CEO welcome to the 2023-24 academic year

Welcome to the 2023-24 academic year. I hope you had a pleasant and restful summer break.

Celebrating 2022-23 outcomes
As we step into this new academic year, let us take a moment to reflect on the previous year. Thank you to all members of our CAVA community for your continued hard work and tireless dedication to Access to HE Diplomas. The positive impact of your caring support for students and timely engagement in our quality assurance activities shines through in the feedback we received from students. We also received a record low number of appeals this summer - a testament to the high quality of your provision.

Students gave their experience of their Access to HE course an average 5.3 out of 6 in our end of year student satisfaction survey and 97% commented that it met their educational goals. My favourite comment from a student was: “The best things about my course is the unparalleled level of attention from my teachers, that I didn't get in normal education, and the wider range of sectors the course covered to prepare me for any which way I choose to go.”

A year of milestones and enhancements
In 2022-23, we were pleased to roll out several new and improved services based on our consultations in 2021-22. We launched our new student and grade database with improved accessibility and functionality. We implemented our new external moderation model, expanding the breadth of subject experts supporting each of our providers. We validated new centralised Diplomas in Creative Arts; Engineering; Land-based Studies; Law and Criminology; and Music Technology. We also updated and revalidated our suite of HE Study Skills units shared across all Diplomas. A total of 592 attendees joined us for a series of 11 events, training sessions, and briefings across the year. Finally, we were delighted to welcome Boston College as the newest member of the CAVA community.

Building on success: 2023-24 initiatives
2023-24 will likewise involve lots of exciting activities. The main focus of the year will be implementing QAA’s revisions to the Diploma Specification and Grading Scheme. We will be contacting each of our providers in September to share our assessment of the impact of these changes on your courses and agree action plans for the year.

Drawing on our community’s input and research this last year, we are pleased to be moving forward with our sustainability initiative. Embedding sustainability across our Access to HE Diplomas is our vision, and this year, we will be mapping our courses against the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We will also prepare enriching resources to enable a holistic exploration of the SDGs with students.

To reduce CAVA’s environmental impact, we will be piloting electronic certification with two of our providers. It is our aim to have fully electronic certification by 2025-26 the latest to reduce emissions, whilst also improving certificate accessibility and verification.

Exploring the future
This year we will also be looking forward and planning for the future. We will be exploring the role of AI and online delivery in Access to HE Diplomas. We have released our guidance on AI this summer and we will build on this at our conference in December 2023. We will also be consulting with our CAVA community to prepare our 2024-27 strategic plan.

Alongside all of this, we will be carrying on with our usual levels of support and guidance during this year. I would like to once again say a huge thank you to everyone in our CAVA community: our Access to HE course teams; all of our members’ staff; our external moderators; validation panel members; our QuAD, HEI Forum, PRWG committee representatives; our Council of Members representatives; our Board Directors; and the CAVA Team for making 2022-23 a success. I look forward to working with you all to build on our achievements in 2023-24.

Thank you,
Flóra Raffai
CAVA Chief Executive Officer