Widening Access throughout the Student Lifecycle
Access to higher education (HE) by social background in England is profoundly unequal. These inequalities, however, are not confined to socio-economic background, nor just to entry into HE. Retention rates, degree outcomes, and post-HE employability all differ significantly by socio-economic background, gender, ethnicity and disability.
This collection brings together leading contemporary thought and research on how to address inequalities in participation in HE across the “student lifecycle”. It highlights a broad range of widening access practice, including chapters on financial support, mature students, pedagogy, part-time study and evaluation techniques.
In concluding, it argues that there is a need for widening access professionals, with an in-depth understanding of the learners with whom they work, operating at each stage of the students’ journey. This means that there is a crucial role for regional and national networks to enable these professionals to share practice and facilitate greater collaboration across the education sector to improve equality in higher education.
Dr Graeme Atherton studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Trinity College Oxford and has been working in the field of education research and management since 1995. After 6 years leading Aimhigher work in London, he founded and now leads both AccessHE and the National Education Opportunities Network (NEON) in the UK. Dr Atherton holds Visiting Professorships at London Metropolitan University and Sunway University, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He is a member of the European Access Network (EAN) Board and has produced over 120 conference papers, and publications.
Steve Kendall is the Chair of the Executive Committee of the National Education Opportunities Network (NEON), and has worked in widening access for more than thirty years, mainly at the University of Bedfordshire, UK. He now works independently to promote professional development, partnership and evidence-based practice among those working for wider participation in higher education.
Michael Naughton has worked for various NGOs aimed at increasing social mobility and human rights fulfilment. Since graduating from the London School of Economics with a Master’s degree in Philosophy and Public Policy, he has focussed on supporting widening participation in higher education in England.
Martin Webster has been working within widening access since 2001. In 2011, he helped to establish the National Education Opportunities Network (NEON), and later became its Operations Manager. He has regularly presented at conferences and spoken at other widening access events.
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