‘Overcoming the Barriers to Working Class Students’ Participation in Higher Education’

This research was commissioned by the Sussex Learning Network in order to explore whether it would be helpful to develop more contextualised approaches to overcoming barriers to participation in higher education.   It was conducted in four schools with sixth forms  in Sussex,  selected to provide access to a diversity of locations and characterised as:  Town, Urban, Rural and Coastal. The research highlighted common concerns around the challenge of identifying young people for inclusion in widening participation  interventions  and the impact of the  increased cost of university on young people and their decision-making.   The research also drew attention to the importance of individual professional understandings and commitment within schools.  Most importantly, young people who might benefit from intervention were recognised as belonging to all four schools, suggesting the potential value of rethinking some established local and national practices.

The research was conducted by Dr Louise Gazeley,  Dr Tamsin Hinton-Smith and Dr Jacqui Shepherd of the University of Sussex. Louise would welcome any enquiries:  lhg20@sussex.ac.uk