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:
Our team consists of:
Amanda Baldwin, Head of Access, Equality and Inclusion
Amanda 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.
Al is the FOCUS West Programme Lead for Strathclyde with overall responsibility for the University's delivery of our strand of the SFC-funded National Schools Programme. Al is also the team's lead for monitoring, reviewing and refreshing the University's approach to the use of contextual admissions; as well as being the lead contact for any data queries.
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.
Debbie Duncan, Senior Widening Access Support Officer
Debbie focuses on transition support for incoming students from some widening access backgrounds, as well as support for current students from designated cohorts. She is the first point of contact for any applicants who are care experience; works to support applicants/students from Armed Forces Families; and manages the Universities Digital Inclusion schemes.
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 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