WP & Access

Our Policy Position


Access and Participation are an important part of GuildHE’s work. Not only do many of our members service the skills needs of rural and coastal regions, but our small and specialist institutions offer a unique learning environment for those who know what sort of career they want in the future. Through our Widening Participation Network, and working directly with the OfS and others, we are actively tackling societal inequalities, and finding new ways to engage those students who have not traditionally entered HE. But there are challenges, and we have been actively lobbying the OfS to change its approach to Access and Participation Plans and NCOPs to ensure that institutions with smaller infrastructures are able to contribute to both solving national problems, and work on local priorities.

GuildHE providers also tend to recruit larger proportions of students with registered disabilities. GuildHE continues to work with the DfE Disabled Students Sector Leadership Group to better coordinate practice across the sector. We have been working with members to share practice on reasonable adjustments and procurement of services through the Student Support Network.

We welcome the OfS’ commitment to including student outcome data as part of its monitoring of the success of providers Access and Participation Plans, but will continue to reiterate that using LEO data and 1 year DLHE does not provide a clear enough picture on the way in which HE can influence graduate’s lives – or in some professions which are skilled an low paid, the graduate premium is not a good measure of success. This is especially true in agriculture, the arts and those who set up their own businesses post graduation, where it takes much longer to become establised in the profession and command a high salary.

Teacher CPD programme
With the erosion of traditional art education in schools it is vital that our specialist institutions support teachers to embed creative skills in the curriculum for young people, our UKADIA network of specialist arts institutions work together each year to develop a suite of teacher CPD workshops to improve the quality of arts education in schools. These workshops play a small part in how members are engaging and supporting schools, but we hope a coordinated approach will enable us to better understand how arts education is developing, and how we can better support pupils, teachers and families in the pursuit of creative excellence.