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     Widening Participation in HE Project:

Universal Access and Dual Regimes of Further and Higher Education (2006 - 2008)

This project has now completed. Major outputs include:


Gareth Parry (University of Sheffield)
Ann-Marie Bathmaker (University of Sheffield )
Greg Brooks (University of Sheffield)
David Smith (University of Leeds)


Project Summary

The division between further and higher education in England is long-standing. This project examined the impact of this separation on strategies to widen participation in undergraduate education. Does it advance or inhibit a broadening of participation, or is its influence otherwise neutral?

This influence was investigated at three levels:

•  At the system level, the findings of policy interviews and statistical studies will be compared with international evidence on analogous systems.

•  At the institutional level, a typology of dual sector organisations, partnerships and networks will be developed from an analysis of national datasets and a survey of further and higher education establishments.

•  At the level of learning and teaching, fieldwork conducted in four partner institutions will assess the significance and meaning of moving between further and higher education and between short-cycle and first-degree education.

A key element in the study was research collaboration and capacity-building with partner institutions. Small-scale longitudinal studies of students and interviews with managers and tutors involved regular visits to each institution over two years. The research team worked with four institution-based research associates, each seconded for one day a week.




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