|To:||Heads of HEFCE-funded higher education institutions
Heads of HEFCE-funded further education colleges
Heads of universities in Northern Ireland
Heads of non-HEFCE funded further education colleges in the FE sector
Selected national bodies
|Of interest to those responsible for:||Widening participation, Strategic planning, Research|
|Publication date:||January 2004|
|Enquiries to:||Sarah Howls
tel 0117 931 7073
1. This document invites comments on our draft widening participation (WP) and fair access research strategy.
2. This report includes a draft of the HEFCE widening participation and fair access research strategy. We now wish to consult formally on the strategy and would welcome responses from all organisations involved in widening participation activities in the HE sector before we publish a final version in July 2004.
3. The draft strategy sets out our broad priorities for research in widening participation to higher education. In particular it considers:
- our medium and long-term research priorities, not just short-term or ongoing work
- how we intend to improve the quality of research used by the Council
- how we will improve HEFCE's capacity for taking account of external research and for linking with other bodies with research interests.
4. The development of the draft strategy has been guided by three principles: the need to engage with and build on existing knowledge, the need to work in partnership, and the need to build capacity across the sector to both undertake and use WP research.
5. The draft strategy provides a summary of those areas within our strategy that we believe are of immediate priority. These are as follows:
- Costs of widening participation (see paragraphs 19, and 24-27).
- Evaluation of Aimhigher (see paragraphs 19 and 29).
- Aimhigher menu of depth and diversity evaluation (see paragraphs 19 and 29).
- Barriers to HE - literature review (see paragraphs 19, and 30-31).
- WP research facility (see paragraphs 19 and 65).
6. Two consultation seminars will be held in March (see paragraph 10). Early booking is advised as places are limited.
7. We invite responses to be sent to Sarah Howls at HEFCE, to arrive by Friday 23 April 2004.
8. We welcome comments on any aspect of the strategy. However, we would find it helpful if respondents frame their responses in terms of the following questions:
- Do you endorse the broad approach of the strategy? If not, what elements cause you concern and why?
- Overall, do you agree with the priorities for research we have suggested?
- More specifically, with regard to the proposed review of existing work on the barriers to higher education (HE), do you believe that this should be one of our priorities?
- Do you agree with the proposal for a widening participation research facility in principle? What should be our main considerations for such a resource? Would you like to be involved in the future consultation on the more detailed proposals?
- What are your views overall on the research we are either currently undertaking or intending to commission?
- What, from your viewpoint, are the main unresolved issues and associated risks to implementing this strategy?
9. Responses to this consultation should be sent to the HEFCE at the address below to arrive by Friday 23 April 2004:Sarah Howls
or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
10. We will hold two consultation seminars in March 2004:
- Manchester, 24 March at the Renaissance Hotel
- London, 26 March at One Great George Street
The seminars will be most relevant to those who have responsibility for developing and implementing WP policy in higher education, WP practitioners and researchers. Places are limited. If you wish to attend send an e-mail to the address below indicating which seminar you would prefer to attend. Confirmation of your registration will be e-mailed to you.