The QAA Biosciences subject benchmark statements (2015) and QAA Foundation Degree Characteristics Statement (September 2015) have been used to inform the academic development of the programme
Department of Biological Sciences
Friday 25th November 2016
The educational aims of the FdSc Equine Physical Therapies and Rehabilitation are as follows:
To provide a high quality academic and practical programme of study in Equine Physical Therapies and Rehabilitation, with learning opportunities for students from a variety of backgrounds both in the specialist equine training facilities at Reaseheath College and through industry contacts.
To provide students with the knowledge, understanding and skills employers in equine industries need, using teaching, learning and assessment strategies that develop professional experience concurrent with academic development.
To enable students to progress in a professional career involving a scientific or technical role within the equine industry.
To develop students understanding of the scientific principles and management practices associated with the maintenance of optimal equine health, welfare and performance.
To offer flexible delivery modes and study patterns to meet the needs of students from a variety of backgrounds and employment patterns.
To provide a programme that remains relevant, valid and responsive to the needs of employers and students, by maintaining and expanding effective partnerships with students, employers and professional bodies.
To provide a programme of study in Equine Physical Therapies and Rehabilitation that qualifies students for further study at graduate and postgraduate level, specifically progression towards the BSc Top-up in Equine Science provided by the college.
To provide a degree programme that provides students with the academic skills and confidence to engage in further learning throughout their lives.
To foster employability skills to include self-management, team working, problem-solving, communication and literacy, application of numeracy, application of information technology.
To develop the student’s practical skills in the field of Equine Physical Therapies and Rehabilitation
The development of knowledge and understanding of underlying principles associated with equine behaviour and welfare is fundamental in enabling the application and critique of core concepts and ideas, and the subsequent synthesis of new knowledge during students' progression through the programme. Therefore, upon successful completion of this programme, students should be able to:
FHEQ Level 4
Demonstrate a systematic and rigorous approach to academic study (all modules)
Demonstrate a basic knowledge and understanding of relevant theories and concepts in the fields of equine husbandry, behaviour and management and be able to apply these to different contexts (all modules)
Develop new transferable skills specific to academic study (e.g. scientific writing), scientific enquiry (e.g. research design) and professional practice (e.g. behaviour and training) that can be applied in areas of further study and/or within employment (all modules)
Describe and independently use relevant techniques for the collecting and analysing a range of data (RC4208)
FHEQ Level 5
Demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge and critical understanding of relevant theories and concepts in the fields of equine physical therapies and rehabilitation and how these interlink (all modules)
Demonstrate a knowledge of the main methods of scientific enquiry in equine physical therapies and rehabilitation (all modules.)
Demonstrate an ability to apply knowledge of underlying concepts and principles outside the context in which they where originally studied, including in an employment context (RC5703, RC5025)
Develop an understanding of the limitations of their subject knowledge, and how this influences their own analysis and interpretation (RC5703)
Core cognitive skills are expected to be evidenced throughout the two years of study. To start, students undertaking study at level 4 should expect to demonstrate clear lines of thinking, description, knowledge recall and understanding, with progression towards an ability to reason in a scientific manner, critically evaluate and analyse, and to synthesise new knowledge. Therefore, upon successful completion of this programme, students should be able to:
FHEQ Level 4
Demonstrate an ability to present, evaluate and interpret qualitative and quantitative data, with a view to utilising these to make informed judgments on management and training (RC4028, RC4015, RC4016).
Demonstrate different approaches to solving problems, specifically through the application of biomechanical evaluation to ensure effective equine management practices (RC4018, RC4019).
FHEQ Level 5
Utilise a range of approaches to undertake critical analysis of information pertaining towards equine biomechanics, management and performance but also professional practice, and developing solutions to problems that may have arisen (RC5016, RC5018, RC5033)
Develop an understanding of the limitations of their subject knowledge, and how this influences their own analysis and interpretation (RC5703 or RC5208).
All students should be expected to evidence the development and enhancement of practical and professional skills during their studies. Emphasis is primarily placed on the development of soft skills that can be transferred to the employment sector as a graduate (e.g. communication, time management, team working skills and problem-solving abilities). Technical skills should be demonstrated specific to the discipline, and will include utilising a variety of platforms to communicate research, show competencies in the handling, management and interpretation of data, use of information technology in a variety of formats to create, design, analyse and report, and reflect on their own learning and performance with the view to enhance their own abilities. Therefore, upon successful completion of this programme, students should be able to:
FHEQ Level 4
Undertake practical training in the development of newly acquired skills specific to the husbandry and training of horses for a variety of roles (RC4015, RC4016, RC4018, RC4019)
Demonstrate an ability to present, evaluate and interpret biomechanical data of a qualitative and quantitative nature, with the view to utilise these to make informed judgements (RC4208, RC4019)
Demonstrate an ability to evaluate the appropriateness of different approaches to problem solving, specific to both generic academic practices (revision techniques, approaches to coursework completion, team work etc) and also discipline based practices (experimental design and statistical analyses etc) (all modules)
FHEQ Level 5
Undertake training to develop existing skills and acquire new competencies that will afford some significant responsibility, including equine husbandry, training and performance modification for a range of horses, disciplines, musculo-skeletal issues and contexts (RC5016, RC5025, RC5033, RC5018).
Use a range of techniques to undertake critical analysis of information, and to propose a solution to the problems arising from that analysis (RC5016, RC5033).
Students should develop their professional communication skills with emphasis on being able to accurately and concisely impart technical information in a format accessible to a range of audiences. Upon successful completion of this programme, students should be able to:
FHEQ Level 4
Demonstrate an ability to present, evaluate and interpret data of a qualitative and quantitative nature, with the view to communicate these to a variety of audiences (RC4208)
Demonstrate an ability to form evidence based arguments to inform husbandry and management practices (RC4015, RC4016)
FHEQ Level 5
Effectively communicate information, arguments and analysis to a range of audiences (all modules)
Develop instructing and interpersonal skills appropriate for advising a range of audiences across a range of equine physical therapies and rehabilitation issues (RC5016, RC5018)
Academic Skills Development (RC4208)
Level 4: 6, 6, 3 credits
(Semesters 1& 2)
Professional Project (RC5703)
Level 5: 15 credits
Research Methods (RC5208)
For those intending to Top Up
Introduction to Equine Anatomy and Physiology (RC4013)
Level 4: 15 credits
(semesters 1 and 2)
Equine Exercise Physiology (RC5029)
Level 5: 15 credits
Equine Health (RC5013)
Level 5: 15 credits
Equine Musculoskeletal Anatomy and Physiology (RC4014)
Level 4: 15 credits
Introduction to Ground-working and Equine Physical Therapies (RC4018)
Level 4: 15 credits
Gymnastic Ground-working and Physical Therapies for Maintenance and Conditioning (RC4019)
Level 4: 15 credits
Remedial Ground-working and Physical Therapies for Rehabilitation (RC5016)
Level 4: modules are all 15 credits. A candidate who successfully completes level four will have accumulated 120 academic credit points, and will be eligible for the award of Certificate of Higher Education. These 120 academic credit points can be carried forward cumulatively towards the award of a Foundation degree.
Level 5: modules are all 15 credits. A candidate successfully completing level five will have accumulated 240 academic credit points, and will be eligible for the award of Foundation degree*. These 240 academic credit points can be carried forward cumulatively towards the award of an honours level undergraduate degree award.
(*see the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education: The framework for higher education qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland—August 2008)
A minimum of 64 UCAS Points from the qualifications listed below, including a grade C equivalent in one of the subjects recommended by the department.
The department recommends one of the following qualification(s):
GCE A Level: Biology, Chemistry, Human Biology, Science, Environmental Science.
GCE Applied A Level: Applied Science
BTEC Extended Diploma: BTEC Extended Diploma: Horse Management , Animal Care, Animal Management, Psychology or Applied Science: MMP
BTEC Diploma: Horse Management , Animal Care, Animal Management, Psychology or Applied Science: MM
OCR National Extended Diploma/Diploma: merit profile plus one of the GCE A Level subjects listed above
Irish Highers/Scottish Highers: BBCC in 4 subjects, including Biology, Chemistry or Human Biology.
International Baccalaureate: 26 points, including Biology or Chemistry
Access to HE approved programme
Please note: we accept a maximum of 20 UCAS points from GCE AS Levels and that the Welsh Baccalaureate (core) and A Level General Studies will be recognised in our offer. We will also consider a combination of A Levels and BTECs/OCRs.
Mature students (21 years of age or over) working in the equine industry and without evidence of the above qualifications, will be required to demonstrate enthusiasm and aptitude for higher level study, and have the support of their managers for linking their education with their work activities. Where mature students do not have standard academic qualifications but are able to demonstrate considerable vocational experience and transferable skills, their applications will be viewed on an individual basis to assess suitability. All students in this category will be required to attend an interview and may be asked to submit a piece of work to confirm their ability to undertake the programme.
Any applicant who has not received certification for prior learning experiences, but has worked within the discipline, will also be considered. Acceptable work-based experience could include one, or a combination of several, of the following: BHS instructor, elite level competitor, equestrian yard manager, equine veterinary nursing assistant.
The Biosciences (2015) benchmark statement has been used as an important reference point in the construction of the programme’s learning outcomes, knowledge, skills and content together with the methods of learning, teaching and assessment. Particular reference has been made to the threshold statements - these being the minimum requirement described in the benchmarking statements by the Quality Assurance Agency. A student will take sixteen 15 credit modules in total. The structure and content of the modules is such that all students will have the opportunity to develop the "skills and attributes acquired by the biosciences graduate...for a career in biosciences or elsewhere, and make them valued by employers." (The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education 2015. Biosciences). The particular sets of statements that have been referred to during the development of the programme are: generic standards, molecular aspects of biology, organisms, and ecology and environmental biology. Within these domains, examples of topics to be covered (as suggested by the QAA benchmark statement) include:
practical experience of recording, analysing and interpreting data and using it to inform further research, through study of equine behaviour and welfare measures
explain biological systems and how they influence the performance of the horse
communicate bioscience information in a variety of formats and to keep bioscience knowledge updated to work professionally with owners and other paraprofessionals
understand key ethical issues and work with professional integrity and awareness of their impact upon society when undertaking welfare, training, behaviour modification or advisory roles
structure and function of multiple cell types and chemistry of biological reactions in the horse to understand health, nutrition, conditioning and its effect of behaviour and performance
principles of genetics and gene expression through breed development and selection for different roles
classification, evolution and domestication of horses, genetic influence and the ancestral impact on behaviour
physiological effects, breed variation and physiological specialisation, impact of this on roles horses play.
influence of metabolism on health and nutrition and its impact on behaviour
social behaviour of horses, with each other, people and other animals and how they have adapted to live in a human society
behaviour of horses, natural ethology, unwanted and abnormal behaviours of the horse
Ecological and Environmental Biology:
nutrition of the horse
community structure, social behaviour, adaptability to live with and around humans
human interactions with horses, roles horses play in society and benefits of horses ownership and specialist work they undertake
The topics described above are all introduced at Level 4 and subsequently enhanced at either Level 5 or in further education at Level 6 and beyond. It is expected by the QAA that more specialised areas will be offered, especially at higher levels of study, and these have been developed in the level 5 modules and the level 6 modules of the BSc. Applied modules enable students to utilise the myriad of concepts and perspectives to compare, contrast, analyse and critique, to inform new knowledge and to problem solve. The more generic "soft" skills identified in the benchmark statements, including time management, reflective practice, team work, communication, use of data, information technology, information retrieval and presentation, are all explicitly embedded in the majority of modules presented within the programmes, either assessed formatively through classroom based activities, or alternatively through components of assessment.
Foundation degrees are intended to offer university education closely linked to employment. The FdSc Equine Physical Therapies and Welfare programme has been designed for both for full-time study by people aspiring to careers in the equine industry and part-time study by people employed in the equine industry or looking for a career change. All modules have been designed for delivery as university-based for students able to attend full-time or part-time and where we can offer appropriate work-related experience via established links through key academic staff at Reaseheath College. The aims, learning outcomes and content for both forms of study are identical, with a core emphasis on the development of students’ cognitive, key and professional skills, and the application of academic knowledge and understanding in equinework settings.
All students will go through initial screening and diagnostic testing during induction to assess their current academic level and also identify any learning difficulties. Where learning difficulties are suspected, students will be referred to HEST for further testing and allocation of required support. In addition practical skills audits will be completed to assess students practical equine handling experience and skill.
Full-time and part-time students attending college will encounter a broad range of teaching and learning experiences across all levels of study as befits the subject matter. Methods of teaching and learning are indicated clearly in each module descriptor and the list below describes the variety of approaches used by tutors.
These feature in most modules as an effective way of imparting important content, themes and pointers for further study. They will be used to set a framework for further study and inform students of the value of the discipline. Lectures will aim to be interactive and student focussed and will in themselves encompass a variety of classroom based activities. They will be further supplemented by a range of other methods of teaching and learning as described below.
The majority of modules at Levels 4 and 5 include practical classes. These provide the opportunity for students to develop their practical skills (e.g. handling animals and equipment, undertake husbandry requirements, interpreting equine gait and biomechanics, developing training and rehabilitation techniques). An important aspect of practical work is the opportunity for students to engage in group work thus encouraging working with others. These practical skills are seen as essential for the credibility of the programme and employability of the students.
Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)
The University has a VLE (Portal/Moodle)available to all students on or off campus. This offers access to a wide range of facilities including Learning Resources, the Library and all modular support materials. Staff are committed to using the VLE interface for making additional support materials available for students. This will be particularly important for part-time students who may be geographically diverse to ensure they have the same access to resources.
As reading is central to the process of knowledge acquisition in higher education, module tutors provide reading lists to guide their students to appropriate material. Increasingly, these lists include references to the Internet and electronic sources, as well as more traditional book and journal references. Primary reference lists, comprising key texts, can be found in the module descriptors, which form the centre point of any module. Additional reading is also provided in the module handbooks to promote further reading around the subject area. Reading has been designed to structure the students learning, developing from more accessible texts to clinical textbooks as the students progresses through the levels.
The QCA Key Skills document lists ‘working with others’ as one of the six categories of Key Skills that needs to be demonstrated in higher education. Throughout the programme, working with others has been incorporated at each level. In many modules, particularly in practical work or the laboratory, students are encouraged to work in groups and to share ideas. The assessment in certain modules is based on group assignments.
In the main, teaching and learning activities take place on the campus. Timetabling is arranged centrally, except for individual tutorials. There is some flexibility for students to change groups for laboratory classes and group tutorials to suit part-time students and those who have family commitments or transport difficulties. This is in accordance with the University's widening access and participation strategy. It is possible for all students to access support materials at home via the ‘Sharepoint Portal'.
In line with benchmarking and the Department's Learning, Teaching and Assessment Strategy, the need for students to become effective as independent learners is planned for and encouraged. The programme structures its learning outcomes so that this will happen progressively across the programme.
The University's over-arching level-related criteria are a key reference when designing modular assessments. Therefore, progression towards more complex and involved assessments, that require greater levels of study autonomy and greater levels of critical analysis, underpins the overall assessment strategy of the programme.
In addition, all students who pass any part of a degree are expected to possess such basic skills as the ability to make use of numerical and statistical information; the ability to locate internet sites from given web addresses; the ability to send and receive e-mail messages; the ability to use basic software packages such as Word; the ability to perform basic searches on standard electronic retrieval systems, and the ability to write legibly. Students who succeed at Level 4 and above should be able to construct an essay using correct grammar, spelling and referencing according to the American Psychological Association (APA) system of referencing.
In the preparation of coursework, which can include essays, laboratory/practical exercises and presentation, students are given time and scope to present their work in a variety of modes, particularly where an examination would be inappropriate. However, the institutions are aware that examinations have an important role to play in summative assessment, and give academic credibility to the degree programme.
The programme uses a wide range of forms of assessment including:
Essays and written assignments - testing the ability to write within word limits, convey ideas with clarity and accuracy, reference to an academic standard and the ability to conduct private study and research
Reports - covering a variety of structured styles, to summarise findings from investigations, reflect on practical activities or discuss approaches to case study
Oral presentations - testing presentation skills, the ability to discuss issues with clarity and respond to questions
Practical tests and oral questioning – demonstrating skill acquirement and application of knowledge and theories
Dissertation - testing the ability to conduct individual primary research and communicate ideas and information effectively in an academic manner and within word limits
Portfolio - testing the ability to acquire key survey and census skills, analyse data and present material in a clear, effective manner
Short-based seminar exercises
Reading of academic texts and discussion exercises
Close analysis of texts
Online multiple-choice and short answer exams
Specific details of the programme of assessment, according to module, can be found in the matrix below.
Formative assessment and feedback
All students receive written comments on assessed components of work and additional feedback on the work is given more informally by individual tutors during group workshops and one-to-one tutorials. Additionally, some tutors have adopted the use of GradeMark software by which to provide more timely feedback to students. Formative feedback is an important and essential component of all taught modules. The nature of the assessment and feedback varies from module to module. Formative feedback is staggered throughout the year. The programme also makes use of on-line formative feedback in the form of electronic marking and self-evaluation forms.
Reassessment will address the learning outcomes of the failed components. For modules forming part of programmes in the Department of Biological Sciences, reassessment will normally take the form of the resubmission of all failed component(s) of the modular assessment. Here students will be expected to resubmit the coursework or re-sit the exam in its original format, albeit using a different perspective or suite of questions.
It is intended that graduates of the FdSc Equine Physical Therapies and Rehabilitation will have:
Knowledge and understanding of the application of ethology, physiology, training techniques and research methods to the management of horses.
Ability to apply academic knowledge and techniques to practical solutions in equine establishments.
Skills of academic enquiry to generate potential solutions to problems in equine physical therapy and rehabilitation skills to critically evaluate these to arrive at solutions fitted to context.
An understanding of the limits of their knowledge, and how this influences analysis and interpretations based on that knowledge in equine work contexts.
Skills to effectively communicate information, arguments, and analysis, in written and oral form, to specialist and non-specialist audiences.
Confidence and transferable skills to undertake further training, develop existing skills and acquire new competencies that will enable them to assume responsibility within equine organisations.
Knowledge, understanding and skills to progress onto the BSc (Hons) Equine Science programme.
Knowledge and understanding of the physical and behavioural needs of horses in a wide range environments and roles
The programme will serve as a unique platform by which to project graduates of this programme onto further study at undergraduate level, or alternatively into employment within the industry. Beyond developing core generic skills in time management, project design and implementation, communication and team work, students undertaking study on this programme will have a unique opportunity to develop industry-specific skills, primarily through the practical application of theory via utilising the horses and specialised facilities at Reaseheath College. In addition, students will engage with relevant information technology and other tools to enhance their general skills. Thus, the combination of subject theory and its practical applications will stand students in good stead for employment within the sector.
Careers in the equine industry typically fall into the following roles:
Further study at level 6 in an equine-related subject area
Welfare centres where practical rehabilitation skills are required
Setting up as a sole trader in equine rehabilitation livery services at a suitable premises or freelance work.
Both Reaseheath College and the University of Chester are committed to the active promotion of equality of opportunity. Both institutions seeks to ensure that no student is disadvantaged or discriminated against on the grounds of: gender; age; marital or parental status; sexual orientation; racial group (race, colour, nationality, ethnicity or national origins); creed (religious, political or personal beliefs or principles); membership or non-membership of a trade union; and socio-economic background. It also aims to ensure that disabled people and those with special needs do not suffer unfair discrimination, and that they are enabled to achieve their full potential as students. The ultimate objective of the programmes delivery is to ensure all aspects of delivery are open to all sections of society and in whose activities all students can participate to the best of their ability. This programme is designed to ensure inclusivity and the diverse needs of our students are provided for. At a departmental level all programmes are developed and delivered with the following aspects in mind:
Admission requirements are clearly set out in promotional materials and due consideration is given to a policy of widening access, participation, diversity and equality.
Each module and programme is developed in line with University policy to both promote equality and diversity and encourage all students in the development of their learning.
There is flexibility in materials and delivery of teaching to support students with disability or from culturally diverse backgrounds and the Department works closely with Learning Support in delivering this support through Learning Support Plans.
The induction week activities are designed to integrate all students both academically and socially and to make academic staff aware of any issues. Students are made aware of avenues of support if they a have any issues regarding diversity and equality.
Supportive formative exercises are presented in modules in the first year to give all students an equal chance of succeeding.
Assessments are designed to afford equal opportunity to all students to display their knowledge and skills. The introduction of anonymous marking also enhances equal opportunity, fairness and independence to all students.
In order to ensure that the needs of all students are met any barriers to access (physical, environmental and curriculum) are identified and removed or reasonable adjustments will be made based on requirements.
All learning materials and teaching and learning sessions are designed to be free from racist, sexist and other discriminatory assumptions and practices.
All lecturers are aware of diversity issues and discharge their roles with knowledge and sympathy and all students are made aware of both institutional Department structures to discuss issues should a concern arise.
Reaseheath College offers specific support for students with specified learning needs, encompassing all physical abilities, in conjunction with the Higher Education Support Team (HEST) on campus. In collaboration with student support services, and safeguarding task groups, the college's equality and diversity policy aims to ensure that all students and all members of staff at the College have equality of opportunity and are treated solely on the basis of their aptitude, ability and potential to pursue a course of study or to fulfil the requirements of a job. The policy also aims to eliminate discrimination, which is unlawful or unfair.
The college has established HE provisions and in the recent QAA HER performance achieved the following judgements:
The maintenance of the threshold academic standards of the awards offered on behalf of degree-awarding bodies meets UK expectations
the quality of student learning opportunities is commended
the quality of the provider’s information about learning opportunities meets UK expectations
the enhancement of student learning opportunities is commended
Of the 7 recognised areas of good practice, the following have particular relevance to this programme:
The management and use of long-term strategic relationships with external stakeholders to enhance the student experience. (A5, B1, B3, B4, Enhancement)
The systematic approach to providing work-based learning opportunities of quality and relevance to students and to the College’s mission. (B3, B4, B10, Enhancement)
The college has dedicated resources for HE students, including an HE centre consisting of lecture rooms, computer suites, quiet study areas and a social area including a café. All students will have access to the college VLE, which will be particularly important for distance learners. There are plans to further expand this facility due to growth of student numbers. In addition, HE students have access to the Higher Education Support Team, which provides specialist academic and pastoral support to meet the needs of HE learners. Students have the opportunity to live on campus, in 18+ halls of residence. These are fully wardened and were graded Outstanding by Ofsted for Care Standards. The college also has good recreational and social facilities available to all students, including, gym, sports hall, sports fields, canteen, cafes and the Student Union bar.
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