The number of entrants to higher education taking access diplomas declined by 18 per cent between 2012-13 and 2017-18, according to an analysis.
The courses, which offer a standalone qualification equivalent to A-levels, are accepted by a range of higher education providers. They are designed to help widen access to higher education by offering students without traditional qualifications a route into university
However, according to an Office for Students (OfS) report, the number of entrants to such access courses decreased from 36,880 to 30,410 between 2012-13 and 2017-18. Meanwhile, the number of integrated foundation year entrants almost tripled from 10,430 to 30,030 during the same period.