Addressing Barriers to Student Success

New College Durham has established a partnership with Darlington and Sunderland Colleges, and will be leading a project to address barriers to student success.

The focus of the project is on higher education (HE) students enrolled on foundation degrees and higher national programmes. Data indicates that achievement and progression are particularly low among students from lower socio-economic backgrounds, in particular young, white males, as well as for students with learning difficulties or mental health issues.

The project therefore aims to address this inequality by helping students to access higher quality, better paid employment opportunities by improving levels of achievement and confidence throughout their studies. This will be achieved by providing a HE Academic Study Skills Service that incorporates one-to-one and group tuition from dedicated tutors, along with a range of online resources to support students in their studies.

The project will take place over the next 18 months and will involve higher education students and newly appointed HE Academic Study Skills Tutors. Tutors will work closely with the selected students in order to support their learning and progression.

This development project will be beneficial to students studying higher education programmes as they will receive additional help and support to ensure they succeed, and create new progression opportunities. This will also benefit the college as, while recruitment and retention rates are good, progression to Level 6 and postgraduate study is low. Improving levels of achievement and confidence in higher education students means more students are likely to continue onto a Level 6 or postgraduate programme.


Additional information:

This project is one of only 17 successful bids (receiving £300K) to run a collaborative project, funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

The ONS Population Survey (2015) figures for people of working age with degree level (or equivalent) qualifications state: England 28.9%; North East 24.4%; Darlington 21.5%; County Durham 20.7%; and Sunderland 17.5%.

The 2016 Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey data identifies high numbers progressing into employment or further study but the majority earn less than the average graduate salary.