A new curriculum model for widening access to engineering

Flockhart, Gordon and McCormick, Kathleen and Hewitt, Steven and Roseweir, Alan; (2022) A new curriculum model for widening access to engineering. In: Proceedings of the 8th International Symposium for Engineering Education. University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. ISBN 9781914241208

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Widening participation and increasing diversity in engineering disciplines is a key aim of the University of Strathclyde’s Engineering Academy. We have a strong track record of working in partnership with the Scottish Wider Access Programme team and our partner further education colleges to provide alternative routes in to University. In this paper, we describe a new two-year pathway for school pupils in S5 and S6. The pathway was established for pupils from widening access backgrounds (SIMD 0-20, care-experienced or genuinely vulnerable), whose potential in mathematics and physics at SQA National 5 level is identified by teachers, but they may be unlikely to take 4 or 5 SQA Higher qualifications for direct entry to university. Working in close partnership with South Lanarkshire Council and New College Lanarkshire, school pupils undertake jointly delivered access programme in S5 and S6 equivalent to 4 Highers. The programme has a focus on developing engineering skills at SCQF level 6 as well has covering the syllabus of Higher Mathematics and Physics. Successful completion of the programme is accepted for direct entry to Strathclyde’s Engineering Academy programme. Key aspects of the programme are students are stimulated by a new learning environment at college, develop learner confidence and independence with the partner college and prepare for university study. In the Engineering Academy, students undertake an enhanced HNC qualification and also attend the University of Strathclyde to undertake academic and practical engineering skills activities. Thus, an integrated transition pathway between school, college and university is established.

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