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AIM Qualification and Assessment Group

A Retrospective look at Access to HE with Pam Stanway

Pam Stanway has a long history of working with Access to HE having delivered and managed Access to HE Diplomas in a further education college for 15 years.
Pam is now the Access Manager with AIM Qualifications and Assessment Group, a post she has held for the last nine years.

Can you tell us about your experience with Access to HE programs?

I have been privileged to be involved with Access to HE programs for a long time. First, I delivered and managed Access to HE Diplomas in a further education college for 15 years. Now, I am the Access Manager with AIM Qualifications and Assessment Group, a role I have held since joining in 2015.

How has the Access to HE Diploma changed over the years?

Change has been a key theme for the qualification over the past years. Some significant changes include the introduction of a grading scheme in 2009, which allowed students' true abilities and potential to be identified through pass, merit, or distinction grades. In 2013, a standardized structure of 60 credits (45 graded and 15 ungraded) was implemented, improving parity across the country and aiding university acceptance.

What are the latest changes to the Access to HE Diploma?

 In 2024, we are embracing changes to the Access to HE Diploma Specification and Grade Scheme. A new Subject Descriptor for Nursing and Health Professions is being piloted, which will help students demonstrate their preparation for undergraduate courses in these fields. Additionally, the new grade scheme ensures transferable skills are developed in every graded unit, preparing students for future success.

How is AIM Qualifications and Assessment Group adapting to these changes?

We have applied the new specification, subject descriptor, and grade scheme to our revalidation of Diplomas project. We now have a fantastic portfolio of 46 Diplomas ready for delivery from August 1, 2024. Our team has been visiting providers across the country to discuss the changes and support them in mapping their current provision to the new one.

What has been the response from providers?

The providers we've visited have been excited and positive about the changes. They are eager to start planning and pleased with how up-to-date and relevant the specifications and units are.

What has remained constant throughout these changes?

One feature that has not changed is that Access to HE has continued to provide access to higher education opportunities for students who may not have met traditional requirements. It has developed students' skills to ensure their success once they access higher education.

What is your message to those considering Access to HE programs?

To those wanting to progress in their education and career but may think it's not possible, my message is that it is possible, and it can happen. Access to HE will change your life, and you will be supported by a fantastic team at the provider you study with. Grab the opportunities now and reach for the sky!

Pam can be contacted on

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