What Drives Widening Participation Policy in the English Market?

MCCAIG, Colin and SQUIRE, Ruth (2022). What Drives Widening Participation Policy in the English Market? In: MCCAIG, Colin, SQUIRE, Ruth and RAINFORD, Jon, (eds.) The business of widening participation: policy, practice and culture. Emerald Publishing, 19-39.

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This chapter provides the context for understanding how English widening participation (WP) policy has interacted with the development of a marketised and expanding higher education (HE) system (the ‘dual imperative’ highlighted in the introductory chapter of this volume). It traces the intensification of market approaches in HE since 1997, examining how these interact with and become intertwined with evolving national WP policy concerns. Since 1997, WP for under-represented groups as a national policy aim has become firmly embedded in the activities undertaken by higher education providers (HEPs). Policy initiatives have moved between incentive and risk to encourage HEPs to address national and local inequalities of access and (later) student success and differential graduate outcomes. This chapter gives an overview of the key policy moments in this period and argues for how they have shaped the way in which the business of WP is enacted throughout the sector. It highlights how the business of WP drawn widely has become simultaneously a regulatory requirement, a way for institutions to differentiate themselves in the HE market and a key marker of institutional civic or social responsibilities. Situating this alongside the increasing focus on students and applicants as consumers, this chapter also begins to problematise the issues of collaboration and competition this creates.

Item Type: Book Section
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-80043-049-520221002
Page Range: 19-39
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 22 Dec 2022 11:10
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2023 17:46
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/31203

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