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Key priority areas

Through consultation with our partners, Linking London has identified five key work areas. These are:

  • data
  • FE, including HE in FE
  • information, advice and guidance and the benefits to be gained from partnership and collaborative working
  • qualification change and reform, including progression from vocational (occupational), applied general and academic qualifications
  • access, retention and student success, and progression.

Staff development is a key priority area which runs through all the major work strands.


This work strand will involve:

  • Providing opportunities for partners to share issues, findings and best practice in data capture and use by linking with other organisations involved in data work e.g. London Councils Young People Skills and Education, Association of Colleges, the UCL Institute of Education, the Greater London Authority, UCAS and London boroughs.
  • Continuing to update partners on the latest Labour Market Information (LMI) research, both nationally and London wide, including via, the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the Greater London Authority (GLA) and Lightcast, formally EMSI, via our newsletters and a dedicated section in our Partner Area.
  • Ensuring partners are informed of the latest developments London-wide, and sub-regionally, in relation to the effective use of data for planning and development purposes, including identification of best practice, evaluation and impact.
  • Seeking to develop innovative resources to support partners Access and Participation work. Our most recent resource, which focuses on the intersectionality of disadvantage in London, funded by our partner UCL, was published in the Autumn term of 2021.
  • Ongoing mapping of higher-level apprenticeship vacancies in Greater London, on a monthly basis, for use by careers advisers, outreach staff and researchers.
  • Continuing to work with HEAT in terms of its contribution to measuring impact and engagement of our Uni Connect Programme.


This work strand involves:

  • Enhancing relationships between FE and HE partners and key stakeholders through the HE in FE practitioner group (which meets three times a year) and networking, including the development of a more strategic approach to planning London-wide and sub-regionally, following the area reviews and devolved budgets and funding.
  • Producing a bi-monthly newsletter to support this work strand, providing staff and those interested in this area with up-to-date news, views and policy changes.
  • Evaluating and briefing on key policy changes, and their implementation, in relation to the HE in FE, and FE landscape.
  • Working with the OfS, AdvanceHE, BEIS, ESFA, LEAP and GLA on matters of relevant concern.
  • Continuing to update and disseminate the London College HE in FE e-prospectus, alongside exploring with partners how to raise awareness and help publicise the unique HE in FE offering in London.
  • Advising FE on the changing and emerging post 16 agenda, including Higher and Degree Apprenticeships, T levels, Access to HE, BTEC, and Higher Technical Qualifications, including Higher Nationals and Foundation Degree developments.
  • Supporting partners to develop a strategic response to the Higher-Level Skills growth agenda in London as well as to meet the requirements of the OfS, including access and participation plans and statements.
  • Supporting partners, where required, in the development of a more flexible, learner-centred provision through the use of APL, work-based learning, accreditation services and to develop a credit accumulation and transfer methodology.


In this work strand, we work to support advisers, outreach and admissions staff and anyone with an interest in supporting college learners progressing on to higher level learning, in all its forms.

This work includes:

  • Hosting three IAG Practitioner Group Meetings each academic year to share the latest IAG news, issues and good practice. These meetings include inputs from a range of speakers on topical matters.
  • Coordination of a collaborative HE IAG service, on request, for further education and sixth form colleges that are part of the Linking London partnership. This service, brokered by Linking London, will support learners making HE choices and successful applications to HE. These activities are coordinated by Linking London and delivered by our HE provider partners. These activities will also provide evidence of outreach and collaborative work to meet the OfS Access and Participation Plan targets.
  • Dissemination of a monthly IAG newsletter, highlighting the latest news and developments in the sector.
  • Access to a range of innovative IAG resources, aimed at both students and advisers, produced by the Linking London team.
  • View partner events and open days on our partner websites.


Focusing on Access to HE Diplomas, BTEC, A level and T levels as well as higher level qualifications including Higher Technical Qualifications, HNCs/HNDs, foundation degrees, higher and degree apprenticeships and postgraduate qualifications, this work-strand will:

  • Provide regular updates on changes and policy developments relating to qualifications at all levels, including vocational and technical education at levels 3-6 and postgraduate qualifications.
  • Continue to run and support four qualification practitioner groups, addressing specific issues, providing policy and curriculum updates and sharing good practice in relation to: Access to HE Diplomas, BTEC qualifications and Higher and Degree apprenticeships and T Levels, to explore the latest news and developments, as well as good practice and issues we can address collaboratively.
  • Monitor, with partners and Awarding Bodies, the consequences and impact of changes in qualifications on recruitment, student behaviour, retention, and progression.
  • Continue working with Admission staff to ensure they are up to date with changes to qualifications, provide information and support partners to ensure entry requirements are fair and meaningful and share good admissions practice.
  • Work with partners to identify progression opportunities for learners through the mapping of identified progression routes, the development of new progression agreements, as required, and supporting the effectiveness of existing ones.
  • Liaise with the NAS, unionlearn with the TUC and others, as well as employers, to facilitate further partner engagement with apprenticeship developments.
  • Ensure partners are informed of developments in relation to government qualifications reviews, including the Post 16 review and review of vocational and technical education at level 4 and 5, and the potential implications for partners.
  • Explore, with partners, how we can improve social mobility onto postgraduate study, for Londoners via annual events to explore issues, share good practice and explore areas for collaboration.


This work strand addresses the three main areas of the OfS strategy (access, retention and student success, and progression) supporting partners' Access and Participation Plans/Statements to bring about further and faster progress within higher education in London and to support learners through the whole learner journey.

Through this work strand Linking London will:

  • provide opportunities, via our Chatham House Rule meetings, to share key policy developments, issues and good practice in enhancing Access and Participation Plan work with partners
  • support and coordinate a targeted outreach and collaborative partner IAG offer to enable partner institutions to meet and surpass the new OfS guidance, in particular the area of collaborative targets. This will also include exploring opportunities to work with partners to work collaboratively on key access priority groups focusing on mature learners and white working-class males.
  • through the HE in London website provide a single point of contact for information about Higher Education outreach in London
  • support partners' work in enhancing student success and progression outcomes, such as links to employment and access to the professions, as well as via our Student Retention and Success Practitioner Group
  • continue the support in brokering and embedding progression or institutional agreements, ensuring that these are effectively monitored to enable HEIs to evidence them as part of their widening participation and outreach offer, plus exploring in sector areas the use of articulation agreements.
  • bring together, through delivering events and producing publications, partners who offer specialist curriculum courses to provide a subject and sector focus
  • explore and advertise alternatives to the full-time model of HE, including part-time, flexible, blended and work-based learning, and Higher and Degree Apprenticeships with partners
  • continue to build on links established to date with the Greater London Authority (GLA) as well with the London Economic Action Partnership (LEAP) to ensure we are factored into and engage with the skills for London Strategy and Adult Education Roadmap, as well as the LEAP's priorities as outlined in the jobs and growth plan.


  • Provide continuing professional development (CPD) opportunities through staff development events on key topics of concern.
  • A minimum offer of twenty staff development events and practitioner meetings a year - free places for any number of partner staff, space permitting.
  • A certificate of attendance to be made available for all participants, with the longer term aim of seeking accreditation for staff and/or the development of an Associateship for Linking London members.
  • Networking and knowledge exchange opportunities for partners and their staff to create opportunities for cooperation and collaboration, including through Linking London practitioner groups (IAG, HE in FE, Access and BTEC etc.) and project work.
  • Access to a national network of expert advice, support and resources through our continuing links with remaining Lifelong Learning Networks and other stakeholders such as UVAC, UCAS, QAA, the FE Guild, NCFE, SLC, NAS, the AoC and Advance HE.