New graduates celebrating by throwing their Mortarboards in the air

Enhancing Student Success (ESS) is a four year, institution-wide plan seeking to enhance the undergraduate student experience. It comprises 2 separate projects – the First Year Experience (FYE) project, launched in September 2015 and a new project entitled Continuing Student Success which is looking at the on-programme experience of our levels 5 and 6 students.

The plan is designed to achieve the following objectives (approved by SEC in October 2016):

First Year Experience

Objective 1: Student non-continuation at Level 4
To reduce our withdrawal rates to 7% in Year 1 / increase our continuation rates to 93%

Objective 2: Progression to level 5
To increase our rate of progression from Level 4 to Level 5 to 83%

Objective 3: Rate of return after a study break* for full-time first degree entrants
To increase the number of students that return to Northampton to 12% (sector mean)

Continuing Student Success

Objective 4: Student Completions
To increase our undergraduate student completion rates to 75% (performing above our HE competitor set). This is defined as students gaining the award that they were first registered on.

Objective 5: Undergraduate ‘Good Degrees’
To ensure that the percentage of undergraduate ‘good degrees’ lies within the range 62%-72% in line with HE and subject norms.

Objective 6: DLHE graduate employability outcomes for undergraduate
To increase our undergraduate first degree employability outcomes to 70% (HE competitor set average).

* All objectives are drawn from the University Operational Plan 2015-2020, apart from Objective 3, which is drawn from the HESA Performance Indicators Table T4a FT FD (all ages, 2014/15 entrants).

“This project is underpinned by the University’s principles for student success, which include an integrated and collaborative approach to supporting student success.”

Achievement of the ESS Plan objectives will come through a series of 8 separate Work Packages, each with their own specific objectives.


ESS Work Package Titles


* A study break is defined as a period of time away from studies for a maximum period of a year. A standard study break involves leaving at the end of one academic year, having a year away, and then returning at the beginning of the following academic year. It is also possible to have a mid-year study break, which would not impact on these measures.