Foundation Degrees: A Case for Greater Institutional Autonomy?

P. Greenbank

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Foundation Degrees (FDs) were launched in 2000 by the Department for Education and Skills (DfES). One of the key reasons for their introduction was a belief that this new work-based higher education (HE) qualification could help meet employer demand for people with higher technician/associate professional-level skills. According to the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE)'s 'Foundation Degree Prospectus' (2000) there was a shortage of people with these intermediate-level skills, and forecasts at the time indicated that there would be an increasing demand for such skills. This paper examines the extent to which FDs have been able to widen participation, meet employer needs and provide a means for students to progress to higher-level courses. It focuses on the experience of full-time students who usually complete their FD in two years and are able to 'top-up' their FD to gain an honours degree with a further period of study, usually one year. The paper draws upon two studies by the author: (1) an on-going study referred to as the 'transition study'; and (2) a study into the approach to educational decision-making adopted by students choosing to study for a FD, referred to as the 'decision-making study'.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-61
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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