Some of the UK’s top sixth form colleges have joined forces with Middlesex University London to offer new routes into higher education, with plans for a national network of providers.
The unique partnership, named the Caxton Group, builds on a successful pilot project between Hampshire’s Peter Symonds College and Middlesex University.
Along with Peter Symonds College, the Caxton Group will also initially include King Edward VI College based in the West Midlands; Cardinal Newman College in Lancashire and Hills Road Sixth Form College in Cambridge with long term plans to pool resources and expertise that could lead to new members and a country wide partnership of colleges developing their own higher education programmes and increasing access to high level study.
By working together the group will speed up the development of higher education within the sixth form sector, sharing good practice and ensuring economies of scale.
Alex Day, Director of Adult & Higher Education at Peter Symonds College, explained: “The development of the Caxton Group will enable higher education within sixth form colleges to be synonymous with high quality. We all have ambitious plans to give more people from non-traditional backgrounds the chance to gain high level qualifications, but we can also open the door to new partners in the future, who can make the most of the knowledge and resource we are building, removing their risk of going it alone as well as saving time and public money.”
The Caxton Group was inspired by a successful partnership between Middlesex University and Peter Symonds College which launched in 2009 and has already seen the development of a suite of foundation degrees in subjects such as sport, sport injury and treatment, teaching and learning, early years, business practice management and counselling. In addition a series of dip HE qualifications have been validated including social sciences, English and creative writing and cultural and environmental issues. Peter Symonds College is now developing BA honours top-up programmes for existing courses and will validate its first masters programmes in counselling this year.
Other colleges in the Caxton Group are developing high level qualifications in areas including bioscience, media and culture and social sciences .
Melvyn Keen, Deputy Chief Executive at Middlesex University said: “This is a great example of universities and colleges coming together to add real value and offer a wider range of options for people who have the potential to access higher education but might not ordinarily do so. We’re looking forward to working with four outstanding colleges and fully support the long term aim to create a framework that will inspire interest in additional sixth form colleges and most importantly help many more people further their careers.”