participating institutions
This is the 'Intervention for Success' Project Blog for the HEFCE Catalyst-funded collaboration between the Universities of Huddersfield, Coventry, Lincoln and Manchester Metropolitan University; identifying students at risk of underachievement and offering solutions in the form of appropriate, high-quality academic interventions to ensure those students continue and succeed.   The project will run from March 2017 until February 2019.  Project Coordinators at each of the Universities will provide regular updates here.  If you click on the title of each new post, you'll see that you can add comments at the bottom if you want to respond to anything that's been said. 

If you are a member of the project team, you can also access and use our Project Website. To request access, please email Cheryl Reynolds on, stating your role on the project.

Project update 3: Our temp resource is live

posted 13 Oct 2017, 09:41 by Arin Adefila   [ updated 13 Oct 2017, 09:42 ]

We developed resource at supporting students with disability negotiate placement successfully. The temporary resource draws upon material we have developed by the Faculty f Health and Life Sciences to provide students with information and practical tips for disclosing their disabilities, accessing support and approaching their placement with confidence. Though many students have anxiety about placements, research shows that students with disabilities are more likely to drop out after placement or fail their placements. This resource should provide more support and empower students.

You can access via this link

 Jan Furlong has developed the material on the main page. Jan reviewed the processes and procedures around providing Reasonable Adjustments on placement and her fantastic work provides the framework through which we link our material.

Lincoln blog 8 – Feedback on the conference – Personal Tutoring and Academic Advising: Contemporary Narratives and Developing Practice, the 4th National Tutoring Seminar, Sheffield Hallam University

posted 13 Oct 2017, 02:58 by Ben Walker   [ updated 13 Oct 2017, 03:09 ]

Well, I said it should be interesting and it certainly was…along with being very useful too, both in terms of ideas to use and connections to make.

Our presentation on the project – its background/rationale, interventions and evaluation – was well received and, if the notes being made during it and the questions at the end were anything to go by, people were engaged.  We were asked to expand on how we can measure the impact of the personal tutor role, what similarities and differences I’ve noticed between FE and HE in this field and the extent of senior management buy-in there had been for the project….all answered proficiently of course. 

As for the presentations of others, lots of interesting stuff.  The materials (along with ours) are linked to this blog below but my edited highlights follow.

Personal Tutoring in HE - Where Now and Where Next? - Mike Laycock, HE Consultant

  • Key issues arising from the literature on personal tutoring: models (Earwaker’s 3 models), widening participation, retention – Hixenbaugh), the first year experience as all important, resourcing of personal tutoring, staff development (most PTs are not clear on the role, see quote from Owen)
  • See Mike’s case study and his 7 recommendations
  • We should have ‘personal development tutors’ (PDTs) not ‘personal tutors’
  • How the PDT can positively influence the NSS and TEF
Up Close and Personal: Reflecting & Writing about our Experience of Academic Tutoring - Cathy Malone, Emma Heron, Alison McCamley, Sheffield Hallam University

 ·         Case studies - could be v useful.  Structure of Background - Interaction - Reflections

 Going for Gold: Personal Tutor narratives in gold TEF submissions - Steve Outram, CRA director

  • Our activity was to select the 9 most important statements from the Gold TEF institutions and form into a ‘diamond 9’ of importance
  • Key common themes from these statements:  Supporting Transition Using Learner Analytics, Using Peers, Using IT support – MOOC and NOOC, Integrated student support. Using the learning environment to support students, Monitoring attendance, Evaluating effectiveness, The value of 1:1

Raising Awareness, Raising Aspiration (RARA) - Sam Dent, RARA Project Manager, University of Sheffield

  • ·         A fellow HEFCE core B funded project with very similar themes to ours
  • ·         Anna Mountford-Zimnars (one of the authors of the report behind our project) is part of this project

Lastly, the all-important lunch-time networking resulted in the following…  I’ll be contacting Janette Thompson at Nottingham Trent to connect with her project working with BTEC entry students and disadvantaged groups.  This also links to a fledgling project at Lincoln with similar themes.  Lots to talk about with Sam Dent potentially too, so I’ll be doing likewise.

All in all, a rather useful day!  

Lincoln blog 7 - project update

posted 10 Oct 2017, 02:45 by Ben Walker   [ updated 13 Oct 2017, 02:43 ]

Quite a few things have happened since we last blogged….

Our personal tutor resources for staff and students are now ‘live’ and being used by personal tutors and students. 

They can be found at: 

Resources can be duplicated and adapted by staff for use with their particular cohort of students.  We have continued to request feedback from both staff and students on content, format and relevance of topics and what we have received has, overall, been highly positive.  Both staff and students have highlighted the need for resources to be Lincoln specific, something we avoided in the first instance since we knew they were to be used across partner institutions.  However, as a result, we are creating duplicates of all the resources so we can ‘Lincoln-ise’ them in terms of branding, images and content.  Whilst ‘call outs’ in meetings (in our Senior Tutors’ forum and project steering group for example) and emailing feedback forms have garnered some feedback, we have found targeting individuals to be more successful.  For example, I am regularly meeting a tutor to talk through one staff resource at each meeting.  In the light of this feedback, we’re continuing to amend the resources (changes happen ‘live’ within Sway).  We’re keen to receive any feedback from our partners in the core team too, as well as the tutors and staff you work with, and the links below can be used for this:

Staff -

Students –

The staff resources in particular will inform a personal tutor staff development programme we are planning to start in January 2018 (session dates to follow).  Members of the core team from the partner universities are welcome to attend (and facilitate!) just let us know.   

From an institutional perspective, we continue to integrate the project work into the Lincoln personal tutoring review through hosting the resources on our portal and regularly meeting with the managers overseeing the review.  In addition, we have requested to go into all the University’s schools/colleges to talk to the personal tutors about tutoring, the resources, the project and the staff development programme to follow, something we have already done with the Lincoln Business School.      

I’ve also planned a Lincoln based research project with themes closely related to the HEFCE project. It will focus on tutors’ views on the effectiveness of their role in the first instance with a planned second phase bringing in students’ views and students’ progress/performance.  It will look at the relationship between the intervention of the resources to assess their influence.  I had been considering such a project anyway when, last month, the research institute in which myself and Alison are based put out a call for HE research funding awards.  My manager Karin suggested I apply.  Nothing like a funding application to change thought to action I guess and undergoing that process certainly made me sort out my aims, objectives, methodology, ethics and all the rest…so, thanks Karin. 

Lastly, Alison and I are presenting on the project at the fourth national tutoring seminar at Sheffield Hallam University this week, our first time talking ‘officially’ about the project to staff outside our university and the core team.  This is organised by the CRA and linked to their personal tutoring award accredited by SEDA.  Acronym translations: Centre for Recording Achievement and Staff Educational and Development Association respectively.  Should be interesting.  One or two of the other presentations look like they could be really useful for us, so more to follow on that.  

Outcomes of Conference workshop Huddersfield

posted 6 Oct 2017, 00:57 by Jane Wormald

Attached is a copy of the outcomes and resources that emerged from the University of Huddersfield Teaching and Learning workshop that Christine, Cheryl and Jane led.
The activity is useful for generating contributions in workshops and can be adapted to suit most topics.
There are at least two attendees who said that I could keep in touch with them following their action pledge. The activities are all based on the key target areas of the Intervention for Success.  

IfS Resource

posted 25 Sep 2017, 07:03 by Arin Adefila

This week the team at Coventry University is working on bringing together a suite of resources designed to support students, lecturers and clinical educators ensure that placements are smooth and successful. We are working with the School of Health’s Faculty Learning Support Coordinator and the Coordinator for the project investigating implementing Collaborative Curriculum Placements to collate resources from across the faulty which will specifically engage, inform and provide targeted support for students with mental health problems and those with specific learning difficulties as they prepare for clinical placements.

Many students approach Clinical Placements with significant anxiety, this is particularly compounded when students have a disability. On the University campus, students have a number of resources and access to a wide range of equipment. Outside the University, there are a number of mechanisms and processes that need to be activated when a student with a disability is going on a placement. A student with a mental health disability or specific learning difficulty will need to be proactive and have the capacity to discuss all their requirements with the clinical placement mentors before they begin the placement.

Our resources will be centred on a resource we developed here at the University a few years ago. Placement Connect provides a lot of information for students and practice educators. 

Coventry University: Introduction

posted 25 Sep 2017, 07:00 by Arin Adefila

Coventry University will be developing a suite of resources which engage, inform and support students with a mental health problem or those with a specific learning disability. Students with hidden disabilities often approach placement with significantly more anxiety than their colleagues because they require reasonable adjustments that may not readily be available to them in a clinical setting. This resource will be available to students, clinical educators/mentors and lecturers with a view to ensuring that all stakeholders understand the processes and mechanisms for supporting a student on placement. If students can access the support they need before the placement begins, they are less likely to lack confidence during the placement and have the opportunity to have a smooth and rewarding placement experience.

Huddersfield blog 7

posted 15 Sep 2017, 09:19 by Jane Wormald   [ updated 15 Sep 2017, 09:25 ]

on task...
This week found Christine, Cheryl and I at the University Teaching and Learning Conference, entitled 'Building an Academic Community: engaging our students', hosting a workshop session on Intervention for Success.  Christine introduced the key aims, project outline and targeted areas of the project and invited those present to consider how they might plan to integrate these ideas into their practice. The workshop element asked participants to discuss the focus areas of: promoting habits of regular study; developing an sense of belonging in an academic community; Active support through the summer for re-sits and ECs; developing the Personal Academic Tutor role; encouraging students to work with new people; stimulating excitement about your subject; Team working (planning and teaching) with librarians, academic skills tutors and IT technologist; encouraging and scaffolding independent study. These ideas were supported with 'prompt cards' for discussion and generating ideas that were captured on a 'What if?' form. Each team/person took one of these ideas to develop further and encouragement to put these ideas into practice ended the session. A follow up of and for attendees will show results of the workshop.  

Lincoln blog 6

posted 30 Aug 2017, 02:28 by Alison Wilkinson

Hope everyone's had a great summer!  Ben and I have been on leave over the last couple of weeks, but are now both back at Lincoln and working hard on the project!

Our main task has been converting the power point resources we had for students and tutors into an interactive format.  We finally decided to use Microsoft Sway, as it is easy to use, looks slick and professional, and all our students will have this as part of the Office 365 suite (probably this applies to other institutions too).  

We had previously shared the resources in power point format to collect some feedback from tutors and students.  We haven't received much in the way of tutor feedback, but have had some really valuable feedback from students via our Students' Union.  

On 11th September, we have a Senior Tutors' Forum meeting, so we are currently working towards sharing the resources in their final format before this meeting.  We will then ask tutors for their feedback, make any necessary changes and have the resources ready for the start of term on 25th September.  We will then be able to focus on getting the materials used and tracking their usage and usefulness.  

We will shortly be putting these materials on the project website in their Sway format, and will be grateful to receive your feedback!  

Huddersfield Blog 6

posted 18 Aug 2017, 04:43 by Jane Wormald

The Flying Start teams here have been working really hard to make the first two weeks a really positive experience for their students. The timetables are a combination of exciting subject specific activities alongside activities that are designed to engender a sense of belonging early in their studies. The ideas generated will be logged, evaluated and placed in a sharable area for dissemination across disciplines.
Our leaflet for Families and friends supporting success is ready to go into the envelopes and will be sent when our new students complete their term time addresses. We will then know who are living in their family homes during term time. This has a link to a new web page (that will be continually updated as we progress through the project time) with some additional information: 
Student Services have drafted a Welcome Booklet (for students who live in the family home and travel from there to University and this is going to print soon.
The Graduate Teaching Assistants have been selected now/very soon and start in September. They will have an induction related to the project in addition to the usual inductions. Further information is on the Project Website.

Lincoln blog 5

posted 31 Jul 2017, 01:06 by Alison Wilkinson

Ben and I are now working hard on preparing the resources ready for launch at the beginning of the Academic Year.  Most of these resources are currently in power point format, and we are exploring software to make them interactive.  One of our main problems is that we don't have any designated technical help for this, and time is short!  We are looking at using Adapt Learning or Articulate for the resources, and Cheryl very kindly came to see us last week to introduce us to Adobe Spark.  This looks pretty straight forward to use, and has a professional appearance when finished, so could be suitable for at least some of our resources.  Another consideration is that we need to be able to track student usage, so that we will have some insight of how effective the interventions are. 

We've added our resources in their current format onto the 'interventions' page on this site, and would be grateful for any feedback/comments you might have!  We've also convened an extra Senior Tutors Forum meeting on 11th September to get the involvement and feedback of the Senior Tutors.  

Our other main task to think about this week is our long-term project plan.  We are very focused at the moment on getting the resources completed, but also need to consider how we will use our time after this, and how we will carry out the action research needed for evaluating the project.  

All in all, we have a lot to think about and get through in the next couple of weeks!  

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