Portsmouth Bridges a Gap In Education

The city of Portsmouth is lending 16-18 year olds a helping hand in making the leap from sixth form to university. How can we bridge the gap between sixth form and university? Portsmouth may have the answer.

The Sport and Exercise Science department at the University of Portsmouth is trialling a bridging unit for students enrolled at further education colleges. The notion of forming a bridge between further and higher education is the first of its kind for Portsmouth, encouraging students to further their education, through giving them a taste of university life.

The twenty-four students currently participating were already enrolled on BTEC or A-level courses at colleges in the Portsmouth area.

Head of sport at the university, Alun Rees says, ‘We are offering these students a little bit extra. They are already studying sport and exercise science at their colleges, but we are giving them a taste of what it’s like to study the subject at university. They use high quality resources in the university labs to help make the connection between theory and practice.’

Katie Richardson, 19, is studying Sports and Exercise Science at Highbury College and is enrolled at the bridging unit.
‘Being expected to take responsibility for my own learning is a bit daunting, but it’s good to be allowed to use the university’s facilities which are more high-tech and expensive than we have at college,’ says Katie.

Tony Hooker, 18, also at Highbury College, said ‘You think university is going to mean lots of paperwork and boring lectures, but this has given me the chance to see what it’s really like. It isn’t just about sitting and listening – there’s a lot more to it and the facilities are really good.’

Students who successfully complete the course will qualify for a BSc degree in Sports Science or Water Sports Science with lower entry requirements than is normally accepted. Those who decide against going to university, will have a printed record of their achievement stating they have obtained the equivalent of 20 credits at level 4.

‘It’s a very innovative project which we think will help prepare students for higher study as well as helping us build partnerships with local colleges,’ says Alun Rees. The students at the Bridging Unit would probably agree.

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