Institutional Design for Widening Participation – FE News

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 Alternative Providers
A successful alternative higher educational institution reflects a design that was once thought of by a selective group of people coming together. A design is not only about the layout of the college, its classrooms, and appearances, it can also be a reflection of what your institution stands for, its learning culture, structure, visions, aims, strategic growth sets, and all the stakeholders that are impacted by the institution’s successes and failures. In an educational institution, we tend to say that our students are our main stakeholders, but do we really understand what that means? Does our institution truly reflect that in its design?
A design can be built to reflect your organizational structure and ethos. For example, if an institution says that they are a Widening Participation college, they should ask themselves if their daily activities in all departments reflect Widening Participation. This includes (but is not limited to) networks, collaborations, student support, interventions, financial aid, employer engagement, and participation throughout the different stages of the student life cycle. Are their current teaching and assessment activities supporting progression into different levels leading to completion of a degree with students progressing into a further higher learning course like a Masters or graduate employment? These are important questions that all institutional staff should reflect on.
The growth of university partnerships has led to several independent higher education institutions recruiting social mobility students, with the aim of encouraging Widening Participation through their student journey. This in itself requires institutions to reconsider the design of their institution and build strategies within the institution that encourages and reflects Widening Participation. 
When considering the design of an institution, senior management would need to collaborate and include members from all the functions and academic departments to share their views on how they can work together to encourage participation throughout the different stages of the student life cycle. These strategies are developed to build a Widening Participation design and are a true reflection of what the institution stands for and its culture.
There are things that an alternative provider can do to create and develop a true culture for Widening Participation, giving an institution its own design by: 
There are several benefits that an institution can gain by implementing a Widening Participation design, this includes (but is not limited to):
The author of this article has a deep passion for Widening Participation and has designed a CPD-accredited training course called ‘Institutional Design for Widening Participation’ to encourage participation throughout the whole student life cycle.
Our signature course ‘Institutional Design for Widening Participation’ is a one-day course (5- hours) that explores the following by using a range of reflective questions around Widening Participation that can help an institution to:
2. Identify the relationship between Widening Participation & Social Mobility.
3. Develop recruitment strategies for all government target groups.
4. Review your institutional approach to Widening Participation.
5. Set a road map to create an institutional design for Widening participation that includes all departments.
6. Measuring the success of Widening Participation by developing departmental strategies.
By Sheena Bahra QTLS, DTLLS, MA, MSc, BSc hons, Managing director, www.sbseel.co.uk
Annual statistics on young people’s participation in higher education, including their background characteristics. Documents Widening participation in higher education: 2020 https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/widening-participation-in-higher-education Details Statistics providing information…
Annual statistics on young people’s participation in higher education, including their background characteristics.Read More Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in Resources
Institution-level statistics on widening participation of underrepresented groups in higher education for the 2017 to 2018 academic year. Documents Performance indicators: widening participation – 2017…
Annual statistics on young peoples’ participation in higher education, including their social background and occupation after graduating.Read More Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in Resources
Annual statistics on young peoples’ participation in higher education, including their social background and occupation after graduating.Read More Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in Resources
Annual statistics on young people’s participation in higher education, including their background characteristics.Read More Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in Resources
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