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Open College Network West Midlands Centres: Lifetime learning for all

Stafford College

Preparing Students for Access to HE

In this case study Lisa Westmorland from Stafford College showcases the value of running Open College Network West Midlands pre-Access qualifications with their learners.

“We have always found the Open College Network West Midlands staff very helpful and friendly and their online information is so clear and easy to locate on their website.” Lisa Westmorland, Stafford College
Pictured here is student Dina Abdalia
We have been running the Pre-Access qualification for three years now, the last two using the Level 2 Certificate in Skills for Further Study in Health  and have seen high success rates of students progress from the course on to Access and then to university to study not just nursing, midwifery and paramedic science but also courses as diverse as social work and psychology.  The study skills they develop on the pre-access course has provided invaluable in facilitating these positive outcomes.
Student Testimonials
Danielle Bratt
“Although I found the Access course tough and testing at times, the knowledge I had learnt from the Pre-Access course guided me through the experience and was a necessary stepping stone in order for me to achieve further. By doing the Pre-Access course I already had key knowledge I needed for the Access course. This included referencing, which we used in every assignment in the Access course and I will use at university. The Pre-Access course also taught me how to structure an essay correctly, which was crucial for my assignments on the Access course. “
Shona Hewitt
“Having not being in education for a fair few years, the Pre-Access course eased me back into education and as a bonus I made some friends for life. This course enabled me to polish up on my English as well as learn new skills such as referencing and essay writing, along with improving my critical thinking skills. With a family at home, the support that was given was excellent and from start to finish I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Hayleigh Barnsley
“My strongest memory of the Pre-Access course is when we all joined in a debate about euthanasia/assisted suicide; through this we got to voice our own opinions about the situation and it gave us all a chance to listen to reasoning from both sides of the argument. It was a positive experience, as we all got to work together as a group even if we were arguing different sides. I do feel as though the course has helped me to prepare for the Access course and university in lots of different ways. I have improved on skills like helping others with their work, and receiving help from others in return. I accept whatever help I can get now, whereas when I first started the course I thought I could do it all by myself.”
Linzi Baxter
“I think the Pre-access has greatly helped by giving me the fundamental skills such as spelling, grammar, planning and structuring to write assignments to the set standards of access level and university. It has also greatly improved my maths skills and I have learned a great deal about sociology and psychology after having an introduction into the subjects. During the course I have learnt a great deal on how to prioritise due to have multiple tasks and assignments due in at the same time.”
Kate Perry
“I am so pleased that I have done the Pre-access course; it has taught me many skills that I will need for the Access to Medicine course and for university. It has helped me build confidence in myself and advance in the skills I already have. I have learnt many skills I had forgotten from school for example, how to structure an essay and use advanced vocabulary and grammar. This has definitely been my first positive learning experience and I am amazed with everything I have learnt. I have many memories of the course for instance, many times thinking ‘I can’t do this’ and then the relief and happiness when you finish an assignment, making some wonderful new friends and having a supportive teacher.
Kim Wilkin
“I personally think that the Pre-access course has really helped a lot because it’s taught me how to structure work correctly and use the correct vocabulary; I’ve learnt maths and English again after leaving school 15 years plus ago. It’s taught me how to fill out application forms and re-gain my confidence in speaking and listening tasks, which will make me more confident in my future. I am so glad that I returned to education.”
Amy Courtney
“The whole course has positively impacted me in many ways: firstly, my confidence in myself has grown dramatically and I now feel I am able to achieve the grades I want by putting the hard work in; it has allowed me to come to the decision to pursue a career as a social worker. The subjects on the Pre-access course have allowed me to gather information and look into different career paths and decide that social work is for me, I also feel more confident about the Access course as I now know I can structure an essay and use relevant resources for my essays.
Lorna Clemson
“I have really enjoyed the Pre-access course and I feel that it has opened up my mind to learn new skills. The deadlines and trying to get everything done as really helped to improve my time management. The best part of the course was being able to speak to my tutor (Lisa) about my career path; when I joined I wanted to become an Adult Nurse, but I was never 100% of doing this because I have always wanted to work with children. Lisa and Sarah both took their time and helped me way up the pros and cons which has now made me certain that I wish to become a paediatric nurse.”
Pictured here are students Amy Coutney (left), Dina Abdalia (centre) and Kym Wilkin (right)

The one with the pink hair is Amy Courtney, the one with dark hair and glasses is Dina Abdalla, and the one with blonde hair is Kym Wilkin.
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