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Supporting foundation degrees

Q: What type of degree is it? A: Foundation degree

We have made some changes to better support candidates with foundation degrees.

The issue

A number of candidates were being rejected due to not having a degree, which is a requirement for starting postgraduate teacher training courses.

Our service did require candidate to enter a degree or equivalent in order to be able to submit their application. However, when looking at the applications of candidates rejected for not having a degree, many of those had entered a foundation degree.

Foundation qualifications in the UK are typically done after A levels but before a bachelors degree.

Some are described as a ‘foundation degree’ whereas others are described as a ‘foundation diploma’ or other wording, but all are at the same level (level 5).

This means that it may not be clear to candidates whether they should enter these qualifications in the ‘A levels and other qualifications’ section or the ‘Degree’ section.

Candidates may not also realise that a foundation degree on its own does not allow them to qualify for a course.

What we changed

In the design for our new ‘What type of degree is it?’ question, we added ‘Foundation’ as an option, and added some hint text to the Bachelor degree option to make it clear that this is the minimum level required.

Screenshot showing question ‘What type of degree is it?’ with radio button options for Foundation, Bachelor, Master’s, Doctorate (PhD), Level 6 Diploma or Another qualification equivalent to a degree

If a foundation degree is selected, we ask for subject and then for the type of foundation degree:

Screenshot showing question ‘What type of foundation degree is it?’ with radio button options for Foundation of Arts (FdA), Foundation Degree of Education (FDEd), Foundation of Sciences (FdSs) or Another foundation degree type

When only a foundation degree has been added, we no longer allow people to mark the section as completed, and instead show a prominent button to ‘Add another degree’.

Screenshot showing a title 'Degree' withe the content 'You need a bachelor’s degree or equivalent to start training' and a 'Add another degree' button

This means that candidates can no longer submit an application where only a foundation has been added, which should reduce the number of candidates rejected due to not having a bachelors degree or equivalent.

Further work

We should continue to monitor how foundation level qualifications are added, to see whether we are missing any common foundation level degree types, subjects or institutions.

We should also check whether candidates also enter foundation qualifications within the ‘A levels and other qualifications’ to see if we could improve the usability there.