Planning and strategy

Widening participation strategy

The Participation Strategy 2007-2010


Since the writing of the last Widening Participation Plan the University has moved with great speed to effectively embed the innovative delivery of progression opportunities across Kent and Medway.  Furthermore, the University’s Widening Participation strategy and ethos have been instrumental to the effective growth of the institution through successive successful bidding for, and meeting, additional student numbers (ASNs) targets thereby helping to define the fundamental shape of the University. 

The current Participation Strategy seeks to build upon this policy and delivery to ensure that the University retains and builds upon its diverse learner profile within the context of emerging agenda and changing circumstances.

As such, we will continue to work towards a demonstrable diversity of our participation profile, which in turn will act as the prime transformative agent within the University. In other words, our learners will drive the key changes within our organisation. The diversity of our student corpus, our provision, and the diversity of our learning and assessment strategies will strengthen and promote the University’s exceptional student experience. 


We will:

  • Serve participation aims through bold innovation and with tenacity.
  • Undertake partnership work with integrity and transparency.
  • Work to ensure the diversity of our student body and the diversity of engagement across the region and nationally.
  • Ensure that EU and international learning experiences are created and are accessible to all students.
  • Contribute toward societal, economic, cultural and educational sustainability via individual and collective engagement within Kent and Medway.
  • Undertake sustainable growth in student numbers, with a greater proportion of students as defined by widening participation criteria engaged in undergraduate and postgraduate programmes.
  • Offer a range of opportunities for teachers, support staff and families from our Partner Schools and Colleges.
  • Provide professional development opportunities for local workers.
  • Consider the needs of older learners.
  • Develop sustainable learning provision and progression with Partners and collaborators.


We will focus upon:

  • The development and maintenance of successful partnerships with schools, colleges, adult education and HEIs.
  • Making a significant contribution to progression curricula for Kent and Medway learners.
  • Demonstrable success in partnership-based and creative project management.
  • International links via local partnerships.
  • Student engagement and investment in the wider community.
  • Participation to support regeneration and equality of opportunity. 


The University’s priorities are:

  • Progression links with Partner Schools underpinned by diagnostic and subject based curriculum, student ambassador links and merit-based scholarships.   Programmes and outreach will be extended to include teachers, support staff and families.
  • Mutually beneficial links with Associate and Partner Colleges with a focus upon delivering effective vocational progression routes.
  • Community engagement at HE levels 0-6.

We will give additional focus to:

  • Improving progression and retention for students from Partner Schools and Colleges with vocational qualifications.
  • Involving and recognising all staff in the delivery of the participation strategy, in particular: innovative and systematic curriculum development and delivery in Partner Schools and Colleges; engaging student subject ambassadors and undertaking ‘expert witness’ work within communities.
  • Collective and individualised learning.
  • Extending the range and reach of our work-based undergraduate and postgraduate offer.
  • Extending student ambassador schemes to include paid, voluntary, and credit bearing modes with a focus upon progression to and retention within the University.
  • Cohere international, enterprise and participation strategies through targeted local partnerships with schools and colleges.

Participation baselines and targets

  • Percentage of students, as defined by widening participation criteria, who apply and accept places onto undergraduate programmes.
  • Increase the number of students engaged in flexible and part time learning.
  • Increase the percentage of students, as defined by widening participation criteria, who apply and accept postgraduate offers.
  • Increase the number of older learners engaged in programmes.

Monitoring and evaluation

  • Monitor and review annually against applications and acceptances baseline (set 2004-05) from Partner Schools.
  • Monitor the relationship between means-tested bursaries and merit-based scholarships.
  • Monitor and review targeting and engagement in Partner Schools.
  • Undertake controlled trials and work with non-participants in UoK activities in Partner Schools.
  • Evaluate Partner-cohorts post entry through linking outreach and student records.
  • Monitor and evaluate Kent funded work in relation to externally funded partnership-based participation projects.
  • Monitor resource allocation for outreach and engagement activities through the use of the Transparent Approach to Costing (TRAC).


  • We aim for a rich diversity within the student body.  Within the context of targeting widening participation students of all ages, our criteria include: students from lower social economic groups (parental occupation; EMA eligibility; free school meals – as relevant to age); first in family to attend HE; low participation neighbourhoods. 

The University also recognises the difficulties faced by the majority of students possessing vocational qualifications with regard to progression and therefore will work with partners to address these difficulties.

Corporate Communications

The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ, T: +44 1227 764000

Last Updated: 24/03/2011