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.

Lincoln blog 4

posted 12 Jul 2017, 07:55 by Alison Wilkinson   [ updated 12 Jul 2017, 07:56 ]

Things are progressing well at Lincoln now there are two of us working on the project!  Last week saw our first Project Steering Group meeting, with representation from the Senior Tutors' Forum, Students' Union, and other senior members of staff within the university.  Members of the group all introduced themselves and described their part in the project.  We also presented our plan for the project, and asked the tutors for feedback on the materials.  

Apart from the meeting, we've been working hard on developing the materials: I'm working on the student materials and Ben is working on materials for tutors.  We've also been looking at how we might link the two together and create a flowchart outlining all content and indicating a direction/order in which students could use the materials.  Our next step is to investigate digital platforms and make the content interactive.  Any comments/thoughts on this would be appreciated!  

Lincoln blog 3

posted 26 Jun 2017, 13:19 by Ben Walker   [ updated 26 Jun 2017, 13:23 ]

Hello there! My name is Ben Walker and, as of the 26th of June, I am the lead for our project at the University of Lincoln. Many thanks to Alison Wilkinson, who is working part time alongside me, for making great progress here at Lincoln since the start of the month. 

In my former life I was a manager of personal tutoring at The Sheffield College during which time I co-authored a book, undertook action research and designed staff development on personal tutoring.  I have always taught alongside managerial roles, most recently teaching trainee teachers on the Postgraduate Certificate in Education course in partnership with Sheffield Hallam University. Going further back, I was a manager of English and full time teacher of English for several years. 

I am passionate about the impact the support side of a lecturer's role, including personal tutoring and coaching, can have on students individually, as well as institutions more broadly, and I’m committed to developing this field further.

Suffice to say I am very excited about the project and working with you all!

Huddersfield Blog 4

posted 19 Jun 2017, 03:16 by Jane Wormald   [ updated 28 Jun 2017, 09:07 by Cheryl Reynolds ]

The project is moving forward… we have established the course teams for Flying Start and teams have been planning and timetabling with the central teams for a September start. Each team have logic chain planning forms for the two weeks and for each session so that we can collect what has been achieved in a meaningful way for evaluation. Reflections on the sessions and overall are being collected both on the individual session plans and in interviews/focus groups after the Flying Start weeks. ‘The Street’ café area in the Business School has been booked for week commencing October 9th to represent and display work achieved during these weeks. We will encourage those in commuting distance to invite their families to see the display.

A leaflet to clarify expectations for study is being designed and a schedule for work culminates on Monday 7th August with the delivery of the leaflet to the University. The central team will then prepare these for postage. These will be followed by strategically timed postcards to prompt families in ways they can support the student in their home through their studies. Fuller information will be placed on a ‘landing page’ that will host more details of the topics/issues highlighted and will also direct to other relevant parts of the University website.

A supporting students over the summer initiative is beginning this summer with each School in the University having a ‘Summer Rota’ to ensure that those at risk of leaving are supported in the appropriate manner to achieve. This involves academics keeping in touch with students on ECs/extensions/re-sits and exams only students and being able to help them move forward with their study during this time.

Cheryl has been organising the job specifications for the student consultant role/s and we should be able to go forward with that shortly.

Matt in Student Services is working on the student Welcome package – again to be ready for distribution early September.

We are looking forward to meeting our Interventions for Success colleagues from Coventry, Lincoln and Manchester on the 14th July.

Lincoln blog 2

posted 13 Jun 2017, 03:37 by Alison Wilkinson

Last week I visited the UUK Conference in London on 'Improving Student Retention in the Changing Higher Education Landscape'.  I had the opportunity to listen to what is going on around the country and get some ideas for our project.  A few themes that stood out were that interventions needed to be whole-institution approaches, run as part of the main curriculum, and that we need a proactive approach to student retention.  It was mentioned more than once that rather than looking at student retention, we should be focusing on students not fulfilling their potential, and that as tutors we have a responsibility to help students to do this.  Another important point that came out in several presentations was that of the 'human touch'.  One presenter told of how a student was positively affected just by the fact that a tutor knew his name.  Sometimes it's easy to forget, with the importance of data, that we are dealing with human beings, who, like all of us, need to feel valued, and this can make the difference in terms of whether they succeed.  We were also made aware of peer mentoring schemes in different universities, and the positive effects these can have on students.  
In terms of progress with the project, I am currently working on a bank of study skills materials that tutors can direct students to use when the need is identified.  Currently they are in the form of power point presentations, but I'll be collaborating with the technical department to make them interactive.  I'm also thinking about supporting tutors, with guidance on dealing with international students, for example.  Our steering group will be meeting for the first time in the next couple of weeks.  

Lincoln Blog 1

posted 1 Jun 2017, 02:35 by Alison Wilkinson

Hello!  I'm Alison Wilkinson and started working as Project Coordinator in Lincoln today.  I'm going to be working on the project for 6 months, part-time, alongside my role as Lecturer and Senior Tutor in the Business School here at the University of Lincoln.  My colleague, Ben Walker, will start on 26th June full-time, so we'll be working together for the first 6 months. 

I've been at the University of Lincoln since September 2015; before that I was an English Language and Academic Skills Tutor at Nottingham Trent International College, where students were preparing to enter University.  Previously I have taught English as a Foreign Language overseas.

Lincoln's part of the project is to develop materials for students and tutors, and to train tutors to use these to help students at risk.  I'm really looking forward to working with you all!

Huddersfield Blog 3

posted 19 May 2017, 06:08 by Jane Wormald

This week saw the first meeting of the Flying Start Course teams. There was an introduction to the project and Intervention for Success's  location in the Catalyst funded national projects with key dates and targets identified. It was really encouraging to see the preparation that has been done by courses and the positive attitude to the ideas being generated. With the core aims identified, teams worked on developing the first of one of the sessions using a 'concept proposition' format.  
Initial plans for other areas are being started in relation to guidance for staff over the summer to support those 'at risk' of non-continuation, staff awareness of commuter students, development of welcome pack for students, developing personalised and independent learning strategies.
There are many initiatives across the University that can be utilised or extended and part of what I'm doing is sourcing those places/people/projects/resources.    

Huddersfield Blog 2

posted 9 May 2017, 09:03 by Jane Wormald

Cheryl and I have been meeting some of the members of the whole Catalyst project at Huddersfield and a steering group meeting met on 9/5/17. We look forward to meeting others at our first meeting of Flying Start next week. 

The Flying Start programme, is one of the interventions we are devising for the project at Huddersfield and consists of a two-week programme at the beginning of year one. It is aimed at courses where the University of Huddersfield data recognises that there are significant numbers of students in our ‘at risk’ groups. 

The two-weeks are focused on subject-specific areas that aim to excite and engage students, whilst offering opportunities for getting to know the University community, feeling comfortable here, knowing where things can be found and meeting new friends, University staff and colleagues.  Each course team are about to begin to devise the timetables and content for their Flying Start from a possible ‘menu’ of core and optional ideas to include both induction to University life and to their subject area. For some courses there is a gap between what prior syllabi contain and the skills, strategies and knowledge required for subsequent studies.  For the students who we are identifying as ‘commuter students’ (52% in year 1), we want to ensure that they know where and how to find what they need and feel a strong part of University life and community. The tasks and activities in Flying Start, established in the bid, include engendering a sense of academic community, encouragement to work with new people, stimulate excitement about the subject, develop habits of full-time study and teach students how to concentrate and study.

All the Flying Start academics, PATs, librarians, SU reps will meet together every other week with the alternate week in their own course team to develop the tasks and activities that they have chosen for their first two weeks of the academic year. It is anticipated that early on, each course will contribute ideas that may also be shared across disciplines.

The first tasks for course teams will be the identification of teaching teams, timetabling of staff (including necessary cover/additional requirements) and booking rooms alongside planning the programme content and resources. 

The 31st July is the completion date for related resources to be ready both for the individual courses at Huddersfield and for distribution to peers at Coventry, Manchester and Lincoln. 

Leaflet for families, friends and carers

The aim of the leaflet is to explain some expectations for study at University and how families, friends and carers can help the student succeed. The format of the flyer is to be decided following the Steering Group Meeting and I will be working on that in the next week so we can have this ready to go. 


Huddersfield Blog 1

posted 23 Apr 2017, 08:41 by Jane Wormald   [ updated 23 Apr 2017, 08:45 ]

Hello, let me introduce myself. I'm Jane Wormald and the project coordinator at University of Huddersfield. 
I'm based in the school of education and have worked on many collaborative projects within teacher education and really excited to start this. I look forward to being introduced to each of the other coordinators soon!
Here at Huddersfield, Cheryl (Project Manager) and I have been making links with people and teams who will be part of the key work of the project. Huddersfield's part of the project remit is supporting retention and achievement of students, specifically those who live and travel to university from home. 
We are currently planning 'Flying Start', a new two-week course-specific, boot camp-like induction for September. The timetable is set for the preparatory work and our first whole group meeting is May 16th. So far, we have identified core teams from each of the schools that are taking part and agreement from the SU, student services and library to support our work. Once term re-starts, I will be contacting personal academic tutors (PATs), students and academic skills tutors too. I have been reading a lot to understand the prospective students for Flying Start and the Catalyst project generally; there's a great resource section that Cheryl has made on this site to share useful articles/information. We have made initial links with local 6th forms and colleges who know the students from their centres who have applied for Huddersfield courses and will be speaking to them very soon.   


posted 4 Apr 2017, 09:21 by Cheryl Reynolds

Cheryl Reynolds
Hello to all of the Interventions for Success Project Team.  I'm Cheryl Reynolds, the Project Manager, based at the University of Huddersfield.  My role is to manage, develop and provide leadership for the project across the four participating institutions.  I was appointed on the 1st of April and I am excited to get started and to meet everyone. My work so far has been devoted to developing this website and getting to grips with what the project will entail. My background is in Teacher Education and for a number of years, I have been responsible for managing the elearning aspects of our teacher education provision, which spans 24 different institutions across the North of England and beyond, so I'm comfortable working with geographically dispersed teams.  One of the key ways of developing strong ties is shared stories and a healthy, ongoing dialogue. To that end, I'm getting the ball rolling with this first blog post.  The project requires a weekly blog from each of the Project Coordinators in our four institutions; Coventry, Huddersfield, Lincoln and MMU.  Though the title of this role may vary in each HEI those in this role or the equivalent will all be developing and driving the implementation of interventions to improve the achievement and retention of 'at risk' students, so it is going to be fascinating hearing about that work as it unfolds.  To begin contributing, you will first need to sign up for a Google account and send its address to me at  I'll then give you Edit rights to this site.  Once that's done, when you click on the 'News' menu item above, you'll see a New Post button top left.  Clicking that will allow you to start blogging here.  You can Edit your post as many times as you like by clicking on the pencil icon top right.  If you ever need any technical help or advice or would just like a chat and to say 'hello,' don't hesitate to email me or call me on 01484 478288.  Until then, welcome to the project and I hope to meet you all soon!

1-9 of 9