This course has passed.


Widening participation is a priority for the higher education sector. This year HEFCE introduced the new National Collaborative Outreach Programme, with funding set at £60 million per annum.

To access new funding opportunities, universities must develop an effective and overarching widening participation strategy statement. This includes widening access, supporting retention and ensuring progression and success for all students.

On this Widening Access and Participation in Higher Education course, led by Dr Graeme Atherton, Director at NEON, delegates will learn how to overcome the practical challenges to widening participation in their organisation.

Through best practice case studies and interactive workshops, delegates will gain practical advice on implementing an effective access program, learn how to increase the retention and attainment of students from key target groups and develop an action plan for creating a comprehensive Widening Participation strategy in their university.

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Learning Outcomes

  • Explore latest policy, the NCOP and the new funding arrangements for widening participation
  • Utilise data to widen participation among key target groups
  • Learn from best practice how to increase access through effective outreach programmes
  • Develop strategies to support struggling students and improve retention rates
  • Gain tips for implementing a holistic WP strategy in your university
All the Understanding ModernGov courses are Continuing Professional Development (CPD) certified, with signed certificates available upon request for event.

Enquire About In-House Training

To speak to someone about a bespoke training programme, please contact us:
0800 542 9414
[email protected]


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09:15 - 09:45


09:45 - 10:00

Chair's Welcome and Clarification of Learning Objectives

10:00 - 10:45

Widening Participation in Higher Education: Delivering on the Outcomes Agenda

  • Examine latest evidence on differential outcomes
  • Identify what policies are in place to support reducing differential outcomes and how they can support practice
  • Identify key principles and challenges of creating a lifecycle approach to WP
  • Hear perspectives on what a strategic approach to widening access across the student lifecycle constitutes
10:45 - 11:00

Morning Break

11:00 - 12:00

Widening Access to Higher Education

  • Learn from latest practice on implementing institutional outreach and maximising the opportunities provided by the NCOP
  • Explore how to work with schools and colleges to raise attainment and support progression into HE
  • Share ideas on using and data from UCAS, HESA and OFFA to enhance wider access
  • Gain tips in continuing engagement and fair access throughout the whole student lifecycle
12:00 - 12:45

Supporting Retention and Success –Examining Leading Practice

  • Learn about strategies to support specific groups of students including those from lower socio-economic backgrounds, BAME and disabled students
  • Look at how data is being used to monitor and analyse student achievement and stimulate change
  • Examine latest evidence based practice to enhance ‘student belonging’
  • Ensure all student services are able support student retention and success
  • Gain tips on developing curricula and teaching which recognises that students learn in different ways
12:45 - 13:30


13:30 - 14:45

Case study: Establishing a life-cycle WP strategy

  • Examine leading practice on developing a cohesive WP strategy that links access, retention and progression of students
  • Explore creating an inclusive strategy, which includes staff, students and other stakeholders
  • How to devise an assessment tool to ensure continue improvement for students
  • Share ideas on establishing progression plans with students to enable career and academic progression
  • Gain tips on creating a university-wide strategy to embed employability and academic progression targeted at students from widening access backgrounds
  • Ensure all student services effectively contribute to the WP strategy
14:45 - 16:00

Create an effective life-cycle WP strategy

  • Explore how to develop a cohesive widening participation strategy
  • Analyse the barriers to realising improvements in WP and how to overcome them
  • Explore practical examples in to WP ensuring access, retention and success for students
  • Identify areas for improvement in your organisation’s WP strategy
  • Produce next steps action plan for implementing a holistic WP strategy in your institution
16:00 - 16:15

Feedback, Evaluation & Close


etc. Venues – Prospero House, London

241 Borough High St, London, SE1 1GA