Widening Participation Mindmap

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  • What is it?
    • Widening Participation
      • Progress on WP
        • 49% of English Under-30s entered H.E in 2017, BUT 13 University of Oxford colleges made NO offers at all to BME students between 2010 - 2015
          • Class is still an important factor as only 20% of UK 18 year olds from the poorest background went to H.E in 2017, up from 11%. Still, these numbers are abysmal as its only 20%, when the entirety was 49%
            • Stephen Ball - The Education Debate
              • The Middle class have to give up their privilege to allow for equity (but they won't)
              • Middle class have the knowledge & the capital required to negotiate the system (embedded or contingent choosers)
              • Stephen Gorard - it's about educational attainment & there can be no fair access, unless you have free access
        • LPN students tend to attend Polytechnics due to lower grade requirements etc.
          • UK wide - 11.4% LPN students attend H.E, with 90% arriving from state schools
            • Direct Medicine degree = 74% from state schools
              • This suggests that state-school attendees tend to veer toward more vocational degrees
            • Education degrees = 97.4% from state schools
              • This suggests that state-school attendees tend to veer toward more vocational degrees
          • Does attending a Russell Group or Post 92' Polytechnic improve your employment chances?
            • Russell group graduate = earnings boost between 3% - 6%
            • Post 92' Polytechnic = lower graduate quality (Guardian)
      • Key Theoretical concepts
        • Access
          • Overcoming barriers
            • Inclusion
              • Understanding
                • Raising Awareness
                  • Appropriate Advice
                    • Expectations
                      • Ease of entry
                        • 2017 UCAS End of Cycle report does indicate a lowering of entry standard, and UCAS also reports that the lowering of entry standards was most pronounced in higher and medium-tariff institutions. Lower-tariff institutions have actually increased their entry standards in the past five years
          • Office for students: 'pre-entry activity to support students from disadvantaged backgrounds to enter H.E
        • Diversity
          • State schools?
            • LPNs?
              • Socio-economic classification?
                • Celebrating difference & changing practice?
                  • The better education that these high attaining students would receive in less selective institutions is likely to be co-created by their own contribution to the learning process (Blackman, 2017)
                    • The mixed-tariff, all-inclusive university benefits from both. It is more likely to drive social mobility and its graduates are more likely to be able to work in diverse teams to solve problems, make decisions and improve productivity. They could help make our society not only more tolerant of difference but welcome difference as enriching economically, socially and culturally (Blackman, 2017)
        • Equity
          • Different support arrangements to reach goals
            • Fair Access
              • In their study, Reay, David, and Ball (2005, 143) found that some students, particularly those who were ‘time poor’, cited prospectuses as the only source of information in the choice-making process. It is suggested that these documents, and by implication the discourses and tone they draw upon, are therefore likely to impact upon the decisions that some students make about whether to apply to particular universities (Graham, 2013)
              • English universities currently spend £355m each year on bursaries to student groups who are under-represented in higher education. However, there is little evidence to suggest that this investment has had any meaningful impact on patterns of student demand (Harrison et al., 2012)
              • There was also growing concern about the extent to which access to elite universities was fair. These institutions were increasingly viewed as socially exclusive and dominated by those who had attended fee-paying schools (Sutton Trust 2000).
                • This was interpreted by government as a ‘problem’ with applicants from state schools, who were less likely to apply to these universities even if qualified to do so(Department for Education and Skills 2003a)
                  • Financial aid
                    • Out of this diversity were born the post-2006 bursaries, which amount to approximately £355 million per year (Of?ce For Fair Access 2009)
                      • Given free rein to create their own schemes with unique awarding criteria, universities have not held back, with 300 to 350 schemes in existence (Harrison, Baxter and Hatt 2007; Callender 2010)
                        • Means-tested – the most common, this includes the £300 statutory bursary, but also a wide variety of extensions to this, ranging up to £5000
                        • Geographical – offered to students living near the university, from low participation neighbourhoods or entering through ‘compact’ arrangements with local schools or colleges
                        • Group-based – targeted at groups felt to be under-represented in the university’s student body
                        • Academic – with criteria aimed to attract high achievers or students into hard to-?ll courses
                    • The 'market' for bursaries
                      • There is a confusing array of bursaries on offer, and it is unreasonable to expect the average applicant to engage with this in depth (National Union of Students 2008).
                        • 'Elite' Universities can offer larger bursaries, which in effect lowers their price, despite high course demand. Which represents an ironic reversal of the neo-classical market
                          • In essence, it is the most able students within the lower income group who are able to obtain the largest bursaries, not those with the greatest need (Callender 2010). Which causes issues for an equitable society
                      • Student choice and finance
                        • Of?ce For Fair Access (2010, 2), which concludes that ‘the introduction of bursaries has not in?uenced the choice of university for disadvantaged young people’, and that ‘applications from disadvantaged young people have not changed in favour of universities offering higher bursaries’
                          • Wider participation
                            • Evidence from the US and elsewhere does indicate that bursaries do inherently increase one's intentions to attend H.E
                              • Despite this, participation was already widening prior to the introduction of bursaries, so attesting increase in likeliness to attending H.E due to bursaries is a fallacy
                          • Fairer access
                            • There is no evidence from sector-wide data to suggest that the post-2006 bursaries have caused a shift in application patterns between universities. However,  evidence exists to say that bursaries are increasingly being routed into schemes designed to improve the university’s standing rather than improving equality(Harrison et al., 2012)
                              • This is in contrast to Callender et al., (2009), whereby they view students as being 'cost-sensitive' and the bursaries offered by Russell Group Universities has shifted application patterns from lower socio-economic groups
                • Is H.E selective?
                  • It is regarded as normal and preferable that a young person who does achieve top grades at school should avoid the universities that are less selective
                    • Almost all universities are based on the opposite principle: academic selection and stratification by ability into different types of institution. As such, this attracts little policy debate
                      • The TEF framework assessment has been introduced to rank teaching quality at Universities. Some Russell groups that opted into such measure ranked at Silver, whereas some Post 92' Polytechnics ranked as Gold. This measurement isn't expected to hold sway over one's University choices, but it does represent an interesting factor.
      • Selective Ability
        • Structural inequality experienced by Oxbridge, whereby students who attend prestigious schools, and hail from affluent families make up the overwhelming majority of their student body
        • Post 92' Polytechnics were meant to answer the selection by ability concet, but in reality they haven't. The reason being is that they are increasingly modelling their outlook on selective Universities
          • Only The Open University established itself as a non-selective university, but with a distinctive part-time, adult education model that presents particular challenges for student retention
      • Class Divides
        • Students who attend 'hyper-selective' Russell Group Universities are more likely to be taller, more expensively dressed, and have more 'refined' accents
          • Students who attend the Post 92' Polytechnics are more likely to be shorter, more cheaply dressed, and have noticeable local accents
            • These are generalising their respective student bodies, but as Pierre Bourdieu described it as a 'habitus' between different institutions, where these factor amalgamate to social class are visible
              • This is evidenced by the attendees to H.E from social classes 4-7 as provided by OFS: The large range is immediately apparent, with just 10 per cent of the intake at Oxford and Cambridge from classes 4 to 7 compared to 58 per cent at Bradford
                • As Blanden, Gregg, and Machin (2005) observe, “The expansion of higher education since the late 1980s has so far disproportionately benefited those from more affluent families” (p. 3).
                  • While working-class young people (National Statistics Socio-economic Classification Classes 4, 5, 6 and 7) make up nearly half of their age-group they comprise less than 30% of the cohort of young people going into higher education (HE) (Higher Education Statistics Agency, 2008).
      • The Demand for H.E
        • Tuition Fees - trebled to 9k from the academic year of 2012/13 by the Coalition then to 9.25K in 2017
          • Despite the downturn of 40k students in academic year 12/13, they have risen to 534k in 2017. This suggests that students from socio-economic deprived backgrounds willingly attend H.E despite concerns of borrowing debts of over 50k
            • Student number caps were removed by the Coalition in 2013
              • Despite the Brexit result, and the over-estimation of 60k more applicants to UK Universities, it has to be said that some higher education institutions have notably increased their student intake. This is reflected in recent UCAS acceptance data, which show that high and particularly medium-tariff institutions have seen student numbers grow since 2013
                • But, the growth in student intakes at high and medium-tariff institutions has not, however, been without casualties. UCAS data also show that acceptances at low-tariff institutions have dropped considerably, reducing by five per cent alone since 2016. This suggests that student numbers could be in the process of being redistributed across the sector, as students seek to enter higher-tariff institutions, rather than growing exponentially
                  • Unconditional Offers
                    • UCAS data reveal that in 2017, there were 51,615 unconditional offers made, which represents a 40 per cent increase on the number made in 2016
                    • Degree apprenticeship - Conservative 2015 "we will create 3 million new apprenticeship schemes
                      • 11,600 in the first quarter of 2017/18 from 10,100 in the same quarter a year previously. Despite the small numbers this form of entry to H.E represents an interesting option for those who may not have considered H.E studies previously
    • Encouraging under-represented groups to take part in education beyond A-Levels & other Level-3 qualifications in the UK
      • The term "under-represented groups" refers to those who are disproportionately represented within their population share in attendance to H.E
        • Under-represented groups according to Office for Students (to name a few):
          • People from low income backgrounds
          • People from lower socio-economic groups/areas where H.E participation is low
          • BME groups
          • Learning difficulties - disabilities
          • Carers & Care leavers
    • What is it NOT?
      • Expansion - merely increasing attendance numbers
      • Encouraging gifted & talented children in state schools to attend H.E
    • A central tenet of the Labour government’s widening participation policy was a desire to increase to 50% the number of 18–30 year olds who participated in higher education (Labour Party 2001). This ran alongside a commitment to opening up higher education to more diverse groups of British students (Department for Education and Skills [DfES] 2003a, 2003b)
  • 49% of English Under-30s entered H.E in 2017, BUT 13 University of Oxford colleges made NO offers at all to BME students between 2010 - 2015
    • Class is still an important factor as only 20% of UK 18 year olds from the poorest background went to H.E in 2017, up from 11%. Still, these numbers are abysmal as its only 20%, when the entirety was 49%
      • Stephen Ball - The Education Debate
        • The Middle class have to give up their privilege to allow for equity (but they won't)
        • Middle class have the knowledge & the capital required to negotiate the system (embedded or contingent choosers)
        • Stephen Gorard - it's about educational attainment & there can be no fair access, unless you have free access
  • Out of this diversity were born the post-2006 bursaries, which amount to approximately £355 million per year (Of?ce For Fair Access 2009)
    • Given free rein to create their own schemes with unique awarding criteria, universities have not held back, with 300 to 350 schemes in existence (Harrison, Baxter and Hatt 2007; Callender 2010)
      • Means-tested – the most common, this includes the £300 statutory bursary, but also a wide variety of extensions to this, ranging up to £5000
      • Geographical – offered to students living near the university, from low participation neighbourhoods or entering through ‘compact’ arrangements with local schools or colleges
      • Group-based – targeted at groups felt to be under-represented in the university’s student body
      • Academic – with criteria aimed to attract high achievers or students into hard to-?ll courses

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