Policies, Research & Consultations

Policy Documents

MEG responds to developments in College Based Higher Education (CBHE) by responding to consultations but also undertakes and commissions selective research for the benefit of members and the wider CBHE community . We also publish articles designed to stimulate discussion and raise awareness of CBHE matters. This section of the website includes:

● a selection of our Consultation responses;
● examples of documents drafted by MEG, sometimes jointly with other agencies, and;
● a selection of research publications including an overview of CBHE, Scholarly Activity,
Progression to HE, leadership in HE in FE, higher level Apprenticeships etc

Individual MEG member colleges have an active interest in research and scholarly activity and many hold annual HE in FE research conferences in partnership with their local universities. Examples of work completed in-house by HE teaching staff will be posted on this part of the site.

Research Documents

MEG members contribute significantly to the research that is undertaken about College based HE. As a group we have been funded to write a number of papers or research documents and these can be found in this part of the website. For ease of access, the most recent is listed first.

Members’ Small Scale Research Projects

MEG Case Studies. Overcoming the challenge – recruiting and retaining staff teaching in College Based Higher Education. click here to access the link

The Experiences of Students from the Black Asian Minority Ethnic Community Clara Fatoye, BSc, MA, AFHEA. University Campus Oldham

The Impact of Research Networks on Professional Identity. Harriet Burt & Kelly Winfield. Loughborough College

Higher Expectations: An Analysis Of The Perception Gap Of Higher Education Students In A Further Education College. M. Gallagher, M. Page and K. Weaver. City College Norwich

Changing with the Times: An Evaluation of Hybrid Online Teaching and Learning with Suggestions for Improving Delivery.  Dr. Kevin Bingham, Lliam Dickinson and Luke Hellewell. Barnsley College

An investigation into the viability of documenting teaching observations through video recordings that support andragogical practice in teacher training settings. Richard Hall – Higher Education Scholarship Manager. New College Durham

Defining Higher Education ‘Identity’ within a Further Education Environment. Dr Catherine Trenchfield.  South Thames College Group

“But does this go into my essay?”: A Project to implement a learning through cocreation approach in college based HE. Russ Woodward and Nathan Michael  TEC Partnership

Exploring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on University Campus Oldham (UCO) students’ use of the UCO Learning Resource Centre. University Campus Oldham

Reviewing college-based HE assessment and moderation practices in response to Covid and national policy changes. University Centre South Devon

The potential for updating vocational higher lecturers’ occupational knowledge via digital technology. Bedford College

Student perceptions of the importance of embedding wellbeing within the Higher Education environment UCSE

Graduate Employability in a Coastal Town – A study of effective employability activities and student views on graduate employability TEC Partnerships

An investigation into the impact of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) on mental health services in a College Based Higher Education (CBHE) setting Newcastle College University Centre


MEG Research Projects

An investigation into the impact of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) on mental health services in a College Based Higher Education (CBHE) setting

This research identified an increased demand on the College’s mental health support services for students during the pandemic. The pivot to online support has brought significant benefits, including: continuity of support, more inter-agency and inter- departmental approaches, the removal of barriers to access for some student groups, and prioritising student mental health awareness with all college staff. Written by colleagues at the Newcastle College University Centre for the MEG Small Scale Research Projects. June 2021

MEG Briefing. Progression to Higher Education: the distinctive role of FECs. February 2021

This paper briefly highlights examples of work undertaken in colleges to encourage progression to Higher Education and illustrates how FECs are distinctively equipped and placed to deliver progression opportunities to students from widening participation backgrounds.

Reforms for a ‘Revolutionary’ Post-16 White Paper  Campaign for Learning. September 2020. Julia Wright and Mark Corney (Editors)

John Widdowson Higher Technical Education: An Alternative to Full-Time Three-Year Degrees

In their own words: Further Education College managers’ perspectives on university partnerships
A snapshot from the Mixed Economy Group (MEG) illustrating college based higher
education partnership working including guidance on good practice.

Managing Higher Education

Participants in the Case Studies were chosen from a cross section of MEG members and provide exemplars of current management practice. Good practice and high quality provision is widespread across the MEG family of colleges and those featured here were not selected exclusively for the quality of their provision and delivery. Instead, they are a representative cross section of MEG members in terms of geographical location and size of HE student cohorts. Each College has adapted to its local context, environmentally, socially and economically and developed its CBHE offer and management strategies accordingly. Many face stiff competition from HEIs and neighbouring colleges. Most draw students from socially deprived areas.

Higher Apprenticeships and Degree Apprenticeships Analysis of summer 2018 survey

The paper sets out the findings from a series of interviews with MEG representatives conducted in 2018, aimed at establishing the extent of their involvement in the delivery of Degree Apprenticeships. It looks at the motivations for offering Higher and Degree Apprenticeships, the involvement of employers in both programmes, and the relationships with partner universities in the delivery of Degree Apprenticeships. Practical issues such as staff development, college organisational structures and the expectations of Degree Apprentices are also considered.

A different view: the experiences of International students studying HE in a college setting.

This paper reports the findings of a survey carried out in 2017-18 into the views of
International students who are studying for HE qualifications in a publically-funded college
rather than a university setting. 2019

Case study: HE academic support service

The multi-college project at New College Durham, Sunderland College and Darlington College has put in place HE Academic Support Tutors to provide a positive study skills support experience that enhances student learning, boosts engagement with course content, and raises students’ confidence and resilience. 2019

Higher Education in Further Education: Leading the Challenge

John Widdowson CBE & Madeleine King FETL Monograph 2018

‘Facing the Future: Responding to Change in College Based Higher Education’

John Widdowson CBE & Madeleine King 2017

Exploring Scholarship and scholarly activity in college-based Higher Education

Madeleine King, Dr. Jane Davis, Carl Flint and John Widdowson CBE 2014

Scholarly Activity in Higher Education delivered in Further Education:

A study by the Mixed Economy Group of colleges Madeleine King and John Widdowson. December 2009

Higher viewpoints: studying Higher Education in a Further Education College Consultations

An analysis of student experiences. Madeleine King, Dr. Arti Saraswat and John Widdowson CBE 2014

From Trade to Profession: A review of careers education, information advice and guidance arrangements for Higher Apprentices from an FE college perspective.

A review of careers education, information advice and guidance arrangements for Higher Apprentices from an FE college perspective. Madeleine King and Jill Ward 2013

Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning.

The experiences of students studying higher education on a part time basis in English further education colleges. Madeleine King, Arti Saraswat and John Widdowson. 2015

Filling the Polytechnic size hole: the role of colleges

John Widdowson 2013

What is Higher Vocational Education and how do we define it?

Marina Parha 2013

What is Higher Vocational Education and how do we define it? ‘Inside looking out’

Dr. Sarah Shobrook 2013

Inspiring Individuals: teaching higher education in a further education college

Exploring the pedagogy of HE delivery in an FE setting   John Widdowson and Madeleine King 2012

Shaping the future: opportunities for HE provision in FE colleges

A report by the Mixed Economy Group of colleges and the 157 Group. 2012

Strategic Options, Operational Challenges: A study of Higher Education delivered in a Further Education setting

Madeleine King, Maldwyn Buckland, Maggie Greenwood, Simon Ives and Anne Thompson. 2010



MEG’s response to consultations affecting HE in FE can be found here:-

 Call for evidence Approach to OfS public grant funding May 2024

Mixed Economy Group response to Disabled Student Commitment formal consultation – December 2022

MEG draft response to OfS consultation on a new approach to regulating equality of opportunity in English higher education

MEG response to OfS NSS Phase Two Consultation

TEF Consultation on the Teaching Excellence Framework & Constructing Student Outcome and Experience Indicators for use in OfS Regulation

Mixed Economy Group response to the Consultation on OfS Strategy (2022-25)

MEG response to OfS consultation on regulating quality and standards in Higher Education (Jan. 2021)

Uni Connect Consultation

MEG response to the OfS on the integrity of the HE sector May 2020

Response to DfE Consultation on Higher Technical Education 29.09.19 Principal author: John Widdowson, Editor: Nick Whitehouse, Coordinator, MEG

MEG response to the recent OfS consultation on Access and Participation

MEG 2018 HADA Survey Exec. Summary

MEG 2018 HADA Survey Analysis



The following organisations may be of interest to anyone involved in the delivery of HE in FE.


Government Departments

Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy note was (BIS)

Department for Education (DfE)


Funding Councils

Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) archive material

The Office for Students Ofs



Useful sources of data and research:

Campaign for Learning

Association for Research in Post Compulsory Education

British Educational Research Association ( BERA )

UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) archive only

Confederation of British Industry (CBI)

University Vocational Awards Council (UVAC)

Council for Industry and Higher Education (CIHE)

Association of Colleges (AoC)

The National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB)

Australian Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutes

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    If you want to discuss a particular matter please contact the MEG Chair, Dr Sam Parrett OBE.