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Widening Participation: Working with parents and communities Margaret Hart Assistant Director, Head of Widening Participation January 2009.

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Presentation on theme: "Widening Participation: Working with parents and communities Margaret Hart Assistant Director, Head of Widening Participation January 2009."— Presentation transcript:

1 Widening Participation: Working with parents and communities Margaret Hart Assistant Director, Head of Widening Participation January 2009

2 Widening Participation in The Open University Mission Open access Alignment with HE policy – focus on disadvantaged communities

3 How are we doing? Proportion of all new Open University undergraduate students that live in the 25% most deprived super output areas as defined by the Index of Multiple Deprivation of the appropriate UK country, and who have no previous HE qualification

4 The policy background HE – key focus on bridging the social class gap Young people living in the most advantaged 20 per cent of areas are five to six times likely to enter higher education than those living in the least advantaged 20 per cent of areas. (HEFCE, 2005) Research shows that participation in HE is determined very early in life, parents are the key influence in this Characteristics which are set very early in life – age, gender, family background and initial schooling – predict later lifelong learning trajectories with 90% accuracy. (HEFCE, 2006) Links between WP agenda in HE and the governments wider social exclusion agenda Parents interest in their childrens education has been shown to have four times more influence on attainment by age 16 than socio-economic background (Cabinet Office, 2009)

5 So what are we doing? Pilot activity across the UK over the last five years has been evaluated and led to an evidence base of what works This has been built into a standard operating model now due to be rolled out across the country Long term partnerships with community based organisations which have complementary objectives

6 The unique contribution of The Open University Part time offer for mature learners Distance education model Supported open learning – a blended and flexible approach to learning The Openings programme Can complement the work of other HEIs who focus on transition from school to HE Focus on parents and communities reinforces the cycle of learning

7 What makes this work? Geographical targeting based on Index of Multiple Deprivation analysis Selection of partner agencies which can reach target groups and have complementary objectives Communities of learning – face to face support at neighbourhood level, peer support Assistance with finance, child care

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