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Further Education: Foundation Degrees

Volume 461: debated on Wednesday 6 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps he is taking to ensure that foundation degrees awarded by further education colleges will be structured so as to allow those students who wish to do so to pursue shorter honours degree courses. (139272)

[holding answer 4 June 2007]: Since their introduction in 2000, all foundation degrees have incorporated “progression agreements” as a core element of the qualification. Progression agreements are designed to ensure that all foundation degree students can identify appropriate opportunities for progression on to more advanced study, should they so wish. Further study will typically be the final year of an honours degree programme, but progression could also be to a relevant professional or higher vocational qualification. Progression routes are negotiated by institutions at the time of establishing new Foundation Degree programmes. The ‘Foundation Degree Qualification Benchmark’ statement, produced by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education, sets out detailed guidance for institutions on how progression routes should be established and maintained.

Progression agreements will continue to be an essential aspect of all foundation degree programmes, regardless of the awarding institution. The proposals in the Further Education and Training Bill to allow further education institutions in England to apply for the power to award foundation degrees only will not change this core characteristic of the foundation degree. I intend to table a Government amendment that seeks to address the issue of progression on the face of the Bill.