You are here

Third in the country for widening participation

12 Feb 2018 11:15AM

The University of Suffolk has been recognised for its work on social mobility by being ranked third in the country by the Higher Education Statics Agency (HESA) 2016/17– the highest ranked university in the south with only Teeside University and the University of Sunderland with comparable data.

HESA looked at the data for full-time students under 21 years old entering university for the first time from traditionally low participation areas. The University of Suffolk is committed to supporting and encouraging students in aspiring to higher education, successfully completing their course, and progressing into employment or postgraduate study.

Vice-Chancellor Richard Lister said, “As a community impact university, we were originally created to provide higher education to the people of Suffolk - one of the few counties previously without an independent university. Whilst our reach has grown, we remain committed to working with the local community to ensure that both young and mature students alike are aware of the opportunities for studying at degree level on their doorstep. The University is proud to be playing an important role in increasing the participation rate of young people in Suffolk and across the east of England. We are delighted to be recognised as the most socially transformative university in the south of the UK.”

In its Annual Report on Access Agreements 2018-19, the Office for Fair Access (OFFA) found that the higher education sector has increased activity to improve access, success and progression of students under-represented in higher education, including young white males, students from Black or Minority Ethnic backgrounds, mature students, and those with disabilities. The University of Suffolk’s Access Agreement specifically addresses activity with these groups, including plans to develop new projects that build on the existing work that we do. The University is currently running projects in 2017-18 to increase attainment of young people in Suffolk, and will be continuing to grow the activity undertaken specifically for young people with disabilities, such as our popular annual two-day taster event, amongst a wide range of other outreach activity.

Richard Lister added, “The University of Suffolk continues to be a beacon of aspiration for people across Suffolk and the east of England. We are proud of our diverse community of students, based in Ipswich and across our network of Partner Colleges. Every university in the country is required to undertake an element of outreach work, and as the recent HESA table shows, widening participation is in the DNA of the University of Suffolk, and is already having a positive impact on local communities and the lives of those individuals who study with us.”

Widening participation at the University of Suffolk has been strengthened further by a Government initiative to encourage more young people into higher education and degree apprenticeships.

Ten Higher Education Champions (HEC’s) have been appointed to work in schools and colleges throughout Suffolk as part of the NEACO (Network for East Anglian Collaborative Outreach) Project which is part of the Government’s £120 million National Collaborative Outreach Programme (NCOP).

Areas which have low progression to higher education are being supported by a Higher Education ‘Champion’ (HEC) based in a school or college in their local area. Their role is to promote the idea of progression on to university as a viable option to students in Years 9-13, from specific targeted groups and to raise attainment to enable this.

NEACO is a partnership between the region’s five higher education institutions (The University of Suffolk, University of East Anglia, Anglia Ruskin University, Norwich University of the Arts and The University of Cambridge) and 8 further education colleges that also provide higher education.


University of Suffolk Press Office
T: 01473 338476