Russell Group responds to new report on UK foundation year programmes

07 March 2024

In response to the new report published today by HEPI - ‘Cracks in our foundations: evaluating foundation years as a tool for access and success’ - Joanna Burton, Head of Policy (Higher Education) at the Russell Group, said:

“HEPI’s new report gives welcome recognition to the positive benefits of UK foundation year programmes, which offer invaluable opportunities to students who would otherwise not be able to undertake high-quality degree-level study – bridging the education gap for those who don’t have the necessary A-level or equivalent qualifications. They are proven to be an effective way of helping those from disadvantaged backgrounds, with previous challenges to attainment, to access the transformational opportunities that university offers.

“Many Russell Group universities run successful foundation year programmes with excellent completion and continuation outcomes, and have done for many years. For example, the University of Liverpool’s foundation scheme has been running for over 25 years in partnership with local colleges, providing around 200 people each year with a pathway into higher education in STEM subjects.

“It is of course important that all foundation courses provide the high-quality education that students expect and deserve. Today’s report illustrates the steep rise in popularity of foundation courses; and while we support them as a powerful tool for access, quality must be maintained alongside growth. Russell Group universities are committed to ensuring foundation year students succeed after university, with 86.9% of students progressing into highly-skilled employment or further study.”


86.9% represents the weighted average of progression of students on foundation year programmes at Russell Group universities in England. Source: July 2023 B3 OfS data release.


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