New College Durham and Newcastle College have become the first institutions to be given the right to award their own foundation degrees.
Under the provisions of the Further Education and Training Act 2007, the Privy Council has granted foundation degree to these two north-east further education colleges after a detailed scrutiny of their application by the Quality Assurance Agency.
New College Durham principal John Widdowson said that these awarding powers “give the college the flexibility to develop new Higher Education courses to meet the needs of employers and students”.
Explaining the next goal for the Newcastle College Corporation, Jackie Fisher, its chief executive, said: “Foundation Degree Awarding Powers create a platform for us to forge ahead with our plans for Taught Degree Awarding Powers and gives us the opportunity to provide students with degrees that will give them the powers to get jobs and progress in their careers.”
The importance of foundation degrees was also stressed by Business Secretary Vince Cable.
“Foundation degrees have grown in popularity in recent years, with around 100,000 students enrolled in them last year. We want to increase the study choices for students by enabling FE colleges to offer higher education qualifications; they can often do so in a more flexible way,” said Cable.
The Privy Council has also agreed to award the School of Oriental and African Studies, a constituent college of the University of London, taught and research degree awarding powers.