Good Practice from Standards Management: Lincoln College

Each year QAA releases a benchmark for their expected achievement rate for Access to Higher Education (HE) Diplomas. Over the past four years it has been 78.4%. At CAVA, we pride ourselves on our above national average achievement rates, including a few colleges that have courses which are constantly above the national benchmark, including Lincoln College - Access to HE Diploma (Science), who have averaged achievement at 89% over the past three academic years.

In an exchange with our Quality and Development Officer, the course team at Lincoln College revealed the key factors contributing to their remarkable results. These included a well-structured admissions process, a comprehensive induction program, a thoughtfully designed timetable, and an inclusive approach towards late starters.


The admissions process at Lincoln College plays a crucial role in the exceptional results they consistently achieve. Recently, they've adapted how they handle the initial telephone interview. Instead of talking to the general college admissions team, students will have their initial interview with an experienced academic staff member.

During the interview, students will be provided with information about the course and will be asked to think about why they’re pursuing this qualification. Lincoln College also places a large focus on mental health, taking time within the initial interview to discuss a student's individual needs.

Lincoln College insists on conditional offers, with a requirement that each student conduct a university research task. This allows students to think about future plans, as well as showing the staff what motivates them.


Another key factor to Lincoln College’s achievement rates is their induction. They run a one-week induction programme aligned with the regular weekly timetable. The induction covers essential topics, including an introduction to Access to HE, a Virtual Learning Environment induction, and familiarising students with college resources.

Another exciting part of the induction is that students have the opportunity to meet Freddie, the campus therapy dog. Freddie fosters a positive and inclusive atmosphere, promoting students' well-being and enthusiasm for learning.

Tutorials and support

Tutorials and support services also contribute to Lincoln College's exceptional achievement rates. Students benefit from one-to-one progress reviews with their personal tutor at least once every half term. The college ensures flexibility, allowing students to meet with their personal tutor more frequently if needed. These tutors, who are members of the teaching team, are readily available to offer guidance and assistance.

As well as the teaching team, an adult learners progress coach is also on hand to provide support to students, catering to their specific needs and challenges. In cases of student non-attendance or missing deadlines, a well-defined conduct procedure is in place. Subject tutors and personal tutors work with the student to develop an action plan to overcome obstacles and get them back on track.

This proactive approach to tutorials and support services empowers students to navigate academic challenges and personal hurdles effectively. By offering a safety net of assistance and mentorship, the college ensures that each student has the resources and guidance needed to thrive academically, contributing significantly to their overall success and achievement.


Lincoln College's high achievement is strengthened by a well-designed timetable, aimed at working students and those with other responsibilities such as childcare needs. The timetable spans over three days from 9:30am to 3pm, providing the flexibility that many require.

Acknowledging the cost of living crisis, the college plans to shift to a two-day schedule, accommodating students' increased need for paid work days. The rising demand for evening courses further reflects the changing student circumstances, which Lincoln College is accommodating too.

Late starters

The college implements a 4-week limit on late starters joining the course, and this approach has proven to be highly beneficial. To support these students, the college introduced a late induction and enrollment scheme in the 2022-23 academic year.

The teaching staff found the 4-week limit beneficial, as it allows them to plan their teaching effectively. By the end of the 4-week period, teachers can conduct necessary re-capping and catch-up sessions, ensuring that late starters can seamlessly integrate into the course and grasp the essential concepts.

This approach not only benefits the late starters but also ensures a cohesive and productive learning environment for all students, contributing to the college's overall academic success.

Overall, all of these factors contribute to Lincoln College’s exceptionally high achievement rates. The CAVA team would like to congratulate them on their continued hard work and thank them for sharing their good practice.