In a first of its kind in the country, on the 26th March 2013 Bradford College was delighted to host a national dissemination event related to CATS Pilot Project; a project led by the HEART Partnership and the Association of Colleges (AoC) and funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).
Credit Accumulation & Transfer Scheme (CATS) Colloquium
“At Bradford College we are very aware of the needs of learners who want to progress but, for many different reasons, do not or cannot commit to a continuous long-term programme of study. We want to help them get the most out of their study and experience. The College is therefore delighted to host the Colloquium as part of our contribution to the CATS Pilot Project.”
David Smith, Dean of Higher Education
The CATS system allows students on particular courses to build up credits in stages, by studying for short periods at different institutions and then combining these points to achieve qualifications.
During the CATS Colloquium, Bradford College and the HEART partnership was able to share good practice with academics and experts from a range of universities and organisations on implementing CATS; and to help drive the debate toward action, so that CATS becomes a reality rather than a mere concept.
Speaking at the event, David Smith, Dean of Higher Education at Bradford College said: “At Bradford College we are very aware of the needs of learners who want to progress but, for many different reasons, do not or cannot commit to a continuous long-term programme of study. We want to help them get the most out of their study and experience. The College is therefore delighted to host the Colloquium as part of our contribution to the CATS Pilot Project.”
The CATS Colloquium suggested that by embracing the practice of CATS; practitioners, providers, businesses and learners may find real value in credits and thereby support enhanced progression. If CATS can become a reality, it offers economic benefits for all. For example, it makes progression pathways much clearer and encourages more part-time learners to enter Higher Education; thereby stemming the recent and significant decline in applications from this group.
Partners reported on progress in the CATS Pilot Project at the Colloquium; and also explored a range of issues around the implementation of CATS within their own area. In addition to College staff, the universities of East London, Bradford, Leeds and Huddersfield were represented at the colloquium. Anthony Hudson, from the University of East London and one of the academics researching CATS, delivered the keynote presentation. Other presenters included Ian McGregor Brown from the HEART Partnership and Roger Cunliffe from Bradford College’s Business and Management team.
Anthony Hudson, Research Manager for Continuum, University of East London said: “CATS brings benefits to learners, institutions and employers. Yet despite this apparent win, win scenario, it is likely that learners are accumulating credit which remains ‘un-transacted’ and consequently levels of credit transfer are not as high as they could be. One explanation for this could be that we need better information, advice and guidance. Through the Government’s commitment to vocational education and training, and with funding from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, we have the chance to re-invigorate the CAT scheme, and to build up cross-sectoral collaboration between institutions, with employers and most importantly learners.
The project is one of a number of initiatives being funded by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), as part of its initiative to reform Further Education and increase progression from basic levels of education into Higher Education. The BIS funded pilot projects, of which the HEART project is one, have already demonstrated early success through active collaboration and consultation across the West Yorkshire region.”
In his closing address, David Smith, Dean of Higher Education said: “We are always interested in connecting with and learning from others who are involved or may be interested in this area. Whether you are a student, employer, teacher, researcher or from an awarding body of some kind, we hope you will get in touch and come along to the next Colloquium. There is clearly growing interest in this subject and the CATS Pilot Project is giving us a valuable opportunity to explore together the various academic issues and to make recommendations.”
For further information and to attend the next Colloquium:
Contact David Smith, Dean of Higher Education, Bradford College