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Reframing widening participation towards the community: a realist evaluation

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This article draws on an evaluation of Go Higher West Yorkshire (GHWY) Uni Connect – an initiative by the Office for Students (OfS) to reduce educational inequalities through collaborative widening participation (WP) outreach across West Yorkshire. It contributes to wider debates on widening participation policy through demonstrating how Higher Education Progression Officers (HEPOs) normalised 'progression' based on community and learners' needs. We deploy realist evaluation to examine the role of HEPOs in a range of educational contexts where young people historically do not progress on to higher education (HE) at the same rates as their peers when GCSE results are taken into account. While there are complexities around the introduction of WP resources in such communities, the article highlights the importance of contextualised WP, and offers a new model of community-focused WP that incorporates learners' needs, educational institutions and the wider community space in which they reside.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2020

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  • The journal is based on the belief that there are neglected links between research and theory, and policy and practice in the promotion of widening participation in post-compulsory education and lifelong learning. It aims to provide a forum for the development of theory, the addressing of policy questions and the dissemination of innovative practice in the field of widening participation and lifelong learning.
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