UWE welcome performance indicators on widening participation

Issue date: 14 May 2010

UWE The latest figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) show a significant rise in the proportion of young full-time undergraduate entrants from low participation neighbourhoods (LPNs) at the University of the West of England.

Students from this group are up from 9.1% in 2007/08 to 9.4% in 2008/09. The result means that UWE is now only 0.6 percentage point adrift of the location adjusted benchmark of 10.0% for young full-time undergraduate entrants from LPNs.

Chris Croudace, Head of Widening Participation, said, “This is a strong achievement which reflects the considerable efforts the institution is making to reach out to young people from local communities and families with no tradition of higher education (HE) and encouraging them to see university as a realistic and worthwhile option. The performance is especially encouraging given that the proportion of young full-time undergraduate entrants from state schools and colleges fell to 88.8% in 2008/09, down from 89.2% the previous year.

“It is also pleasing to see a continuing positive trend in the proportion of mature full-time undergraduate entrants with no previous HE and from LPNs, up from 14.4% in 2007/08 to 16.6% in 2008/09. Many of these students will have entered UWE via the Access to HE pathway or be enrolled on UWE Federation programmes.”

Figures also show that 34.5% of UWE's young full-time undergraduate entrants came from lower socio-economic groups in 2008/09, against our location adjusted benchmark of 36.0%. So the gap between the socio-economic performance indicator and location adjusted benchmark has been narrowed to 1.5 percentage points. By way of comparison, the England average for the same year is 33.1%.

The proportion of undergraduate students in receipt of Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA) rose sharply from 4.1% in 2007/08 to 4.6% in 2008/09. This means the University is now within 0.3 percentage point of its externally set location adjusted benchmark of 4.9% for students in receipt of DSA.

Steve West, UWE Vice-Chancellor said, “I welcome the latest widening participation indicators which show that more young people and adults from under-represented backgrounds, families and communities are coming to UWE than ever before. This demonstrates that our strategy is delivering real results The University won the XCEL Widening Participation University of the Year award earlier this year and this recognition aptly reflects our commitment to welcoming everyone who has interest or ambition to join us, whatever their background.”

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