Edge Hill University has been named in the top three nationally for widening participation, meaning it is successfully removing barriers commonly faced by students from lower income and other under-represented backgrounds.

The announcement was made today (Thursday 5th April) by the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) in a Policy Note written by Professor Iain Martin, which looked at each university’s success in widening participation

In the HEPI Policy Note Benchmarking widening participation: how should we measure and report progress?, Professor Martin proposes a potentially more effective measure of equity of participation rates which demonstrates graphically the most equal – and most unequal – HE institutions in the UK.

Dr John Cater, Vice-Chancellor of Edge Hill University said: “We have been a champion of widening participation since our establishment in 1885 as the country’s first women’s non-denominational teacher training provider. Since this time, the theme of opportunity for all has remained a key component of the institution’s vision and is embedded throughout our activities.

“We continue 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, which has been highlighted in Professor Martin’s analysis.”

Nick Hillman, Director of HEPI, added: “This analysis reveals which universities reflect our society best, and those which have further to travel. It remains surprisingly controversial with some people to suggest that our oldest universities should mirror our society more closely.”

Edge Hill has strong 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 and students from low participation neighbourhoods.

These consistent efforts to widen access led to it 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. (Social Mobility Graduate Index 2014).

Find out more about Widening Participation here.