News story

First colleges gain right to award own degrees

The Privy Council has granted foundation degree awarding powers to the Corporation of Newcastle College and the Corporation of New College Durham…

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The Privy Council has granted foundation degree awarding powers to the Corporation of Newcastle College and the Corporation of New College Durham, following detailed scrutiny of their applications by the Quality Assurance Agency.

Business Secretary Dr Vince Cable said:

“Foundation degrees have grown in popularity in recent years, with around 100,000 students enrolled in them last year. We want to increase the study choices for students by enabling FE colleges to offer higher education qualifications; they can often do so in a more flexible way.”

Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said:

“I am delighted that the first two further education colleges have now been awarded foundation degree awarding powers. We want to ensure that institutions offering high quality work-focussed degrees can compete on a level playing field for prospective students.”

New College Durham Principal John Widdowson said:

“We are delighted to have been granted foundation degree awarding powers which acknowledges the role that New College Durham plays in delivering high quality higher education and which gives the College the flexibility to develop new higher education courses to meet the needs of employers and students.”

Newcastle College Corporation and its subsidiary companies trade as NCG. NCG Chief Executive Jackie Fisher said:

“We are delighted that Newcastle College Corporation is able to award** **its own Foundation Degrees. Foundation Degree Awarding Powers create a platform for us to forge ahead with our plans for Taught Degree Awarding Powers and gives us the opportunity to provide students with degrees that will give them the powers to get jobs and progress in their careers.”

The Privy Council has also agreed to award the School of Oriental and African Studies, a constituent college of University of London, taught and research degree awarding powers.

Notes to editors:

  1. Detailed scrutiny of applications for degree awarding powers is carried out by the Quality Assurance Agency’s Advisory Committee on Degree Awarding Powers. Formal approval is bestowed by the Privy Council on the advice of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
  2. Foundation degree awarding powers are initially awarded for a six year period and are renewable.
  3. BIS’s online newsroom contains the latest press notices, speeches, as well as video and images for download. It also features an up to date list of BIS press office contacts. See for more information.

Notes to Editors

Contact Information

Name BIS Press Office Job Title

Division COI Phone




Name Emma Griffiths Job Title

Division Department for Business, Innovation and Skills Phone 020 7215 5982 Fax



Published 8 August 2011