Focal on the local

There’s something really interesting happening in the Widening Participation space.

After years of HE group-think that revolved around the idea of centralised WP initiatives, there seems to have been a noticeable loosening of the reins. The growing recognition of the importance of geography and place (evidenced by things such as the Bridge Group’s Rural and Coastal Inequality working group) has set the scene for widening participation work that places locality at the heart of its intellectual and operational workings. The initial success of the regional NCOP programme, and schemes like KCL’s ‘Parent Power’ speak to the idea that understanding and engaging with socioeconomic challenges at a local level is key in improving progression rates to HE.