Strategies for widening participation in higher education
A guide to good practice
This good practice guidance has been informed by an analysis of the initial widening participation statements undertaken by Professor Geoff Layer and John Storan (HEFCE 01/36a), and an analysis of learning and teaching strategies undertaken by Professor Graham Gibbs (HEFCE 01/37a). Both analyses are available on the web. A summary of the widening participation analysis is given within both HEFCE 01/29 and HEFCE 01/36.
Section one: Widening participation strategies
Preparation of widening participation strategies
Section two: The student life-cycle
Section three: Student success
Section four: Support for institutions from the HEFCE
Annex A: Widening participation policy context
The HEFCEs widening participation policy
Annex B: Summary analysis of initial strategic statements
1. Following the submission of institutions initial statements on widening participation and learning and teaching strategies, the Council commissioned an analysis of the documentation submitted. The Action on Access team which coordinates the Councils widening participation activities undertook the analysis of the widening participation statements, whilst the Teaching Quality Enhancement Fund (TQEF) National Coordination Team undertook the analysis of the learning and teaching strategies. These analyses have identified examples of different approaches and of good practice, which may be helpful to institutions as they develop their strategies.
2. We recently held two seminars which addressed the relationship between widening participation, learning and teaching, and strategic planning. (Presentations from the seminars will be published shortly on the web-site under Learning and teaching.) In recognition of these relationships and in order to enable a coordinated approach we have therefore commissioned this and a companion guide on learning and teaching, which draw on some of the good practice identified. We will also publish the full analyses on our web-site.
3. We intend to issue further, more detailed, guidance in spring 2002 using case studies to show examples of action plans and targets.
4. The companion guide for learning and teaching is published as HEFCE 01/37.
5. There is no single definition of widening participation and we have not tried to provide one. The guide uses the expression widening participation to denote activities to target the individual groups that HEIs have identified as under-represented and to ensure their success.
6. The guidance in both this and the companion guide builds on what is currently taking place, and what has been learnt by institutions, so as to share best practice. Institutions vary enormously and are at different stages of development of their strategies, and there is much to learn from each others experience. Brief case studies have been included from English higher education institutions, with contact details for further information. Most case studies relate to full-time undergraduate students but the approaches could also apply to part-time and postgraduate students.
7. The guide is structured in four main sections:
8. Further information on the policy context of the Councils widening participation strategy, particularly the Excellence Challenge, can be found in Annex A. A summary of the analysis of the initial statements on widening participation is at Annex B.
9. This guide has been written in conjunction with the Action on Access team. Both the team and the Council would like to thank all those who have provided case studies for inclusion in this guide.
10. All the publications mentioned in this guide can be downloaded from the HEFCE web-site www.hefce.ac.uk under Publications.
11. This report is for information and guidance.