Making Arts accessible at the University of Nottingham

 Foundation Arts course students reduced
14 Jun 2017 15:37:55.430

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The University of Nottingham is celebrating the success of the first year of its Foundation Arts course, which helps students who don’t quite meet the entry grades to get on to their chosen degree course.

The new entry route was designed to help students who perhaps did not meet the direct entry criteria required by the University due to lack of opportunity or disadvantaged circumstances.

Upon successful completion of the specialist year, students are guaranteed progression to a range of undergraduate degrees within the Faculty of Arts at the University of Nottingham.

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Unlocking academic potential

Aimee Hudson-Brown, 19, has just completed the first run of the course. After just missing out on the grades she needed to get in to the University, Amy was thrown a lifeline when she was told about the Foundation Arts Course.

Aimee said: “I always worried that I might not get the A Level results I needed – so this was a great option for me. I really enjoyed it as it was a phase between A Level and an undergraduate course and it gives you the chance to focus on the skills you need when you start your degree, which helps to ease you in to university life as it’s not such a dramatic jump.”

The first intake saw 27 students study a range of modules which included: important thinkers through history; critical thinking and reflective learning; language and culture and narrative and creativity.

Developing confidence

The course is taught through traditional seminars, lectures and tutorials as well as through interactive multimedia sessions and external trips. The course tutors include international experts in a variety of topics who work on the University’s Arts and Humanities degree courses. This gives students the chance to meet the lecturers and professors who may teach them during their undergraduate study.

The course leader Dr Peter Watts, said: “Two things have been fantastic in the first year of the course – firstly, the way the group has gelled together. There has been a real sense of community among the foundation year students. Secondly, it’s helped to develop their confidence.

“We’ve not just seen improvements in their academic ability – such as in essay writing and other coursework, but in presenting in front of groups and being able to lead discussions. This will stand them in good stead, both at the University and also in whatever jobs they go into afterwards.”

The course is not just aimed at people who didn’t quite meet the entry criteria. Russell Fisher, 29, had been out of education for almost 10 years, but made the decision he wanted to return to complete a degree in Ancient History.

Widening participation

He said: “I would definitely recommend this course to others, especially someone who may be a bit older and has been out of the system for a while. I think it would have been a shock to the system to go straight into a degree. It gives you a refresher and eases you into University life without putting too much pressure on you.”

Dr Watts added: “We’ve already gone through the interview process for the September 2017 intake. It’s different from a UG recruitment process as we are looking for academic potential in students with a wide variety of qualifications and life experience. The interviews, as well as the applications, help us to do this.

“Some students are unlucky and for whatever reason, don’t quite make the grades they need, but they have bags of potential – and that’s what we are looking for. One thing we are looking to do in the coming years is to increase the number of local students we have. We want people to realise there is a way into the University of Nottingham, particularly as it’s right on their doorstep!”

Extraordinary achievement

Professor Jeremy Gregory, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Arts at the University of Nottingham, said: “'I have been delighted by the success of the first year of the Foundation Year in Arts & Humanities. I have watched the students grow in confidence and I have been impressed by the ways in which they have integrated into the wider University.  The programme has made a real difference to our students and I am extraordinarily impressed by what they have achieved.”

This entry route is part of The University’s commitment to widening participation. The Arts and Humanities Foundation Year students, typically, will fulfil a number of Widening Participation criteria. For further information, please visit

For further information call 0115 9515643 or email; or register for the event at the website.

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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham has 43,000 students and is ‘the nearest Britain has to a truly global university, with a “distinct” approach to internationalisation, which rests on those full-scale campuses in China and Malaysia, as well as a large presence in its home city.’ (Times Good University Guide 2016). It is also one of the most popular universities in the UK among graduate employers and was named University of the Year for Graduate Employment in the 2017 The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide. It is ranked in the world’s top 75 by the QS World University Rankings 2015/16, and 8th in the UK for research power according to the Research Excellence Framework 2014. It has been voted the world’s greenest campus for four years running, according to Greenmetrics Ranking of World Universities.

Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest-ever fundraising campaign, is delivering the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news…



Story credits

More information is available from Dr Peter Watts  at The University of Nottingham at

Charlotte Anscombe – Media Relations Manager (Arts and Social Sciences)

Email:  Phone:+44 (0)115 74 84 417 Location: University Park

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