Bite Size Courses

Women Returners' Network Chelmsford College
Moulsham Street
Essex CM2 0JQ
Phone: 01245 263796
Fax: 01245 491712

This ninth version is the first that has been set-up online. It has been updated by Andrea Lohner, WRN's Research Assistant.

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Access to further / higher education

Access Courses
Access to higher education courses are designed for adults as an alternative to A levels or Scottish Highers. They normally take one year full-time or two years part-time.

Access courses need no formal entry requirements, other than a willingness to study and ability to benefit from the course. Some are linked to specific degree programmes, so that success on the Access Course leads directly to entry to the degree course. Not all Access courses lead automatically to further study, so it is important to check where the course leads.

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)
Accreditation of Prior Leaning is a process which enables people to gain certification for their past achievement, often outside the formal education system, for example in work, leisure or community activities. Identified learning can be matched against nationally recognised qualifications at various levels. Contact your local university or College of Higher Education for more information.

In Scotland, the Scottish Qualification Authority is the mayor awarding body for Further Education. For information on APL, contact:
SCOTVEC, Hanover House, 24 Douglas Street, Glasgow G2 7NQ,
tel 0141 248 7900, fax 0141 242 2244

For information on APL in childcare and education, contact:
Awards in Children's Care and Education, 8 Chequer Street, St Albans, Hertfordshire AL1 3XZ 01727 847636, website


Associate Student Schemes
Many universities and CHEs, including the Open University, offer associate student schemes. Generally these allow adult students to choose single units from programme, whether this is a degree, diploma or other type of provision. It is a useful opportunity for women to gain specialist expertise to further their careers, update knowledge in their field and pace their return to study. Credits gained from passing single units can be accumulated towards a degree whether in that college or by credit transfer to other. Contact your local university, College of Higher Education or Open University regional office for more details.


Credit Accumulation and Transfer (CATS)
Credit Accumulation and Transfer (CATS). The Scheme seeks to break down the many barriers that prevent people from taking advantage of higher education, enables them to accumulate academic credit towards awards (undergraduate or postgraduate degrees). These credits can be achieved through learning at work, unpaid or voluntary work, professional courses, as well as formal study at college.

Further information on the higher education opportunities available and the credit enquirers may already have accumulated is available from your local university or College of Higher Education.


Scottish Wider Access Programme (SWAP)
Scottish Wider Access Programme (SWAP) works to create new ways into higher education through the design of access courses and of individual programmes guaranteeing entry to higher education, and through credit transfer and flexible study plans. Contact the regional offices below for further information.

North of Scotland Consortium
Summerhill Education Centre, Stronsay Drive, Aberdeen AB2 6JA, tel 01224 313142

South East of Scotland Consortium
Stevenson College, Bankhead Avenue, Edinburgh EH11 4DF, tel 0131 458 5468

West of Scotland Consortium
Allan Glen's Building, 190 Cathedral Street, Glasgow G4 OAD, tel 0141 553 2471


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