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The terms “widening access” and “widening participation” refer to the activity undertaken by institutions to develop and support the aspirations and attainment of students from different social groups who may not normally consider higher education as an option or are under-represented within higher education.

Our work with students and the support we have on offer is a key part of Edge Hill University’s Access and Participation Plan commitments.

When working with students pre-entry, we run stand-alone events and extended outreach programmes to support students’ aspirations and knowledge development around Higher Education (HE). For students in sixth form or college, we can offer bespoke 121 or small group sessions designed to support students during the HE application process. Additionally, Edge Hill University runs a two-year Widening Access to Medicine programme, designed to support local students from state schools.

Our Widening Access and Participation team also work with three regional Uni Connect partnerships; Shaping Futures, Future U and Hello Future. These Uni Connect hubs were created to offer impartial advice, guidance and activities to young people and supporters. New outreach hubs have been established to help teachers and advisors find impartial information about the outreach activity available in their local areas.

A student sat with a staff member in a Catalyst meeting room. They are reviewing paperwork together whilst talking.

Once students have progressed and started at Edge Hill, our Widening Access and Participation (WP) team offers on-course support via our THRIVE programme. This programme aids with the transition into university and enhances students’ experiences at Edge Hill. The THRIVE programme includes a THRIVE coach who can offer professional developmental support to students, early access to university events, and the opportunity to be part of a dedicated network which is supported by many of our university support teams.

The WP team and THRIVE coaches can also support students to apply for employment opportunities on campus including student ambassador roles. They can also support students in getting involved with our Student Advisory Panels, which encourage students to share their experiences with the University to help influence positive change within the institution.

Support groups

Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic students
Care experienced and estranged students
Gypsy, Roma, Traveller, Showman and Boatmen students
Mature students
Students eligible for free school meals
Students from military families or military leavers
Students living with a disability or mental health condition
Students who are the first in their family to attend Higher Education
Students who have caring responsibilities
Students with refugee status or asylum seekers

Further support

We give priority to students from low Higher Education participation neighbourhoods (POLAR quintiles 1 or 2), students who have been eligible for pupil premium and free school meals, and those who will be the first generation of their family to progress into Higher Education on our bespoke pre-16 activity days.

For more information about the support we offer students and any activities and programmes we run, please get in touch with our dedicated team. They will be happy to assist you in your journey to Higher Education.