Widening access and improving participation
Widening access and improving participation in higher education means ensuring
that everybody who has the potential to benefit from higher education is given the
opportunity to do so.
(University of Glasgow, 2006: 2)
Values the idea that students should have access to educational opportunity on the
basis of talent and potential rather than race, religion, gender, sexuality, socio-
economic status, social group, disability or geographical area.
To facilitate reasonable adjustment to, and flexibility in, the methods of learning,
teaching and assessment for a diverse student body, that are likely to enhance
student success and improve student retention.
Implications for programme and course design
Consider how the design of the programme/course can prepare students for the
transition to higher education and support their retention
Where appropriate change teaching locations to ensure all students have access
Provide flexible learning opportunities
Enhance teaching through peer assisted learning (PAL) and student mentoring
Clearly articulate the graduate attributes you hope all students will demonstrate and
encourage all students to consider their relative strengths and areas for development
during their time at University.
Provide several teaching and assessment approaches (Liverpool JMU, 2003: 11)
Avoid a heavy reliance on one teaching and assessment approach or method
(Liverpool JMU, 2003: 11)
Provide on-going support within the curriculum (Liverpool JMU, 2003: 17)
Make appropriate adaptations to delivery to include particular student groups. For
example, provide handouts in advance on Moodle and in different formats (e.g.
Braille); include short breaks for interpreters to rest; use radio-microphone systems;
provide flexible/interrupted study for students with mental health difficulties (Hurst,
LearnHigher.com- see the section “learning for all - developing inclusive criteria”, University
University of Glasgow ‘Top-up’ Programme
University of Glasgow, Student Disability Service
University of Glasgow, Equality and Diversity Unit
University of Glasgow, Recruitment and International Office
University of Glasgow, Graduate attributes
Access to Excellence - Widening Participation at the University of Glasgow
Learning for All - LearnHigher.com
Teachability, (Resources for ensuring the curriculum is inclusive of people with disabilities).
University of Strathclyde.
Hurst, A. (2000) Designing curricula to enhance access for students with disabilities. Higher
Education Academy. Available:
Liverpool John Moores University (2003) Curriculum Design Guide Available:
University of Glasgow (GU) (2006) Access to Excellence: Widening Participation at the
University of Glasgow. Available: http://www.gla.ac.uk/media/media_10692_en.pdf