Edge Hill University has been a champion of Widening Participation since its establishment in 1885 as the country’s first women’s non-denominational teacher training college. Since this time, the theme of opportunity for all has remained a key component of the institution’s vision and is embedded throughout its activities.
Edge Hill’s consistent efforts to widen access have led to being recognised as a Top Two University in the UK for Social Mobility based on its success in developing a broad range of students to achieve graduate jobs.
Edge Hill has an outstanding track record in Widening Participation, being a major provider of higher education for a diverse student body including
- mature students
- first generation students
- students from low income families
- students from low participation neighbourhoods.
The University continues to make a significant and distinctive contribution to widening participation through a coordinated strategy of advice and guidance, targeted support, research and provision of entry routes.
The University provides a package of targeted support to applicants and students, aimed at ensuring that individuals with the capacity to benefit from higher education can come to university, stay at university and take advantage of opportunities while they study.
Enabling Access Edge Hill’s highly successful Fastrack access programmes provide a free entry route for people lacking the necessary qualifications, study skills and confidence to enter higher education directly.
Retention Research It is widely recognised across the sector that retaining students once enrolled on their degree is one of the most significant barriers to widening participation. Liz Thomas, Professor of Higher Education at Edge Hill University, directed the What works? Student retention and success programme on behalf of the Higher Education Funding Council for England. This research has informed national policies from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) to the Cabinet Office and the National Union of Students (NUS). The 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) recognised the impact of this research, with the project assessed as having a four-star ranking indicating ‘world leading’ impact.