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  HEFCE

March 2003/09
Core funding/operations
Report on strategies and action plans

This report is for information


Review of 2001 widening participation strategies and action plans from HEIs

In May 2001 we asked higher education institutions to submit full three-year strategies and action plans for widening participation (see HEFCE 01/29). This document provides an overview of those strategies and plans, and shows the development which has taken place since 1999, when institutions submitted initial strategic statements of their approach to widening participation.


To: Heads of HEFCE-funded higher education institutions
Heads of universities in Northern Ireland
Of interest to those responsible for: Widening participation, corporate planning
Reference: 2003/09
Publication date: March 2003
Enquiries to: John Selby or Jennifer Newman
tel 0117 931 7343 or 0117 931 7441
e-mail j.selby@hefce.ac.uk or j.newman@hefce.ac.uk

Executive summary (read on-line)


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Executive summary

Purpose

1.    In May 2001 (HEFCE 01/29) we asked higher education institutions to submit full three-year strategies and action plans for widening participation (WP). This document provides an overview of those strategies and plans, and shows the development which has taken place since 1999, when institutions submitted initial strategic statements of their approach to WP.

2.    In addition to providing this overview of developments in the sector, which is of interest to policy-makers, the review will provide useful information for institutions as they monitor and revise their own strategies, providing a picture of the emerging patterns within the sector against which to benchmark their own work.

Key points

3.    Significant gains have been made in institutional approaches to WP. Areas that had been identified as weak in 1999 had all improved.

4.    Though there is evidence of a general improvement, there is still significant variation between institutions in the sophistication of their approaches to WP, with some excellent practice but with others taking a less strategic approach.

5.    The strategies are generally well integrated with the action plans, and there is considerable evidence of links between WP and other institutional strategies, particularly for learning and teaching.

6.    Two-thirds of the strategies show commitment to social inclusion, and nearly the same number focus on student success and retention.

Action required

7.    None: this report is for information.