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New course supports aspiring students into university

Press release issued: 1 July 2014

The first ever cohort of students to complete the University of Bristol’s innovative Foundation Year in Arts and Humanities celebrated yesterday [30 June] with Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Judith Squires at an informal ceremony at Cotham House.

The programme makes higher education a possibility for people who believed that their lack of qualifications closed down access to university level study or for those who thought that they had left it ‘too late’.

The course is open to anyone who is passionate about returning to education. This year’s graduating students span five decades – the youngest student is just 18 years-old and the oldest is 71. The 25 students are an ethnically diverse group, drawn mainly from the local area, with an equal gender mix.

Sean Doyle, one of those successfully completing the course this year, said: "If you drew a Venn diagram of us all there wouldn’t be any overlaps, this is what makes our discussions so fascinating."

The year-long course is a stepping stone to degree level with unique entry requirements that focus on the student’s potential, rather than asking for specific ‘A’ Levels.

Tom Sperlinger, one of the course directors, said: 'It's a great pleasure to congratulate the first group of Foundation Year students on completing the course, and on all they have achieved individually and collectively. These students have been pioneers and we hope their success will inspire others who would like to return to study.'

Throughout the one year introductory course students gain knowledge across a range of Arts and Humanities subjects, with the goal of embarking on one of the University’s undergraduate degrees on completion of the course.

Those graduating from the programme will have taken a significantly different path from the vast majority of university students, who enter higher education straight from school.  

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