Widening Access Widening Access at Strathclyde
What is Widening Access?
Widening Access (also known as Widening Participation) is a strategic priority for the University of Strathclyde, the Higher Education sector as a whole and the Scottish and UK governments.
The term refers to the removal of barriers for groups of students who are under-represented in Higher Education (HE). Such groups can include (but are not limited to) students:
- Who attended a school which traditionally sends a low proportion of pupils directly to university
- Living in the 40% most disadvantaged neighbourhoods, as identified by the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD)
- Who have spent time in local authority care
- Who are returning to education later in life (mature students)
- Who are estranged from their families (studying without family support)
- Who have caring responsibilities
Research and various studies suggest that individuals who fall into one or more of the above categories are statistically less likely to attend university. The University of Strathclyde works directly with groups of prospective students in schools, colleges and other settings to address this disparity. We aim to support students from the above groups and help them realise their full potential. We are also active in a number of other initiatives such as the Children's University and FOCUS West - for information on these and more, see our Getting Ready section.
The University is also deeply committed to Widening Access outreach work, and public and community engagement, delivering transformation impact to our local, national and global communities. You can read more about some of the activities which we offer at stages throughout the learner journey in our compendium:
Widening Access and Community Engagement at Strathclyde 2019
Our team consists of:
Stephanie Mckendry, Head of Access, Equality and Inclusion
Stephanie leads the Access, Equality and Inclusion Service and works with staff across the University and sector to drive the equality, inclusion and widening access agenda forward and support the University's commitment to attracting and retaining students from the widest range of backgrounds.
Amanda Baldwin, Director (FOCUS West)
Amanda is currently seconded as the Director of the FOCUS West programme until mid 2023.
Al Blackshaw, Widening Access Manager (Outreach & Partnerships)
During Amanda's secondment, Al is covering this position. He is the FOCUS West Programme Officer for Strathclyde with overall responsibility for the S3 and S5 elements, plus delivery of College Campus Day events. He is responsible for Project Mentors and leads activities involving current students in our Widening Access activities. Al is also the lead contact for college articulation partnerships at the University, and is the lead on admissions data for the team.
Anne Bowman, Widening Access Outreach Officer
Angie runs the S4 FOCUS West Focus on Four programme and delivers S2 events in-school. She is responsible for the Study Skills programme, as well as the Strathclyde Summer Experience for care-experienced young people. Angie also assists with student involvement in widening access activities.
Louise Martin, Senior Widening Access Support Officer
Louise focuses on support for current students from widening access backgrounds, particularly those who have spent time in care. She is also our Named Officer for Student Carers, providing support, guidance and advocacy for our students with caring responsibilities and for those estranged from their families.
Louise Meenan, Widening Access Administrator
Louise is the administrator for the team's work, particularly outreach activities including the FOCUS West and Accelerate programmes.
Iain Mitchell, Widening Access Manager (Student & Community Engagement)
Iain leads the Accelerate programme of summer activities and has overall responsibility for student involvement in access activities. He also runs the S3 FOCUS West University Campus Day progamme and has responsibility for the team's outreach work with looked after children.
Lauren White, Widening Access Support Officer
Lauren works aross the Access, Equality and Inclusion Service providing support for our current studetns along with supporting school outreach activities. She is the Named Contact for our Gypsy, Traveller, Roma, Showmen and Boater (GTRSB) students; and is also responsible for delivering events in partnership with the Brilliant Club and Glasgow Children's University.
Josh Whitelaw, Widening Access Outreach Coordinator