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March 2009/05
Good practice

This report is for information and guidance

Supporting higher education in further education colleges
Policy, practice and prospects

This publication is aimed at managers and practitioners providing higher education courses in further education colleges. It contains information on policy context and strategy, and good practice guidance, with examples from 60 institutions and organisations.

Table of contents and foreword (read online)


  • Foreword   Professor David Eastwood
  • Introduction: using the guide
  1. Higher education in further education colleges
  2. Higher level skills
  3. Management and planning
  4. Working in partnership
  5. Marketing, recruitment and admissions
  6. Developing the curriculum
  7. Assessment
  8. Supporting HE students in further education colleges
  9. Staffing and staff development
  10. Quality assurance and enhancement
  • Annex A Membership of project team and acknowledgements
  • Annex B Institutions and organisations contributing to the project
  • Annex C List of abbreviations
  • Annex D Definitions
  • Annex E Sources of information
  • Annex F References


This good practice guide is a significant revision of the 2003 publications HEFCE 2003/15 and 2003/16. It takes account of the increasing emphasis on the need to develop higher-level skills for economic success and social justice. It reflects the outcomes of HEFCE's review of its policy towards higher education (HE) in further education colleges (FECs), which advocates a key role for FECs in being more strategic about the development of their HE provision in order to build on their strengths, develop distinctive provision, vocational progression and accessibility. It will be of interest to those new to HE taught in FECs as it covers a wealth of information including funding, models of collaboration and developing new programmes. This is combined with illustrations and explanations of good practice, which will be of particular interest to those with longstanding experience of HE in FECs. Thus, whether a senior manager in a college, manager of partnerships in an HE institution or practitioner, this guide should have something to offer. We believe many will find the whole guide valuable, though each chapter can be read independently of the others.

The previous guides were among the most requested of our publications, and building on that success we involved some of the people who authored the first publication in the writing of this new edition. The project has been ably managed by University of Sheffield's School of Education. Excellent case studies were offered by a large number of institutions, reflecting the enthusiasm for a publication of this kind. Critical comments were provided by readers from a range of organisations to help the authors improve the relevance of the material.

We shall continue to work with FECs and partnerships in enhancing excellence in learning and teaching and widening participation, and I am sure that staff in colleges and HE institutions will find this a valuable guide.

Professor David Eastwood
Chief Executive
Higher Education Funding Council for England