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Consumer Rights for Our Students

The EKC Group is required under Consumer Market Authority Legislation (CMA) to ensure that the information we provide to you is accurate, easily accessible and covers what is necessary for you to make informed choice.

Our promises to you

  • Before you submit your application we will ensure we provide information about programmes of study, including their structure and tuition fees.
  • If there are any additional course expenses we will make sure you are aware prior to any contract, especially any costs that are likely to impact on academic success.
  • Should there be an increase in tuition fees, we will esure you are informed and provided with clear reasons for this increase.
  • If you are offered a place at the College we will ensure all contractual terms are readily availble before you decide to accept our offer.

Full guidance for students can be found here.

Our Policies

All of our policies can be found here.

Office of the Independent Adjudiciator

The Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA) runs an independent scheme to review student complaints. EKC Group is a member of this scheme. If you are unhappy with the outcome you may be able to ask the OIA to review your complaint, appeal or disciplinary case. You can find more information about making a complaint to the OIA, what it can and can’t look at and what it can do to put things right here: https://www.oiahe.org.uk/students.

You normally need to have completed the Complaints Procedure or the Students Disciplinary Procedure before you complain to the OIA.  We will send you a letter called a “Completion of Procedures Letter” when you have reached the end of our processes and there are no further steps you can take internally. If your appeal or complaint is not upheld, EKC Group will issue you with a Completion of Procedures Letter automatically. If your appeal or complaint is upheld or partly upheld you can ask for a Completion of Procedures Letter if you want one. You can find more information about Completion of Procedures Letters and when you should expect to receive one here: https://www.oiahe.org.uk/providers/completion-of-procedures-letters.

 

Access & Participation Statement 2021/22

Introduction

EKC Group is committed to providing an environment for students that actively provides equality of opportunity, freedom from discrimination and values the diversity of all students and prospective students.  EKC Group seeks to broaden the pool of potential applicants by raising awareness and expectations in line with its commitment to widening participation.  EKC Group has approximately 15,000 students in total with c. 200 higher education students across three of its colleges. 

EKC Group aims to place their applicants on appropriate courses with the support necessary for them to succeed.  The admissions process will encompass a range of services, from the provision of information about programmes and services, through to the point of enrolment and beyond. Statements regarding Information, Access and Guidance are in accordance with EKC Group’s Student Charter commitments.

This policy applies to applicants and potential applicants to the EKC Group accredited higher education programmes of study and is complementary to the Admissions Policies of EKC Group’s validating bodies and university partner.  It is intended that the policy should uphold the principles outlined in the Schwartz Report on Fair Admissions (2004)[1], Office for Students[2] compliance with ongoing condition for registration A2, and the Quality Assurance Agency’s (QAA) UK Quality Code[3] .  

The Higher Education Quality Improvement Plan (HE QIP) links the strategic aims with policies and the QAA Quality Code, thereby taking deliberate steps to embed enhancement, throughout the student experience.   

Widening Participation

EKC Group highly values the diversity and range of experience that prospective students contribute to college life.  Applications are welcome from all students irrespective of background.  Recruitment and admissions processes aim to match the abilities, aptitude and aspirations of the student to the programme of study.  EKC Group’s offer of Access programmes for mature students helps to increase confidence in academic study, in preparation for higher education.  EKC Group is committed to recruitment and admissions processes, which are fair, explicit and implemented consistently across its range of provision. 

There are barriers for some students considering entering higher education for example, if they are disabled, a mature student without traditional qualifications, come from a Black or Minority Ethnic (BME) background or grew up in care.  Other barriers may be the first in the family to enter higher education or finding the cost of study prohibitive.  EKC Group is part of the Kent and Medway National Collaborative Outreach Programme (KaMCOP) which supports progression from students in disadvantaged wards.  

The EKC Group is committed to widening participation and has four dedicated HE KaMCOP Officers. As part of the Kent and Medway National Collaborative Outreach Programme the Group has identified students within its further education courses who have the potential to progress to higher education (based on their GCSE grades) who live in areas where there is generally low progression into HE. A programme has been developed to run complementary to the students’ core curriculum, delivered by KaMCOP staff which will target these students with the aim to raise their aspirations and build their confidence to apply to higher education courses with the EKC Group or elsewhere. The HE KaMCOP Officers also liaise with Progression Officers at local schools and internal Level 3 students to offer HE taster workshops, Open Days, information sessions and skills workshops to inspire students to progress to higher education.

Close links with local universities enable students to attend university taster days and liaise with partnership development teams, enabling staff and students to access information and awareness around HE options.

The Group measures student satisfaction, progress, participation and performance through student questionnaires following enrolment; programme feedback; involvement in the HE Committee; staff student liaison meetings; through an over-arching HE annual self-assessment programme monitoring report and regular reports to the EKC Group Governors and Principal.  

Tuition Fees and Student Support

Tuition fees are remaining at £6,000 (part time courses £3,000) until 2021, which is significantly lower than local universities.  There is a small Hardship Fund to support students with immediate financial needs; amounts awarded being up to £50 – there is no evidence to increase the fund at present.  In 2019-2020, 21 Bursaries of £500 were offered to students whose income was below £25,000, and on successful award, they are paid on a monthly basis, over five months.  Students on franchised programmes with the University of Kent can apply for support through the University Hardship Fund. 

There is a specific HE Induction to support students transition into higher education and this includes study skills, time management, e-resources, health & safety, PREVENT, safeguarding, college support services and programme of study.  A dedicated HE librarian is available at the Canterbury College to provide one-one and group support for accessing on-line learning resources and Harvard Referencing (all HE students can access this support, not just those based at Canterbury).  The Wellbeing Centres offers access to additional learning support, student counselling and helps support students with a range of issues, including emotional, family, financial or health–related.

Provision of Information for Students

Information and advice about programmes and entry requirements will be provided on the EKC Group website, with further information available from tutors on request if required.  Every care is taken to ensure that the information contained in the Group’s publications (both paper and on-line) is accurate at the time of publication.  However, in response to changing circumstances, the Group reserves the right to cancel, change the entry criteria for, or alter the content of any programme.  Where this is necessary, applicants will be advised at the earliest opportunity.

The Student Support and Careers teams provide information, advice and guidance on all aspects of applications, programmes and funding and guiding students to further support when required.  The teams actively engage with Level 3 progression, both in schools and internally.  

Additional Learning Support Needs

All students who apply to EKC Group and declare a learning need and/or physical disability are referred to a member of the Additional Learning Support Team, who will contact potential students at that point to identify any support required.  In addition, at enrolment students complete a questionnaire to identify what support they require.  If not in place when they start the programme, students are supported in completing their Disabled Student Allowance (DSA) application. 

Once a DSA application is processed, an assessment completed and an award made, the applicant will receive a report listing equipment and other support they can get for their course.

If students are awarded DSA, they can get help with the costs of:

  • Specialist equipment, for example a computer if needed because of disability
  • Non-medical helpers
  • Extra travel because of disability
  • Other disability-related costs of studying

They will need to pay the first £200 of any computer purchased to help with their study.

More information regarding the DSA can be found here: http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/DisabledPeople/EducationAndTraining/HigherEducation/DG_10034898

Student Success – equality, ethnicity, retention and progression

EKC Group is committed to equality and diversity throughout all aspects of college life, and respects differences in race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, age, religion and belief, pregnancy and maternity, marriage and civil partnership, gender re-assignment. EKC Group also actively supports students that face barriers because of social and financial hardship. The three-year Equality Action Plan provides a framework for continuing action in creating an environment where all individuals will be able to achieve their full potential.  

EKC Group is committed to supporting students with a range of needs and abilities. Students with a variety of disabilities pursue courses at all levels within the colleges and are shown to have broadly parallel progression rates to students without disabilities.  EKC Group has to make courses and facilities accessible to all students and provide a variety of services, including advocacy for students. 

Feedback from our students is central to support our diverse group of students, some who have lower entry qualifications compared to universities.  Feedback from the HE Induction Week/the enrolment survey, unit/module evaluations, staff student liaison meetings and the student representatives meetings is used to improve the student experience.  

Data will be used to profile students at application and enrolment and to measure student success for different groups of students including gender, age and disability.  Retention is carefully and continuously monitored throughout the year to identify and further support students where required.  Small class sizes provide strong pastoral support for students and there are regular tutorials (group/individual).    Destination data is obtained from the Destination of Higher Education Leaver and Graduate Outcomes surveys.

Profile

  2018-19 2019-20
Total numbers enrolled 183 207
Black Minority Ethnic Groups 4 9
Mixed Ethnicity 2 3
White 177 195
Mature (over 30) 12 17
Learning Difficulties and Disabilities 29 53

It should be noted that the data for 2019/20 includes students of Ashford College which became part of EKC Group on 01 April 2020. Therefore, no direct comparison to the previous year is possible.

The number of BME students has only fluctuated slightly. 95% of the East Kent population is white[4], which is in the range of the percentage of white students enrolled (94-96%). Nationally the percentage of students studying an undergraduate degree, having reported a disability is 14.9[5]which means that EKC Group still have a higher than average percentage of students with learning difficulties and disabilities. The number of students with declared learning difficulties or disabilities has significantly increased in the past year (from 16% to 26%).

Attainment Gaps

  2018-19 2019-2020
  Students overall in population achieved Students overall in population achieved
Overall attainment 131 88% 130 93%
Female 76 83% 58 93%
Male 55 95% 72 94%
Black Minority Ethnic Group 3 67% 5 80%
Mixed Ethnicity 1 100% 1 100%
White 127 88% 124 82%
Mature (over 30) 12 92% 9 100%
Learning Difficulties and Disabilities 20 90% 28 89%

The above figures again include Ashford College in the 2019/20 data, which was not included in 2018/19. However, a few courses ran for the last time in 2018/19 but no longer in the following year. Therefore making a direct comparison year on year is only somewhat relevant. In some cases, there are very low numbers in a particular characteristic group making the relative data less meaningful. But there is no evidence of any difference in achievement that would be explained by a characteristic rather than individual students’ circumstances. Overall, the attainment has improved in the last academic year, despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic. In all groups the achievement rate has remained the same or improved, apart from white students, where the lower achievement rate is owed to a few students not achieving or repeating the year. Nevertheless, all attainment rates lie above the average rates of English providers. For example for BME students the average attainment rate is below 70%[6]. Nevertheless, in line with Office for Student key performance measures, EKC Group aims at ensuring there are no unexplained gaps in achievement.

 

[1] Fair admissions to higher education: recommendations for good practice – The Schwartz Report, September 2004

[2] https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/

[3] https://www.qaa.ac.uk/quality-code

[4] Data from Kent County Council, Population and Census. Available at: https://www.kent.gov.uk/about-the-council/information-and-data/Facts-and.... Accessed: 24 May 2019

[5] Data from The Office for Students, Equality and Diversity. Available at: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/data-and-analysis/equality-and-dive.... Accessed: 24 May 2019

[6] Data from The Office for Students, Access and Participation Dashboard. Available at: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/data-and-analysis/access-and-partic.... Accessed: 29 September 2020

 

Our Student Protection Plan

Every higher education institution is required to set out a student protection plan in the event of a course, campus, or institution closing. The purpose of the plan is to ensure students can continue, complete their studies, or be compensated fairly if neither alternative is possible.

Our student protection plan can be accessed here. It can also be found, along with other EKC Group policies and procedures, by following the link in the 'Our Policies' section above. The 'HE Student Protection Plan' is listed under the subheading 'EKC Group General Policies' on the page you will be re-directed to.