Celebrating Access to Higher Education Learners

Access to Higher Education (HE) has been around for over 40 years and continues to support adult learners to bridge over into higher education. Around 37,000 learners register to study Access to HE each year and many progress onto higher education or into employment.

The current climate has brought about huge changes in how we work, with many students facing new challenges and barriers to learning as a result of Covid-19. It is important that we recognise and celebrate the hard work and determination shown by Access to HE students and share their outstanding achievements.


Keith Fletcher Prize

The national Keith Fletcher Prize Award Ceremony took place on the 12th April. The award was created in memory of Keith Fletcher and his contribution to Access to HE to celebrate Access to HE students and their achievements and is supported by all Access Validating Agencies (AVAs) including Ascentis, as well as the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA). 

We are delighted that Sadie Coates, studying an Ascentis Diploma with the Nelson and Colne College Group achieved runner up in the ‘Outstanding Academic Achievement’ award category – congratulations!

“A career driven individual who has proved herself to be an outstanding student on the Access to Health and Social Care Professions course. Every assignment she has submitted during the course has been graded Distinction standard, and this has been successfully achieved by balancing her demanding work commitment.” Tutor

“An outstanding independent learner whose work demonstrates an excellent grasp of subject material, and the ability to write fluently with insight and understanding.” Judge

We would like to congratulate all the winners, runners up and nominees for their achievements and hard work. Find out more here.


Ascentis Excellence Awards

We are delighted to announce the winners of Ascentis Excellence Awards 2020-2021! We received a record number of nominations which have now been scrutinised by our panel of judges. The winners & runners up have been chosen for each category. All candidates were very worthy and it was a pleasure to read about their achievements and commitment to study.

Outstanding Academic Achievement

Winner: Charlotte Triolaire, Lancaster and Morecambe College

This learner clearly demonstrates an outstanding commitment to study, beginning their learning journey in the UK at Level 3 Access to HE as well as taking GCSEs. They have never taken any form of formal assessment before this and also learning English as a second language. This learner has overcome immense adversity and has been committed to a challenging programme of study, achieving great success along the way. Truly inspiring and I am very pleased that this learner has achieved first prize. I wish them the very best for the future and may they be an inspiration to others.” Judge

Outstanding Commitment to Study

Winner: Shereen Omer, Bridgwater and Taunton College

Well done! This learner has demonstrated truly outstanding academic achievement. A real high flyer, who most probably is unaware of quite how high they will go! Enjoy your future learning. Have courage and I hope you succeed beyond your expectations!”  Judge

We are delighted to award the winners and runners up with cheques which we hope will help towards their future studies. All learners nominated for an award receive a certificate of recognition.

Fiona Lugiano, Group Deputy CEO at Ascentis, said “After what has been such a challenging time resulting in students facing more barriers to learning than they have done before, it is now, more important than ever, to recognise and celebrate the hard work and determination that is shown by Access to HE students.  We are incredibly proud to celebrate their outstanding achievements.”

On behalf of everyone at Ascentis we would like to congratulate all students nominated for an award this year.


Ascentis Access to HE

As the largest Access Validating Agency nationwide, and with a ‘Low Risk’ rating from the QAA, we are proud to work with centres  across the country to deliver high quality Access to HE Diplomas. Find out more about our Access to HE here

Watch the short video below to hear the City of Liverpool College Speaking about Ascentis Access to Higher Education.

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“We are very pleased that we made the move to Ascentis for all our ESOL exams. The exams are appropriate for our learners, and lecturers find the marking manageable. As an organisation, Ascentis is a pleasure to work with. Our queries are always dealt with quickly and we are extremely well supported by our verifier.”

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Ascentis Events

The future of Access to HE Programmes in the new FE and Skills environment

Ascentis in association with e-Memoir Suitable for Directors of Curriculum, Access to HE Managers, Planning and Funding Managers and Data Managers. Access to HE provision is an important part of the FE and skills offer for adults seeking to progress to HE programmes but it is facing significant challenges in the new FE and skills environment. The Skills and Post-16 Education Act and Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill as well as the reviews of qualifications at level 3 and below, greater devolution of adult funding, increased use of remote learning, and the introduction of T levels, will together put significant pressure on FE colleges and other providers to review their curriculum offer and delivery. This one-hour webinar will provide you with the most up-to-date information on the future of Access to HE in light of these changes, and some insights into how providers might respond. It will cover • The importance and scope of Access to HE programmes • Funding of Access to HE programmes – Adult Education Budget and Advanced Learner Loans • Implications of the levelling up agenda for delivery of Access to HE – upskilling and retraining • Effective delivery mechanisms, including flexible and online learning – actions to support learners • Future prospects for Access to HE, including progression into higher apprenticeships • How Ascentis can enhance your Access to HE offer

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