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This paper, which is situated within a discourse of inclusivity, is concerned with Higher Education's response to the needs of groups, such as working class adults with negative experiences of school, who are currently excluded from higher education throughout Europe. It argues, using illustrations from a case study, that there are a variety of organizational and pedagogical implications that must be addressed if participation is to be widened which relate to both individual ability and attitude and to institutional and situational barriers. It concludes that all universities have conceptions of equity which reflect ideological positions and influence the practice that is seen as acceptable. The dilemma facing those committed to social inclusion is that too much emphasis on the structural can imply that the efforts of individual students are of little consequence in determining success or failure. It is argued that a counter-balancing position is needed in which, whilst acknowledging the contribution of the student, course managers and institutions build structures to challenge the negative effects of inequality.