Bishop Grosseteste University (BGU) recently commemorated a significant academic milestone as it celebrated the graduation of its first Foundation Year (FdY) cohort this year. Beginning their studies in 2019, these students undertook the program that provides an academic pathway for individuals typically excluded from undergraduate programs, expanding educational access.

Despite challenges posed by a shift to online learning due to COVID-19, foundation year students from a wide range of subject areas including Early Childhood Studies, Psychology, Counselling, Education Studies, English, Theology, Health & Social Care, and TESOL received their award, with many securing a first-class honours.

BA(Hons) Health and Social Care graduate Pollie Simpson shared her perspective: "As a mature student in my fifties, I decided to return to education after a gap of over thirty years. My children had all left home and settled into satisfying and rewarding careers after all graduating from university and I felt it was a good time for me to change direction.

"I'm incredibly proud to be graduating with a first-class honours degree and I'm excited about continuing my journey by undertaking an MSc Occupational Therapy (pre-reg) course in January. My own journey has inspired my brother to return to education, and he will be joining BGU on his foundation year this summer."

Pollie on her graduation day
Pollie on her graduation day

Kerry Houghton, another graduate with a BA (Hons) in Health and Social Care echoed Pollie's sentiments: "During the Foundation Year, I was taught how to write academically, how to reference, how to think critically, and always check the source. My confidence flourished and I made wonderful friends for life. I also love the community of mature students BGU has. I graduated not just with a degree, but a first-class one!

"Without the foundation year, I don't think I would have ever achieved that. CELT [BGU’s Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching] was amazing and nothing was ever too much trouble. I'm 38 now and the Foundation Year and BGU have really changed my life - I've just had an interview for a Master's degree in occupational therapy! The University helped me recognise my potential to chase the dreams I had all those years ago."

Kerry celebrates graduation at the cathedral
Kerry celebrates graduation at the cathedral

Senior Lecturer for Foundation Year Dr Adam Foxon
said: "This accomplishment aligns with BGU's educational mission, reflecting the belief that every student deserves an opportunity to showcase their aptitude. These students have not only progressed professionally and academically but will continue to do so in the future. As the University's motto suggests, the spirit of sharing knowledge and accomplishments is paramount."

For further insights into the exceptional journeys of BGU's Foundation Year high-achievers, read Sophie’s graduation story.

For those seeking to enhance self-confidence, secure a spot in an undergraduate course, or explore the Foundation Year program, find detailed information on our website.

For enquiries, kindly email or 01522 583658, or directly reach the Foundation Year team at

21st August 2023