What is widening participation in the context of Higher Education?
Widening participation aims to increase the number of people entering higher education from underrepresented groups. This is achieved by improving Access to higher education, Success within higher education and Progression from higher education into employment or further study.
For more information see the Office for Students information for students about tackling inequality
At the University Centre South Essex we believe that everyone regardless of their background or personal experience should have the opportunity to achieve their full academic potential along with gaining access to rewarding and meaningful careers.
Every year the University Centre South Essex carries out a program of widening participation activities aimed at reducing the barriers to education. We put students at the heart of what we do and are committed to creating an open inclusive community that supports and celebrates diversity.
Access to higher education
These projects work with underrepresented groups to encourage aspiration, by providing information, advice and guidance showing that higher education is achievable, and attainment, by helping individuals to develop their skills. Overall making it easier to access higher education.
Success in higher education
These projects support our current underrepresented students throughout their time at the University Centre, helping them to develop their skills and encourage a sense of community, so that they feel supported throughout their studies and ensure they achieve the most successful outcomes possible.
Progression to employment or further study
These projects aim to ensure that our underrepresented students are supported in their progression into further study or careers. We have a dedicated Careers team that supports students by providing personalised support and guidance.
Access and Participation Plans
The Access and participation plans set out in more detail how the University Centre South Essex will improve equality of opportunity for underrepresented groups to access, succeed in and progress from higher education. The Office for Students monitors access and participation plans to make sure that the providers honour the commitments they make to students in these plans.
University Centre South Essex’s plan
Download University Centre South Essex’s most current detailed plan, as approved by the Office for students, to recruit and support students from diverse backgrounds.
Ongoing evaluation and improvement
We gather evidence and evaluate for our widening participation activity to ensure it is having an impact and improving outcomes. The Widening Participation Officer leads on the evaluation agenda and works across the University Centre to build a good evidence base for Access, Success and Progression initiatives.
We keep up-to-date on national research and best practice, engaging with a range of widening participation organisations, including Make Happen, AccessHE, and NEON; and analyse a range of data such as admissions, schools, UCAS, to inform our strategy. Additionally we use the Higher Education Access Tracker (HEAT) to collect, track and evaluate the Widening participation data.
Get in touch
If you would like to find out more information or get involved please contact the Widening Participation Officer firstname.lastname@example.org