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Who Gains? Widening Participation and the ATP. Emma Stephenson Outreach Manager. In this session we will look at:. what WP is why it matters why it is so hard to achieve how HE helps and hinders.

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Who Gains?

Widening Participation and the ATP

Emma Stephenson

Outreach Manager


In this session we will look at:

  • what WP is
  • why it matters
  • why it is so hard to achieve
  • how HE helps and hinders

HEFCE report – Trends in young participation in higher education:core results for England ref:2010/03


What is WP?

The dumbing down of HE

Social engineering

Equality of access and opportunity in education


What is WP?

  • A work in progress:
  • To raise attainment and aspirations and to improve the understanding of higher education among those with the potential to benefit from HE but whose progression is less likely than that of others.
  • A working definition:
  • Increasing the number of students in higher education who come from groups that are currently under-represented in HE.

What is WP?

Evening up the playing field for:

  • Students with disabilities
  • Students from non-privileged backgrounds
  • Students from some ethnic minorities
  • Students who have been in public care
  • Students from poorly performing schools
  • Students from low-participation neighbourhoods

Increasingly there are two linked issues:

  • Widening Participation
  • Fair Access

How likely are you to go to a highly selective university?

State School Pupil on FSM

State School Pupil

Independent School Pupil


Why it matters

Education is the most powerful tool we have in achieving social justice.

John Denham Oct 2008


Why it’s so hard to achieve

  • Attainment
  • Aspirations
  • Advice
  • Report to the National Council for Educational ExcellenceIncreasing higher education participation amongst disadvantaged young people and schools in poor communities. (October 2008)

Why it’s so hard to achieve?

  • Attainment
      • •The early years are critical
      • 2/3 of pupils on FSM who are among the top 1/5 at 11 are not among the top 1/5 at GCSE
      • Independent school pupils account for a disproportionate number of entries and top grades in the core sciences and MFL at A-level.

Why it’s so hard to achieve?

  • Aspirations
      • •70% of 11-16 year olds say they are likely to go to HE.
      • Main reasons for not continuing learning post-16 are: to start earning, avoid debt, are frustrated or disillusioned with formal learning.
      • Disadvantaged students particularly are deterred from highly-selective institutions
      • Poorer students are less likely to get HE support from their peer groups and families.

Why it’s so hard to achieve?

  • Advice
      • Often poor and ill-timed.
      • Teachers often don’t have the expertise or knowledge
      • Poor standards of advice and guidance have a particularly negative impact on disadvantaged youngsters.
      • There are particular issues around pupils in 11-16 schools.

WP and the ATP

  • What?
    • - act as a good role model
    • - provide accurate information
    • - explore the realities of university life
    • - explore the elements that contribute to the decision to go (or not)
    • - allow your pupils to frame the questions
    • - sign post pupils to sources of information

WP and the ATP


To undertake some activities that will help raise aspirations and awareness of higher education among the target group.

Any thoughts?


WP and the ATP

Who goes where?

Why go to University?

Using tutorial time to raise aspirations

Game of Life


Listening to pupil voices

Making Choices



“Meeting the students was fun, they weren’t snobby and they speak the truth about university in our language.”

John aged 15