many who would not, otherwise, be able to study for a degree.
We also have adapted the delivery of our Level 4 modules and made them available to the wider public as ‘short-courses’, in which visitors sit in lectures alongside our undergraduate students. These short courses are not validated, but they introduce a wider audience to the possibility of engaging in academic learning, and so, again help to widen access and participation.
Widening access to those who do not come from an academic background involves, too, offering appropriate student support, in order to secure their progression and successful completion of their programme of study. In the 2015–2016 academic year, the progression and completion rates for each cohort exceeded 90%. Students receive pastoral support from the College Dean, and though mentoring groups led by members of staff. Academic support takes the form of study skills sessions, substantial help from the Research Centre manager and open-door access to the academic team. We will seek to work with students to resolve issues that may arise with their course and offer a range of options, which may include changing the mode of learning, to enable them to complete their academic programme.
There is considerable support, too, for students with learning disabilities, primarily through our dedicated Disability Officer, who applies the College’s Disability Policy. Students with learning disabilities are contacted on acceptance, and where necessary helped through the process of post-16 assessments. Through staff training sessions and regular communication, all lecturers are made aware of the importance of taking learning needs into account in their teaching, including their use of learning resources and visual aids. All students with learning disabilities are given extra time to submit assignments. Currently, 9% of our undergraduate student body (including distance learners) have diagnosed learning disabilities.
Our goal is to make the training that we offer, which has the degree programme at its centre, available and accessible to a widening range of students. A significant proportion of our students come to us without formal academic qualifications, and many would not, otherwise, access Higher Education. Given the range of backgrounds from which our students are drawn, and the high proportion of successful outcomes, we believe that our goal is largely being fulfilled. We will, nevertheless, continue to work hard to increase access and improve our provision.ey Hall have been followed.