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HEFCE closed at the end of March 2018. The information on this website is historical and is no longer maintained.

Many of HEFCE's functions will be continued by the Office for Students, the new regulator of higher education in England, and Research England, the new council within UK Research and Innovation.

The HEFCE domain - - will continue to function until September 2018. At this point we will close the site entirely and all its information will only be available from the National Web Archive.


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The purpose of the project is to develop evidence-based interventions to transform the transition of BTEC students into HE and in this way to reduce differential educational outcomes.

This project aims to better understand and reduce the differential educational outcomes of BTEC students at selecting universities by:

  • conducting an investigation intervention to explore BTEC students' educational experiences across the FE/HE transition
  • designing, implementing and evaluating evidence-based interventions to address identified issues of transition. 

UCAS data indicates that selecting universities, such as those involved in this project, are less likely to recruit BTEC students than those with traditional qualifications. At the same time, recent research highlights differential outcomes for BTEC students as they progress through university.

In terms of final outcomes, A level students are more likely to achieve a first class degree than vocational students, and students taking the BTEC Award and Diploma have a significantly lower probability of a first, or at least an upper second, than students taking an Applied A level. 

Evidence also suggests that BTEC students are more likely to drop out of university when compared with those on a traditional academic pathway, even when accounting for prior attainment. BTEC students in selecting universities are less likely to complete than those elsewhere; and the salary gap between BTEC students and traditional students, although narrowing, is significant and at its largest in selecting universities. 

Transforming Transitions is a collaborative project led by the University of Exeter and in partnership with:

  • University of Birmingham
  • Loughborough University
  • Queen Mary University of London
  • Pearson Education
  • Exeter College
  • Leicester College
  • Hereford Sixth Form College
  • City and Islington College

Catalyst funding 

Total project funding  £561,495
Project contact name  Debra Myhill
Project contact email
Project contact telephone  01392 724767

See a complete list of all funded projects


Page last updated 21 August 2017